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.
What Are the Requirements of a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Maryland?
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 medical 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.
The surgeon argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed because he had not been adequately served with the required pre-suit notice. The plaintiff argued that he had properly served the surgeon because he served the pre-suit notice to the medical center. The plaintiff provided certified mail receipts, which seemed to show that two pre-suit notices were sent to the medical center and that one was directed towards the surgeon. The trial court dismissed the case. Yet, the appeals court held that the trial court was wrong in dismissing the complaint. The appeals court explained that all the allegations in a complaint must be taken as true in considering a motion to dismiss. In this case, the court considered additional evidence, which should only be considered at trial or on a summary judgment motion, later on in the case. Thus, the appeals court reversed the decision, allowing the case to move forward.
Contact the Baltimore, Maryland Accident Attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a medical error, car crash, or another type of accident, you should speak to an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The Maryland medical malpractice attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have over two decades of combined experience representing personal injury victims in Baltimore and across the Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. region. We are prepared to vigorously assert your rights and to help you seek the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, call our toll-free number at 1-800-654-1949 or contact us through our online form.