Court Discusses Expert Testimony in Maryland Medical Malpractice Cases

While there are exceptions, expert testimony is generally needed to establish the standard of care and causation in Maryland medical malpractice cases. Thus, if a plaintiff pursuing medical malpractice claims fails to offer the opinion of an expert, their claim may be dismissed, as shown in a recent opinion issued in a Maryland medical malpractice matter. If you were hurt by negligent medical care, you have the right to pursue damages, and it is smart to talk to a Maryland medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.

The Plaintiff’s Claims

It is asserted that the plaintiff treated with numerous health care providers when he was confined to a state facility for chronic pain that he suffered following a car accident. He asserts that he suffered permanent injuries due to delays and inadequate care. As such, he filed a lawsuit against the defendants, the providers who treated him during his confinement, asserting medical malpractice and other claims. Prior to trial, the defendants moved for summary judgment on the grounds that the plaintiff failed to submit the opinion of a qualified expert in support of his claims.

The Use of Expert Testimony in Maryland Medical Malpractice Matters

The court granted the motion and dismissed the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims. The court explained that expert testimony plays a key role in medical malpractice cases. Specifically, the prevailing belief is that in cases involving the negligence of a professional, expert testimony is usually needed to establish the standard of care, a breach of the standard, and causation.

In other words, experts are typically needed to explain professional standards of care as such standards command specialized knowledge within the professional’s practice area that is beyond the understanding of the typical layperson. Further, the Maryland courts have routinely held that expert testimony is needed to prove negligence and causation. As such, if a plaintiff does not present an expert when one is required, the trial court could rule that there is not adequate evidence to submit to a jury.

Expert testimony is not needed, however, when the purported negligence is so clear that the judge or jury could easily see that the defendant’s actions constitute a violation of the applicable standard of care. In other words, if the jury can use its common experience or knowledge to recognize that the defendant breached a duty owed to the plaintiff, expert testimony is not needed to establish the exact standard of care imposed on the defendant.  In the subject case, the court ultimately found that expert testimony was needed. Thus, it granted the defendant’s motion.

Talk to a Seasoned Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney

People have the right to expect that their doctors will offer them competent care, but if physicians fail to uphold their duties, they may be liable for medical malpractice.  If you were injured by the negligence of a health care provider, you should talk to an attorney about your possible claims. The seasoned Maryland attorneys of Arfaa Law Group are well-versed in what it takes to prove reckless physicians should be held accountable for the harm they cause. You can reach us via our online form or by calling us at (410) 889-1850 to set up a conference.

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