Maryland Court Dismisses Medical Malpractice Claim Due to Insufficient Expert Certificates

People harmed by negligent medical care have the right to seek compensation from the providers that caused their harm. There are certain requirements a person must comply with prior to pursuing medical malpractice claims, though, and the failure to do so can result in the waiver of the right to recover damages. The conditions precedent to pursuing a claim against a health care practitioner were the topic of a recent opinion issued by a Maryland court in a case in which the plaintiff alleged harm due to the defendant provider’s failure to provide the necessary care. If you were hurt by negligent care, it is prudent to meet with a dedicated Maryland medical malpractice attorney to determine what evidence you need to prove liability.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is alleged that the plaintiff fractured his finger while playing basketball. A plate was surgically installed in his finger. It was then recommended that he undergo physical therapy and subsequent surgery, but both were delayed several times by the defendants, who were two different health care providers. He never received the follow-up surgery or physical therapy and currently suffers from chronic pain, numbness, and limited range of motion.

Reportedly, the plaintiff filed a claim with the Maryland Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (HCADRO) against the defendant and filed certificates of qualified experts. He then filed a medical malpractice case against the defendants, arguing their negligent care caused his harm. The second defendant filed a motion to dismiss, which the court granted.

Conditions Precedent to Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim

Under Maryland law, there are conditions precedent to filing medical malpractice claims in court. Specifically, a plaintiff must first file a claim with the director of the HCADRO and then file a certificate of a qualified expert, unless the only issue is lack of informed consent. The certificate must identify a deviation from the standard of care and must state that the deviation proximately caused the plaintiff’s harm.

In other words, the certificate has to attest that the defendant’s conduct demonstrated a breach of the standard of care and that the breach caused the plaintiff to suffer losses. If a plaintiff fails to file a certificate, his or her claim must be dismissed without prejudice. In the subject case, the plaintiff filed the certificates of two experts. The court found both of them to be inadequate, however.

The first certificate failed to identify any treatment by the second defendant or reference any care it provided or withheld. The second certificate discussed both defendants but did not identify how the second defendant departed from the standard of care, or how any such departure caused the plaintiff’s harm. Thus, the court granted the motion to dismiss.

Meet with an Experienced Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney

People harmed by incompetent medical care may be owed damages, but they typically must meet certain requirements prior to pursuing claims against the practitioners that caused their injuries. If you suffered damages due to a doctor’s failure to provide you with necessary treatment, you should meet with a lawyer to assess your rights. The experienced Maryland medical malpractice attorneys of Arfaa Law Group are adept at helping people recover damages for negligent care, and we can help you to pursue the best outcome available under the facts of your case. You can reach us via our online form or at (410) 889-1850 to schedule a meeting.

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