Maryland medical malpractice lawsuits have certain requirements that are not necessary for other personal injury claims. Most importantly, before filing a Maryland medical malpractice claim, a claimant must file a certificate of a qualified expert.
Under MD Cts & Jud Pro Code § 3-2A-04 (2019), a certificate of a qualified expert must be filed within 90 days from the date of the complaint, attesting to the defendant’s departure from the standard of care and that the departure is the proximate cause of the alleged injury. The certificate must be served on all other parties to the malpractice claim. The 90-day deadline may also be extended in some circumstances. The requirement to obtain a certificate of a qualified expert is meant to curb meritless medical malpractice claims. If a defendant disputes liability, the defendant is required to file a certificate of a qualified expert within 120 days from the date the claimant or plaintiff served the certificate, which must detail the defendant’s compliance with the standard of care or that the deviance from the standard of care was not the proximate cause of the alleged injury. Failing to follow the state’s requirements for medical malpractice claims can result in the dismissal of the lawsuit.
In a recent case, a defendant argued that the plaintiff failed to follow notice requirements in a medical malpractice case by failing to properly serve a defendant. In that case, an inmate at a prison was attacked by other inmates, resulting in lacerations and a fractured jaw. He was taken to a hospital and later had oral surgery done on his fractured jaw at a medical center. He later filed a medical malpractice suit against defendants, including the surgeon. Under that state’s law, before filing a medical malpractice suit, the claimant was required to notify prospective defendants of the claimant’s intent to file a medical malpractice claim. Notice also had to include a completed authorization form, if available.