Court Discusses Expert Requirements in Maryland Medical Malpractice Cases

Pursuant to Maryland law, parties that wish to pursue medical malpractice claims must submit a certificate of qualified expert in conjunction with their complaint. If they fail to meet this requirement, their complaint will most likely be dismissed. While the expert providing the certificate must meet certain requirements, they do not have to practice in the precise specialty as the defendant, as discussed in a recent Maryland case. If you were harmed by a careless physician, it is important to understand what evidence you must offer to recover damages, and you should speak to a Maryland medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.

Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant surgically removed the plaintiff’s dental implants and installed replacements. The procedure required the defendant to create bone grafts and place the implants. The procedure ultimately failed, causing the plaintiff extreme pain. The plaintiff developed an infection and had to undergo additional surgery to remediate the issues caused by the initial procedure.

Reportedly, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant. In conjunction with his complaint, he submitted a certificate of qualified expert, as required under Maryland law. The defendant moved to strike the certificate and dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint on the grounds that the expert was not qualified. The court granted the defendant’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Expert Requirements in Maryland Medical Malpractice Cases

On appeal, the court overturned the trial court ruling. In doing so, it explained that Maryland law sets forth the requirements for expert medical malpractice cases. Specifically, the law provides that a person will qualify as an expert if they have clinical experience or taught in the defendant’s specialty or a related field within five years of the date of the alleged harm and they are board certified in the same specialty as the defendant or a related field.

There is an exception, though, for cases in which the defendant provided care that is not related to the area in which they are board certified or if the proposed expert taught medicine in the defendant’s specialty or a related field of health care. In the subject case, the parties disagreed as to whether the language of the statute was ambiguous and as to whether it required the expert to have taught medicine in the defendant’s field within the last five years.

The court ultimately determined that the law in question was not vague and clearly did not impose a time constraint on when a person needed to teach medicine to qualify as an expert. Thus, it reversed the trial court ruling.

Talk to a Dedicated Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney

Establishing liability for medical malpractice typically requires expert testimony, but doctors do not have to have the same clinical background as defendants to qualify as experts. If you sustained harm due to the carelessness of a physician, you might be owed compensation, and it is in your best interest to speak to a lawyer. The dedicated Maryland attorneys of Arfaa Law Group can advise you of your rights and aid you in pursuing the maximum damages recoverable under the law. You can reach us through our online form or by calling us at (410) 889-1850 to set up a conference.

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