In Maryland, a plaintiff who is injured by a negligent doctor has the right to pursue damages via a medical malpractice lawsuit. Prior to pursuing such claims, though, plaintiffs must meet certain requirements imposed by the Maryland Health Care Malpractice Claims Act (HCMCA), and if they do not, they may waive the right to recover damages. The implications of failing to comply with the HCMCA was the topic of a recent Maryland opinion issued in a case in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims as to one of the defendants. If you sustained damages due to a negligent care provider, it is advisable to speak to a trusted Maryland medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible to determine your rights.
Factual and Procedural History of the Case
Allegedly, the plaintiff’s decedent treated with the defendant neurologists, twelve in total, who failed to diagnose a brain abscess that ultimately cost the decedent her life. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants, arguing they were liable for the decedent’s death. One defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims against her on the grounds that the plaintiff never filed a claim against her in Health Claims Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (HCADRO) as demanded by the HCMCA. The court found in favor of the defendant and dismissed the plaintiff’s claims.
Penalties for Failing to Comply with the HCMCA
The Maryland courts have repeatedly ruled that the requirements imposed by the HCMCA are conditions that must be fulfilled prior to filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Specifically, a plaintiff must file a statement of claim and certificate of qualified expert against a health care provider in the HCADRO before pursuing civil claims. Additionally, a plaintiff has to exhaust state arbitration remedies as a condition to filing a civil lawsuit in federal or state court. If a plaintiff files a medical malpractice action without fulfilling these requirements, it must be dismissed.
In the subject case, the court found that the undisputed facts necessitated the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims against the moving defendant. While the plaintiff filed a timely statement of claim in HCADRO, it did not name the defendant. A year later, she filed a motion to amend the statement to include the defendant, but never actually filed the amended statement. The court declined to adopt the plaintiff’s reasoning that the unsigned draft of the amended filing that was attached to the motion to amend was adequate to meet the requirements of the HCMCA, finding that her reasoning defied the statutory interpretation. Thus, her claims were dismissed.
Speak with a Capable Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney
There are strict requirements people pursuing medical malpractice claims must comply with, and if they do not, it can detrimentally impact their rights. If you suffered harm due to medical incompetence, you should promptly speak to a lawyer. The capable Maryland medical malpractice attorneys of Arfaa Law Group can take the measures necessary to provide you with a strong chance of a favorable result. You can reach us via our online form or at (410) 889-1850 to schedule a conference.