Maryland Nursing Home Neglect Laws
Cap on Damages
The state of Maryland places a limit on non-economic damages awarded in medical malpractice cases. This limit increases $15,000 every year. For 2015 the cap will be $755,000.
Statute of Limitations
Maryland’s statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits is 3 years. A lawsuit for injuries arising from services by a health care provider must be filed within the earlier of 5 years from the time the injury was committed or 3 years from the time the injury was discovered.
In Maryland, most nursing home neglect and abuse cases are taken on a contingent fee basis. A contingent fee is any fee for services provided where the fee is payable only if there is a favorable result. Maryland ethics laws require that a lawyer’s fee must be reasonable. Additionally, a contingent fee agreement must be in writing and signed by the client. It should state how the fee is to be calculated, including the percentage owed to the lawyer in the event of settlement, trial or appeal. The contingency fee agreement agreement must notify the client of expenses for which the client will be held responsible.
Legal Rights for Maryland Nursing Home Residents
Maryland nursing homes are licensed by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Facilities must comply with the rules and regulations provided in the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) for nursing homes. The state of Maryland guarantees certain rights to nursing home residents. A complete list of these rights can be found at COMAR 10.07.09.08 Resident’s Rights and Services. Some rights that nursing home residents and consumers find most important include:
- The right to receive treatment, care, and services that are in an environment that promotes maintenance or enhancement of each resident’s quality of life;
- The right a dignified existence, self-determination, and communication with and access to individuals and services inside and outside the nursing facility;
- The right to choose an attending physician;
- The right to be fully informed and participate in care and treatment, and of proposed changes in that care or treatment;
- Privacy while residing at the facility and in receiving treatment and personal care;
- The right to be free of interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal from the nursing facility when exercising the resident’s rights;
- The right to be free from physical abuse; verbal abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse and involuntary seclusion;
- The right to access the resident’s records within 24 hours, excluding weekends and holidays, upon an oral or written request;
- The right not to be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, national origin or physical or mental handicap during admission or discharge;
- The right to be free from physical and chemical restraints.
Enforcement of Laws and Safety Regulations
In Maryland, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Office of Health Care Quality investigates complaints against nursing home facilities. They can be reached at (410) 402-8108. In addition to investigating complaints the Department of Health also conducts periodic inspections of nursing home facilities. Nursing home inspection results are considered public information.
To request nursing home inspection information contact the Office of Health Care Quality at Spring Grove Hospital Center, Bland Bryant Building, 55 Wade Avenue, Catonsville, Maryland 21228 Attn: Public Information Request. Phone: (410) 402-8000. Inspection results are also available on Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare Website at: http://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/search.html.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and should not be used as legal advice. The legal statutes, laws and procedures contained in this article may not be current and may have been revised since the time of publication or contain errors. An attorney can provide legal guidance only after reviewing the details of your individual case.
Image via Flickr via Charlie Stinchcomb