Court Explains Requirements for Pursuing Medical Malpractice Claims Under the FTCA

Many health care facilities in and around Maryland are funded and operated by the federal government. As such, if a party wishes to pursue medical malpractice claims for harm caused by incompetent treatment in such facilities, they typically must comply with the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), and if they fail to do so, their claims may be dismissed. This was illustrated in a recent ruling in which the court dismissed a pro se plaintiff’s medical malpractice claim due to his failure to exhaust his administrative remedies. If you were injured by inadequate medical treatment, you have the right to seek damages, and it is in your best interest to confer with a Maryland medical malpractice attorney.

The Plaintiff’s Reported Harm

It is alleged that the plaintiff received treatment from the defendant, a federally certified provider, while he was incarcerated. He alleged that the defendant’s employees offered him negligent care by failing to provide him with adequate pain medication or necessary tests. As such, he filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendant. The defendant moved the case to federal court, and the United States government moved to substitute itself as the defendant and to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims.

Requirements for Pursuing Medical Malpractice Claims Under the FTCA

The court ultimately granted the defendant’s motions. With regard to the plaintiff’s claims pertaining to the administration of pain medication, the court found that he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as required by the FTCA. Specifically, he only filed one administrative tort claim, and it failed to describe the facts out of which the claim arose with sufficient specificity to allow the agency to investigate his claim. Thus, it was dismissed.

Further, the court ruled that the plaintiff’s claim that the defendant failed to provide him with adequate testing was time-barred. The court explained that under the FTCA, a tort claim against the United States must be presented in writing to the appropriate federal agency within two years of when the claim accrues, otherwise, it is barred forever.

In the subject case, the plaintiff failed to file his administrative claim within two years of when the alleged harm occurred. The plaintiff argued that the two-year limitation did not apply; instead, he urged the court to apply the three-year statute of limitations imposed by state law. The court rejected his argument, noting that the FTCA clearly governed the case. Accordingly, the court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims.

Meet with a Capable Maryland Attorney

People harmed by medical malpractice have the right to seek compensation, but if they fail to abide by the procedural requirements, they may waive their right to recover damages. If you are interested in pursuing claims against a health care provider, it is smart to meet with an attorney. The capable Maryland attorneys of Arfaa Law Group can inform you of your potential claims and help you to seek a just outcome. 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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