When Does Maryland Require Qualified Expert Certificates for Medical Malpractice Claims?
Under Maryland law, medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional deviates from usually accepted standards of care and injures a patient. This type of malpractice claim is only applicable if the medical professional’s actions were the proximate cause of the patient’s injury. Otherwise, the injured patient is unlikely to recover compensation in a medical malpractice claim.
In order to demonstrate whether or not the medical professional should be liable, Maryland law requires qualified experts to review the case and certify their professional opinion. By filing an official certificate, a qualified expert either supports the injured patient’s claim or defends the medical professional’s actions.
Requirements for Qualified Experts & Medical Malpractice
In order to serve as a qualified expert in a Maryland medical malpractice claim, a person must have a certain level of medical and professional experience. Stated otherwise, the qualified expert must have the necessary knowledge and experience to analyze the harm or injury in question. Furthermore, Maryland law prohibits qualified experts from devoting more than 20 percent of their professional activities to testifying in personal injury claims.
On a related note, Maryland Code of Courts and Judicial Proceedings Section 3-2A-04 outlines several other requirements for qualified experts. Specifically:
- An injured patient cannot serve as a qualified expert for their own case; and
- A medical professional cannot serve as a qualified expert in their own case.
Qualified Expert Certificates for Injured Patients
Within 90 days of initiating a medical malpractice claim, the injured patient must file a qualified expert certificate. In this certificate, the qualified expert provides a detailed statement explaining how:
- The medical professional departed from the usual standard of care; and
- This departure from usual standards caused the patient’s injury.
There is an exception to these rules. If the only claim in a medical malpractice case is a lack of informed consent, then the injured patient is not required to file a qualified expert certificate.
Qualified Expert Certificates for Medical Professionals
Within 120 days of receiving notice of a medical practice claim against them, the medical professional in question must also provide a qualified expert certificate. This certificate must explain how either:
- The medical professional adhered to the usual standard of care; or
- Any departure from the usual standards was not the cause of the injury in question.
Extensions for Filing a Qualified Expert Certificate
In certain cases, it is possible to obtain an extension for filing a qualified expert certificate in an ongoing medical malpractice claim. If the injured patient or medical professional can show good cause, the director or state courts may grant an extension. Though if there is evidence of negligence or other wrongful behavior, it is unlikely to obtain an extension for filing a required certificate from a qualified expert.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you have legal questions about qualified experts or medical malpractice in Maryland, it can be decidedly helpful to reach out to a trusted personal injury attorney. The Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys at Iamele & Iamele, LLP in Baltimore, Maryland, understand how to mount a successful medical malpractice case, not to mention other aspects of personal injury. If you need legal help, contact us today for a free initial consultation.