Maryland Rules for Qualified Experts in Medical Malpractice Cases
Maryland imposes a number of specific requirements for medical malpractice cases that deviate from the standard processes for other personal injury claims. One of those requirements involves the use of qualified experts.
In most medical malpractice cases, a qualified expert is a doctor who reviews the treatment of the victim. The qualified expert testifies in court as to their medical opinion of the situation, generally arguing for the plaintiff or the defendant. Then the judge or jury decides which qualified expert is more credible and renders a corresponding decision.
Code of Maryland 3–2A–04(b) underlines the importance of qualified experts in medical malpractice cases. In order to file a claim for medical malpractice, the victim must file a certificate from a qualified expert the Director of the Maryland Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office.
In that certificate, the qualified expert must describe the appropriate standard(s) of care for the medical malpractice claim in question. Then the qualified expert must explain how treatment departed from established standards of care. Finally, the qualified expert must illuminate how the departure from established standards of care was the proximate cause of the victim’s injury.
There is an important exception. This requirement does not apply to medical malpractice cases where the only claim is a lack of informed consent.
20 Percent Rule
Code of Maryland 3–2A–04(b)(4) creates a restraint on qualified experts in the medical field. This provision is commonly referred to as the 20 percent rule. Essentially, Maryland doctors are only allowed to serve as qualified experts for 20 percent of their annual professional time. If a Maryland doctor devotes more than 20 percent of their time to testimony in medical malpractice cases, then they are not allowed to serve as a qualified expert.
As with the standard of care, there is an important exception. The 20 percent rule does not apply to medical malpractice cases where the only claim is a lack of informed consent.
Filing a Claim
Code of Maryland 3–2A–04(a)(1) establishes the procedure for filing a medical malpractice claim against a healthcare provider. The victim of medical malpractice must file their claim with the Director of the Maryland Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office. Then the Director will engage a local sheriff to serve the healthcare provider with the medical malpractice claim.
If the victim is pursuing a claim against an individual doctor, then the Director will forward a copy of the claim to the Maryland Board of Physicians.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you suffered an injury from medical malpractice in Maryland, it can be highly useful to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. The attorneys at Iamele & Iamele, LLP in Baltimore, Maryland, have years of experience handling a variety of personal injury claims, including medical malpractice case. If you need legal help, contact us immediately for a free initial consultation.