Arbitration of Medical Malpractice in Maryland
Medical malpractice occurs when a health care provider, such as a doctor or physician, injures a patient. If the health care provider deviated from the normally accepted standards of care within the medical community, then the injured patient may be able to recover damages.
Under Maryland law, there is an arbitration process in place for medical malpractice claims. Instead of forcing the injured patient to go through the lengthy process of a trial, a streamlined arbitration process helps resolve the claim quickly and efficiently.
Initiating a Claim
Under Maryland Code of Courts and Judicial Proceedings Section 3-2A-04, there is a specific process in place for all medical malpractice claims, suits, and actions. The early stages of a medical malpractice case generally play out as follows:
- The injured patient files a claim with the Director of the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office;
- The Director forwards a copy of the claim to the State Board of Physicians, if necessary;
- The Director serves the health care provider with a copy of the complaint in accordance with the Maryland rules;
- The health care provider files a response with the Director within the timelines established by the Maryland rules; and
- The injured patient files a qualified expert certificate, unless the sole legal issue is lack of informed consent.
Selection of Arbitrators
Within 20 days after filing of the response or qualified expert certificate, the Director must deliver a randomized list of arbitrators to each party. This list includes a biographical statement and professional qualifications for each potential arbitrator. If possible or necessary, the Director will include arbitrators with a particular speciality or knowledge base.
Upon receipt of the list, the injured patient and health care provider can object to or strike arbitrators. Then the Director compares each party’s list and selects the mutually agreeable arbitrators to hear the claim as a panel. Though it is possible for the parties to designate a single arbitrator to hear the claim in lieu of a panel.
Determination & Award
Under Maryland Code of Courts and Judicial Proceedings Section 3-2A-04, the issue of liability is the central determination before an arbitration panel. Stated otherwise, the arbitration panel must determine whether the health care provider is liable for the patient’s injuries.
If the panel determines that the health care provider is liable, then the panel must evaluate an appropriate sum for an award of damages. Specifically, the panel must itemize any damages assessed for medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, and lost wages. In a separate category, the panel also itemizes any damages for future costs, expenses, and losses.
Section 3-2A-04 requires the arbitration panel to deliver its award within 10 days after their hearing concludes. From the time the health care provider is served with the medical malpractice claim, the arbitration panel’s award should arrive within 12 months.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you need legal help with a medical malpractice claim in Maryland, it can be thoroughly constructive to speak with a trusted personal injury attorney. The attorneys at Iamele & Iamele, LLP in Baltimore, Maryland, feature recognized aptitudes in the arena of personal injury law, including claims of medical malpractice. If you need legal help, contact us today for a free initial consultation.