It has been reported that three of Maryland’s largest health care systems routinely attempt to refer victims of medical malpractice that occurred in their hospitals to local medical malpractice lawyers who are on lists of Maryland medical malpractice lawyers that the health care systems maintain. One of the three has been making referrals since 2005 to 25 Maryland medical malpractice lawyers on its list. Another does not maintain a formal list but does occasionally contact Maryland medical malpractice lawyers to agree to “assist” medical malpractice victims in negotiating settlements of medical malpractice claims made against it.
The referrals typically occur after the medical malpractice victims have been discussing with the hospital’s risk management team what occurred to cause their injuries and losses, and the hospital is attempting to finish resolving the victims’ medical malpractice claims. The health care industry likes this method of resolving claims because it may help reduce their expenses associated with resolving medical malpractice claims. In theory, the medical malpractice victims may also benefit from an earlier resolution of their medical malpractice claims, at possibly less expense to them.
Our concern is the obvious conflict of interest when the party that is ultimately responsible for payment of medical malpractice claims made against its employees is guiding and maneuvering the medical malpractice victims in the selection of a Maryland medical malpractice attorney to represent the victims’ interests. This suggestive (and not-so-subtle) settlement negotiation strategy by the hospital’s risk management team that is highly trained and experienced in reducing the hospital’s exposure to all types of claims, including medical malpractice claims, may result in medical malpractice victims receiving less compensation for their injuries than they would otherwise have received if they had retained a medical malpractice lawyer who does not have a relationship with the hospital (Maryland medical malpractice lawyers on the approved list of referrals maintained by the hospitals may unconsciously (or consciously) represent the medical malpractice victims differently because the lawyers want to remain on the approved list of attorney referrals for future referrals from the hospitals).
We are not alleging that any medical malpractice lawyer on any hospital list of approved medical malpractice lawyers has or will do something wrong in their representation of medical malpractice victims, but we are concerned that a serious conflict of interest may arise in such representation that will result in further harm to medical malpractice victims.
If you have been injured as a result of medical malpractice in Maryland or in another state in the U.S., you should promptly consult with a local medical malpractice attorney who may be able to investigate your possible medical malpractice claim for you and file a medical malpractice case on your behalf, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may be able to assist you with your medical malpractice claim. You may also reach us toll free at 800-295-3959.
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