Court Explains Choice of Law in Medical Malpractice Cases

Generally, a party injured by incompetent medical care has the right to pursue medical malpractice claims in the jurisdiction of their choosing. They cannot, however, dictate what state’s laws apply. Instead, as demonstrated in a recent opinion, when more than one state has an interest in the resolution of the matter, the courts will conduct a choice of law analysis. If you were injured due to negligent medical treatment, it is in your best interest to speak to a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer about your potential claims.

Case Background

It is reported that the plaintiff had long-term disability benefits, which were terminated in January 2020. He appealed the decision, and a “peer review” by the defendant doctor was conducted. After submitting a rebuttal to the report by defendant doctor, the plaintiff’s appeal was denied. However, after undergoing an Independent Medical Examination, the termination of his benefits was reversed.

It is alleged that the plaintiff brought a lawsuit following the termination of his disability benefits. The complaint alleged one count of medical malpractice against the defendant doctor. The doctor subsequently filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings to dismiss the count against him. The magistrate recommended that the court grant the defendant doctor’s motion and the court adopted his recommendation. The plaintiff appealed.

Choice of Law in Medical Malpractice Cases

One of the issues raised on appeal was whether the magistrate correctly determined that New York law applied. The court ultimately adopted the magistrate’s recommendation and determined that New York law should apply.

The first objection raised by the plaintiff relates to the parties’ agreement on the choice of law. He claims that as a pro se litigant, he did not fully understand the concept of choice of law and should be given deference in raising this argument. The court found, however, that the plaintiff implicitly agreed to the application of New York law based on his opposition brief and acceptance of New York law in his response to the defendant doctor’s motion.

The second objection raised by the plaintiff concerned the magistrate’s choice-of-law analysis. He argued that the injury occurred in the jurisdiction in which the case was filed and that the defendant doctor’s conduct directly led to his injuries, suggesting that the jurisdiction’s law should apply. The court agreed with the magistrate, however, that the injury for the medical malpractice claim occurred when the defendant doctor transmitted his report to, which took place in New York.

Thus, the court affirmed the trial court’s ruling.

Speak to a Seasoned Maryland Attorney

People harmed by careless doctors have the right to pursue medical malpractice claims, but they must ensure that their claims are filed appropriately; otherwise, it may impact their ability to recover damages. If you suffered losses due to medical negligence, it is advisable to speak to an attorney. The seasoned Maryland attorneys of Arfaa Law Group are proficient at proving negligent doctors should be held accountable for the harm they cause, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact us via our online form or by calling us at (410) 889-1850 to set up a conference.

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