The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland has ruled on a case involving the filing of a personal injury claim and a wrongful death claim that both stemmed from the same conduct. The Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, allowing them to proceed with a wrongful death claim that stemmed from the same conduct as a previous personal injury claim. Learn more about this case below.
Court Rules on Case Concerning Maryland Medical Malpractice Claims
Both claims stemmed from a birth injury which occurred on May 8, 1995. The infant was born with severe cerebral palsy. The child died on September 26, 2009, at the age of 14.
1st Action: Medical Malpractice
The parents filed suit on behalf of the child on September 5, 2001. They alleged medical malpractice and breach of informed consent.
The trial jury ruled in favor of the plaintiffs on the medical malpractice claim in April 2004, and a second trial jury ruled in favor of the plaintiffs on the breach of informed consent claim in September 2006.
The defendants filed post-trial motions that were granted by the trial court. This was appealed by the plaintiffs. The Appellate Court affirmed the decision of the trial court. The plaintiffs appealed to the Court of Appeals of Maryland, which reverse the Appellate and trial court and remanded the case.
The child died before the remanded proceedings were completed. As a result, "The child’s parents were substituted as proper party plaintiffs in the litigation." Finally, the proceedings were concluded in March 2012, with the child’s estate receiving judgment in his favor.
2nd Action: Wrongful Death
Two months later, in May 2012, the parents filed a wrongful death action against the defendants. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss. The trial court interpreted the Maryland wrongful death statute as precluding a wrongful death claim in this case, and granted the motion. The plaintiffs appealed to the Apellate Court.
According to medicalmalpracticelawyers.com: "The Appellate Court held that because the plaintiffs are suing in their own right in their Maryland wrongful death action, and for their own injuries, not on behalf of their child, as they did in his personal injury action, the judgment in favor of their child in his personal injury action against the defendants is not a defense that bars the plaintiffs' wrongful death claim."