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I’ve Been Sued for Malpractice – Is My License at Risk?

| March 25, 2022

Doctors, lawyers, chiropractors, and other licensed professionals provide services that require a great deal of trust from their clients and patients. As a result, there is the constant risk of malpractice claims some of which may be valid while others are without merit. Facing a malpractice claim can be a harrowing experience and distract you from your practice. 

Unfortunately, many professionals fail to consider whether the claim will have any ramifications for their license. Your malpractice insurance carrier or your lawyer may not be able to provide much guidance, either. If you are facing a malpractice claim, you should consider consulting with a Maryland employment attorney who specializes in professional license defense to discuss whether the claim could affect your license.

Malpractice Claims Are Separate from the Disciplinary Process 

First, it’s important to understand that the process by which the malpractice claim is handled will not address any concerns regarding your license. In other words, the potential outcome you face in the malpractice claim will focus solely on whether or not you committed malpractice and therefore should pay monetary damages to the plaintiff. The outcome will involve any determination as to whether or not your license should be suspended or revoked or whether you should be reprimanded or otherwise disciplined. 

As a result, the question of whether or not you will face disciplinary action is independent of the outcome of the malpractice claim. This means that you could face disciplinary proceedings even if the malpractice case is decided in your favor. On the other hand, your license may be safe even if it is decided that you committed malpractice. The relationship between professional misconduct and malpractice is complex and often unclear. As a result, you should consult with a Maryland employment attorney to discuss whether your license is at stake if you have been sued for malpractice. 

When Can a Malpractice Claim Lead to Disciplinary Action?

Whether or not you face disciplinary action will depend on the nature of the malpractice claim you are facing. For example, a doctor who made an incorrect diagnosis may be found liable for malpractice but not face disciplinary action. A surgeon who injured a patient because they were operating while under the influence would most likely face both a malpractice lawsuit and the potential loss of their medical license. 

Malpractice claims that involve the following allegations could lead to disciplinary proceedings: 

  • You acted with gross negligence
  • Your conduct was in obvious violation of professional standards
  • You engaged in criminal conduct
  • The alleged behavior involved fraudulent or negligent record-keeping

This is not an exhaustive list and disciplinary action by your licensing board can often come as a surprise. It’s also important to note that there is no rule against “double jeopardy” when it comes to malpractice and the loss of your license. As a result, protect your license by discussing your case with a Maryland employment attorney. 

How a Maryland Employment Attorney Can Help You Protect Your License

Licensing boards will sometimes “wait and see” how the malpractice claim plays out before deciding whether or not they should take action. As with many other potential legal claims, the more time you have to prepare your defense the better, even if the threat of disciplinary action never comes to fruition. 

If you have been sued for malpractice, you will most likely be assigned an attorney by your malpractice insurance carrier. These lawyers often do an excellent job of defending their clients against malpractice claims, but they often do not have the knowledge or experience to identify potential licensing issues. A Maryland employment attorney can sensitize the to these issues so that they can shape their defense strategy accordingly. 

They can also work with defense counsel to limit the disclosure of any sensitive documents or information that could lead to disciplinary action. Lastly, they can begin gathering evidence and preparing your defense should your board decide to begin disciplinary proceedings.

If you have already received notice that your board intends to begin disciplinary proceedings, you need to contact a Maryland employment attorney as soon as possible. The early stages, especially the investigation, are critical to your case. 

Contact Maryland Employment Attorney J.W. Stafford if Your License is at Risk

Your license is too valuable to leave at risk. If you are facing a malpractice claim and are worried about the impact on your license, we can help you get ahead of the disciplinary process. To schedule a consultation to discuss whether your license is at risk, contact us today by calling 410-514-6099.