Maryland Court Discusses the Procedure for Pursuing Medical Malpractice Claims

People harmed by negligent medical care will often seek damages from the parties responsible for their losses via medical malpractice claims. Under Maryland law, however, before filing a complaint, a plaintiff must file a claim with the Health Care Malpractice Claims office, and if they fail to do so, they may be precluded from proceeding with their lawsuit, as demonstrated in a recent Maryland case. If you were injured by an incompetent doctor, you might be able to recover damages, and you should speak with a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff suffered harm during a stay at the defendant’s facility. Specifically, she was injured in two accidents; in the first, she fell from the bed due to the facility’s alleged failure to secure the mattress properly, and in the second, she fell again while being lifted to the bed. She then filed a lawsuit against the defendant three days before the statute of limitations expired.

Allegedly, the defendant moved to dismiss the case, arguing that the plaintiff did not file her claims in the Health Care Malpractice Claims office (HCMCO), as required by Maryland’s Health Care Malpractice Claims Act (the Act). The trial court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss, and the plaintiff appealed.

Pursuing Medical Malpractice Claims Under Maryland Law

On appeal, the plaintiff argued that her complaint did not set forth accusations of medical negligence, and therefore, the trial court erred in dismissing her case due to her failure to file in the HCMCO. The court explained that in order for the Act to apply, the plaintiff must claim a breach of professional duty during medical care. The context of the plaintiff’s claim is considered when assessing whether the Act applies.

In the subject case, the plaintiff averred that she was negligently injured twice due to the defendant’s negligence – once when she fell from her bed and the other when she was dropped while staff tried to return her to the bed. The defendant argued that both incidents were caused by a breach of a professional duty of care.

The court disagreed with the defendant as to the first injury, noting that the plaintiff did not claim that her fall from the bed was caused by medical care and that no medical professional was present during the incident. Therefore, her claim fell beyond the scope of the Act because it only involved ordinary negligence. As to the second claim, however, the court found that it required an in-depth evaluation of medical procedures. As such, the Act applied, and the trial court rightfully ruled it was precluded due to the plaintiff’s failure to file a claim with the HCMCO.

Consult a Trusted Maryland Attorney

People who suffer harm due to medical malpractice are entitled to pursue compensation for their losses. If they do not comply with Maryland’s procedural rules, though, their case may be dismissed regardless of its merit. If you suffered harm due to inadequate medical treatment, it is recommended to consult a lawyer to explore what claims you may be able to pursue. The trusted Maryland attorneys of Arfaa Law Group can inform you of your options and aid you in pursuing a favorable outcome. You can reach us via our online form or by calling us at (410) 889-1850 to set up a meeting.

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