In Maryland, a plaintiff who is injured by a negligent doctor has the right to pursue damages via a medical malpractice lawsuit. Prior to pursuing such claims, though, plaintiffs must meet certain requirements imposed by the Maryland Health Care Malpractice Claims Act (HCMCA), and if they do not, they may waive the right to recover damages. The implications of failing to comply with the HCMCA was the topic of a recent Maryland opinion issued in a case in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims as to one of the defendants. If you sustained damages due to a negligent care provider, it is advisable to speak to a trusted Maryland medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible to determine your rights.
Factual and Procedural History of the Case
Allegedly, the plaintiff’s decedent treated with the defendant neurologists, twelve in total, who failed to diagnose a brain abscess that ultimately cost the decedent her life. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants, arguing they were liable for the decedent’s death. One defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims against her on the grounds that the plaintiff never filed a claim against her in Health Claims Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (HCADRO) as demanded by the HCMCA. The court found in favor of the defendant and dismissed the plaintiff’s claims.
Penalties for Failing to Comply with the HCMCA
The Maryland courts have repeatedly ruled that the requirements imposed by the HCMCA are conditions that must be fulfilled prior to filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Specifically, a plaintiff must file a statement of claim and certificate of qualified expert against a health care provider in the HCADRO before pursuing civil claims. Additionally, a plaintiff has to exhaust state arbitration remedies as a condition to filing a civil lawsuit in federal or state court. If a plaintiff files a medical malpractice action without fulfilling these requirements, it must be dismissed. Continue Reading