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Sometimes Winning the Case is Just the First Step

Popular movies and television shows involving lawyers and lawsuits sometimes create misperceptions about how the justice system actually works. For one thing, while courtroom drama makes the most riveting entertainment, in reality the vast majority of cases end with amicable agreements between the parties involved. Actual trials are certainly more an exception than a rule.

In addition, fictional portrayals often present the image of a check being cut for the plaintiff in a case as soon as the verdict is handed down. The reality, however, is sometimes much more muddled. That is because there is often intense disagreement regarding various parties who may be involved, individual doctors, hospitals, speciality clinics, and multiple insurance companies. Sometimes the fighting after liability is handed down is far more contentious than the original trial itself. This is one of many reasons why it is important to have a medical malpractice attorney who is experienced in these cases and familiar with all of the ancillary issues that may come up and delay payment of damages.

Recent Maryland Med Mal Case

Some of these issues were involved in a recent Maryland case on which a Court of Appeals ruled. The full case opinion can be found here.

The legal matter, Mercy Medical Center v. Julian, involved a family who filed a Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit alleging that negligence led to the death of their loved one at a medical facility. Various defendants were named in the suit, including a medical center and several individual doctors. Considering the mix of different individuals and entities involved in modern medical care, lawsuits stemming from negligence frequently include different parties named as defendants.

In this case, before a trial was needed, the family reached a settlement with the medical center in question. As part of the settlement the medical center did not explicitly admit guilt but agreed to provide certain damages to the family. Per this agreement the family’s legal claim against the medical center was dismissed and a “release” was provided.

This did not end the matter, however. That is because there was no settlement with the other defendants. Eventually, those cases proceeded to trial. After hearing all of the evidence, the jury reached a verdict in favor of the family and against the defendant-doctors.

After the unfavorable verdict the defendants who were found liable by the jury filed a separate legal action to force the medical center (which had been released by the family per the settlement) to pay “contribution” to the defendants who owed damages. Ultimately, for a variety of reasons, the appellate court determined that the defendants were able to seek contribution, even though the medical center had reached a settlement and had a “release” from the family.

Maryland Med Mal Lawyers

The point from this somewhat convoluted case is that medical malpractice cases can be very complex – even after a verdict is reached. If you are in Maryland, DC, or surrounding communities, the experienced medical malpractice lawyers at our firm are here to help work through the details in even the most complex of cases to ensure you receive fair redress following medical errors.