Court Discusses Changes in Maryland Medical Malpractice Law

Pursuant to Maryland law, a plaintiff that wishes to pursue medical malpractice claims must comply with the requirements of the Maryland Health Care Malpractice Claims Act (the Act). Among other things, Act requires plaintiffs to file a statement of a qualified expert prior to proceeding with civil claims. While the failure to do so used to be fatal to medical malpractice claims filed in federal court, an intervening change in the law dictates that courts can no longer dismiss a plaintiff’s claims due to their failure to serve an expert certificate prior to suing. The impact of the ruling was discussed by the Maryland district court in a matter in which it ultimately reinstated the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims. If you suffered harm due to the carelessness of a healthcare provider, you should meet with a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer to discuss what damages you may be owed.

Background of the Case

It is reported that the decedent filed a medical malpractice complaint against the defendants in January 2019, alleging he received inadequate treatment for various conditions when he was housed in a state facility. Following the decedent’s death, the representative of his estate was substituted as the plaintiff. In turn, she asserted that the treatment offered to the decedent fell below the standard of care. The defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims, and the court granted their motion. The plaintiff then filed a motion for reconsideration.

Maryland Medical Malpractice Claims Filed in Federal Court

Due to an intervening change in the law between the time the previous order was issued and the plaintiff’s filing of the motion for reconsideration, the court granted the motion. The court explained that it originally dismissed the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims because she failed to satisfy the requirements of the Act. Namely, she failed to file a certificate of a qualified expert that set forth how a defendant’s deviation from the accepted standard of care caused the plaintiff’s harm, and neglected to submit her claims to arbitration or properly waive arbitration.

Shortly after the court’s decision, though, the Fourth Circuit ruled that federal courts could no longer dismiss medical malpractice claims due to the fact that a plaintiff neglected to serve a certificate from an expert before filing their lawsuit. The court noted that the ruling in question cast doubt on the fate of the Act’s requirements, and several courts had already held that the failure to comply with the Act would not bar medical malpractice claims in federal court. Not wanting to break consensus, the court reversed its prior order.

Talk to a Seasoned Maryland Attorney

While parties should comply with the requirements of the Maryland Health Care Malpractice Claims Act, the failure to do so may no longer be fatal to their claims. If you were hurt by negligently rendered medical care, you may be able to recover damages via medical malpractice claims, and you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The seasoned Maryland attorneys of Arfaa Law Group can advise you of your rights and help you to pursue any compensation you might be owed. You can reach us through our online form or by calling us at (410) 889-1850 to set up a meeting.

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