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Maryland Court Says Auto Accident Settlement Bars Subsequent Medical Malpractice Claim

While people in every profession make mistakes from time to time, when a medical professional makes an error, it can cost a patient his or her life. If you have been injured or lost a loved one due to a healthcare provider’s negligence, our experienced Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys can help you figure out your next steps. At Arfaa Law Group, we understand how to navigate these complex claims.

A Maryland high court recently barred a car crash victim from pursuing a medical malpractice claim after discovering that she had been fully compensated for all of her injuries by the auto insurance company. The facts of the case are as follows. A woman sustained serious injuries in a car accident. She underwent surgery and developed a post-operative infection, which was resistant to treatment. Ultimately, a doctor treated her infection with antibiotics intravenously and ended up accidentally puncturing an artery during the procedure. As a result, the woman suffers from a condition that causes chronic pain, numbness and disability in her left arm.

In regards to the car crash, the woman sued the driver of the other car for negligence. She obtained a settlement from the negligent driver and the owner of the vehicle, as well as from her uninsured/underinsured motorist carrier.

The woman then filed a medical malpractice claim against the hospital at which her artery was wrongfully punctured. The Maryland Supreme Court denied the woman’s claim for relief explaining that since she had obtained a settlement in her prior lawsuit for the same injuries that she was now seeking compensation for, she was barred from “double dipping” by the “one satisfaction rule.” In other words, a car accident victim cannot bring a second lawsuit (i.e., a medical malpractice claim) seeking compensation for injuries that have already been compensated by the first lawsuit.

All healthcare providers have an obligation to provide competent care to each and every patient. In Maryland, medical malpractice takes place when a healthcare provider (i.e., a doctor, nurse, dentist, chiropractor, hospital worker, etc.) fails to meet the standard of care expected of those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to the patient. The standard of care refers to the level of care and caution that a reasonably prudent healthcare provider in the same specialty would have used in the same or similar situation.

Depending on the extent of the harm suffered, victims of medical malpractice can recover a variety of damages including medical expenses, pain and suffering, rehabilitation costs, lost income and more. If you have lost a loved one due to a healthcare provider’s negligence, you may be able to recover wrongful death damages as well.

If you have been injured and believe that medical malpractice is to blame, you need to reach out to a seasoned Baltimore hospital negligence attorney who can help. At Arfaa Law Group, we are committed to holding negligent medical professionals accountable for the harm that they cause. Medical malpractice cases are complex and having a lawyer with the right resources and experience can make all the difference in your case. For more information, call us at 410-889-1850 or contact us online.