Federal Court in Maryland Discusses Requirements for Filing Medical Malpractice Claims

When a doctor improperly performs a dental procedure, it can lead to decay, tooth loss, and lasting pain. Thus, a person harmed by a negligent dentist may be able to recover damages via a malpractice lawsuit. As with malpractice claims against doctors, though, people seeking compensation for harm caused by careless dentists must comply with jurisdictional and procedural rules; otherwise, their claims may be denied. This was demonstrated in a recent opinion in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims because of his failure to abide by the conditions precedent under Maryland law. If you were harmed by a careless dentist, it is smart to speak to a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer to determine whether you may be owed compensation.

The Plaintiff’s Injuries

It is reported that the defendant performed oral surgery on the plaintiff, which involved exposing the bone under his bottom gum, grinding it down, and closing the gum with sutures. After the surgery, the plaintiff’s lower dentures no longer fit properly. He was then advised that the surgery should not have been performed and that he would need dental implants. As such, he filed a lawsuit against the defendant in federal court, arguing he committed malpractice by performing the surgery.  The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction over the claims. The court ultimately granted the motion.

Pursuing Malpractice Claims in Maryland Federal Courts

Federal courts have limited jurisdiction. Thus, they must assume that a matter lies outside of their jurisdiction unless proven otherwise. The party asserting that jurisdiction is proper bears the burden of establishing subject matter jurisdiction. Typically, federal courts can only hear claims arising out of federal questions or where there is a diversity of citizenship, which requires the parties to be residents of different states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. In the subject case, the court noted that the plaintiff had not alleged diversity jurisdiction or that the parties were citizens of different states. As such, the court found that diversity jurisdiction had not been established.

Further, the court noted that even if it could properly exercise jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s malpractice claims, the plaintiff failed to state a claim for which relief could be granted. Specifically, he failed to comply with conditions precedent under Maryland law, in that he did not file a Certificate of Qualified Expert and a Statement of Claim in the Health Claims Alternative Dispute Resolution Office of Maryland, as required to proceed with his claims before the court. He also was required to exhaust a state arbitration remedy prior to filing the lawsuit. The court found that there was no evidence that he complied with any of these conditions. Thus, it dismissed his claims.

Speak to an Experienced Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney  

Incompetent dental care often constitutes medical negligence, and people harmed by careless dentists have the right to pursue compensation. If you sustained injuries because of a dental procedure, it is advisable to speak to an attorney regarding your potential claims. The experienced Maryland medical malpractice attorneys of Arfaa Law Group have the skills and resources needed to help you seek a favorable result, and if you hire us, we will work diligently on your behalf. You can contact us through our online form or at (410) 889-1850 to set up a meeting.

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