Most medical malpractice claims involve one plaintiff (the injured party) and one (or sometimes several more) defendants. Those defendants could include the doctor who made an error, the hospital where the physician worked, an attending nurse, or other healthcare professionals who contributed to the patient’s harm.
There is another type of civil litigation, known as class action, that deals with claims on a much larger scale.
More about Class Action
When a large group of people have suffered a similar harm caused by one party, it may give rise to a class action lawsuit. In a class action suit, one person, the “named plaintiff”, files a claim on behalf of a much larger group, known as the “class.”
There are typically two factors in class action litigation:
- The issues in dispute are common to members of the class
- There are so many people affected, bringing individual lawsuits before the courts is impractical or even impossible
Class action litigation often means the consolidation of not only the plaintiffs, but also the attorneys.
Schochor, Federico and Staton, P.A. has led major medical malpractice-related class action litigation. We won $190 million on behalf of the plaintiffs in the case against Dr. Nikita Levy and $123 million on behalf of victims in a claim against Dr. Earl Bradley. Both of these cases involved instances of horrific sexual misconduct by formerly trusted physicians.
Medical Malpractice vs. Product Liability
The difference between product liability and medical malpractice-related class action lawsuits can be a bit confusing. While malpractice deals with the negligent actions of healthcare providers, product liability handles the negligent actions of manufacturers and distributors of harmful products.
You may have heard of class action product liability lawsuits that are medically related. These usually involve dangerous drugs or defective medical devices. By example, a class action suit could be a large group of people who were harmed by a dangerous prescription drug that caused strokes in patients or a medical device which was defectively designed and, as a result, injured patients who used it.
Medical malpractice lawsuits, however, involve poor medical care. Typically, one event, or a series of missteps, lead to one specific harm for the plaintiff. For instance, a doctor made an error during surgery that led to injury or death of the patient.
Product liability and medical malpractice claims are governed by different statutes and case law precedents. Product liability claims may be based on legal theories of negligence, strict liability, and breach of warranty.
Medical malpractice claims are a bit different, and require the plaintiff to prove these elements: there must be a duty owed to a patient, that duty must be breached, and some injury to the patient must result from that breach of duty.
Filing a medical malpractice-related class action claim with the help of a Maryland or Washington D.C. attorney
When the malpractice attorneys at Schochor, Federico and Staton, P.A. learn that the disturbing actions of a physician, hospital, or manufacturer have harmed many people, we work diligently to obtain justice for each and every one of them. To learn more about class action litigation, or if you have other medical malpractice-related questions, contact us today at 410-234-1000. You can visit our firm in either our Baltimore or Washington D.C. office.