Plaintiff Brings Maryland Medical Malpractice Claim for Car Crash Injuries After Settling with Auto Insurer

When multiple parties contribute to a plaintiff’s injuries, the plaintiff may benefit from the guidance of a Maryland personal injury attorney.  In these types of cases, Maryland law allows the plaintiff to recover the amount of damages that fully compensates the plaintiff for his or her injuries, and no more.  Once that amount has been completely satisfied, the plaintiff cannot pursue compensation from other tortfeasors for the same injuries.

This issue was recently addressed in an April 29, 2019 case decided by the Court of Appeals of Maryland.  The plaintiff in the case brought a medical malpractice action against the hospital that treated her for injuries she suffered in car accident.  After undergoing surgery for injuries caused by the accident, the plaintiff developed an infection.  The antibiotics were given through a Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (“PICC line”), which was inserted into her left arm.  During the insertion, however, the PICC line punctured the plaintiff’s brachial artery.  As a result, the plaintiff underwent vascular surgery to repair her brachial artery.

The medical malpractice suit was filed after the plaintiff had settled a prior action against her insurance company and the negligent driver that caused the accident.  As a result of the settlements, the plaintiff received compensation for the injuries she suffered in the accident.  The question for the court was whether the plaintiff was therefore barred by the one satisfaction rule from recovering compensation from the hospital on her medical malpractice claim.

In Maryland, a plaintiff is entitled to one compensation for his or her loss.  Satisfaction thereof prevents the possibility of double recovery by barring the plaintiff from suing another person for the same damages.  This rule applies even when the paying party had no connection with the tort at all, such as an insurance company.  In order to decide whether a claim is barred by the one satisfaction rule, the court compares the injuries of the initial action with the injuries for which the plaintiff seeks recovery in the subsequent action.

The appeals court reviewed the records of the plaintiff’s initial case against her insurance company and concluded that the settlement covered all of the injuries she claimed in her medical malpractice action.  Specifically, the settlement also included compensation for the plaintiff’s injuries resulting from the PICC line procedure, the same injuries for which she sought to recover in her medical malpractice suit against the hospital.  The court ultimately ruled that the plaintiff was fully compensated for the injuries caused by the PICC line procedure, and as such, her medical malpractice claim was barred by the one satisfaction rule.

If you are seeking trustworthy legal advice after an accident or injury, the Maryland personal injury attorneys at Foran & Foran, P.A. may be able to assist you.  We represent victims of negligence and their family members in lawsuits and claims against those responsible for their loss.  Our hardworking lawyers can handle medical malpractice actions, car accident injury cases, premises liability suits, and may other types of personal injury claims.  Schedule a free consultation to discuss your case by calling Foran & Foran, P.A. at (301) 441-2022 or contacting us online.