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Medical Malpractice Cases in Maryland: What You Must Do Before Filing Suit

In Maryland, to bring a medical malpractice complaint against a doctor, you must obtain a certificate of merit by a medical doctor that the negligent doctor breached the standard of care and caused injury to the injured plaintiff. The necessary qualifications of the medical doctor depend on the subject matter of the particular claim.

maryland certificate of merit

Certificate of Merit Hurdle in Maryland

Maryland Law

Under Maryland law, the preliminary requirement for medical doctor who executes a certificate of merit is that: 1) they have clinical experience, 2) provided consultation relating to clinical practice, 3) taught medicine in the defendant’s specialty or a related field of health care or in the field of health care in which the defendant provided care or treatment to the plaintiff, within 5 years of the date of the alleged act or omission giving rise to the cause of action. With limited exceptions, the doctor must also be board-certified in the relevant area of medicine.

The certificate of merit in Maryland medical malpractice cases must contain three elements:

1. Where the doctor is licensed to practice;
2. An opinion within reasonable degree of medical probability that the treating doctor departed from the applicable standard of care in treating the plaintiff and that there was damage from the breach of the appropriate standard of care;
3. That the doctor does not devote annually more than twenty percent (20%) of his professional activities to activities that directly involve testimony in personal injury claims.

The purpose of this requirement from the Maryland legislature is to prevent frivolous medical claims from being filed. Other states have similar rules as Maryland’s  requirements and I believe these rules have largely been effective in keeping out medical mistake claims without merit. Recent studies and a new book agree with the premise that medical malpractice lawyers in Maryland have known for a long time: over time, it is economically impossible for attorneys to bring frivolous  malpractice cases.

Are All Claims Against Healthcare Providers Subject to this Requirement?

There are a lot of find lines between what is and what is not a medical malpractice claim.  The focus is generally on the  legal theory upon which the claim is based.   Is a slip and fall a malpractice claim?  Probably not.  But if it at all a close call, you have to err on the side of treating it is a malpractice claim or you could get your case dismissed altogether.

 

If you live in the Baltimore Washington area and believe you have been a victim of a doctor’s mistake in Maryland, click here and our lawyers will be happy to discuss your case with you over the phone (800-553-8082), in person, or by free Internet consultation.

More Maryland Malpractice Resources

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  • audrey j neal

    IS A CERTIFICATE OF MERIT A STANDARDIZED FORM? IS IT AN ORIGINAL DOUCMENT CREATED BY THE PROFESSIONAL WITH THEIR OWN LETTERHEAD TITLED ‘COM’. IF SAID PROFESSIONAL ALREADY CREATED A DOCUMENT AS AN OBJECTIVE OBSERVER SPECIFICALLY OUTLINING THAT MED MAL/PRA HAS OCCURED DOES A NEW ONE NEED TO BE SUBMITTED TITLED ‘COM’, OR CAN THE EVALUATIVE DOCUMENT BE USED AS A ‘COM’. SEARCHED THE NET FOR OVER 4 HOURS FOR LEGAL INFO AND I KEEP ENDING UP RIGHT BACK HERE FOR CLEAR CONCISE ANSWERS,THANKS SURF YOU AGAIN SOON. AJ

  • Ron Miller

    AJ, I’m just seeing this now, six years later. I don’t know how I missed it!

    It is hard to give advice on this in a vacuum. I can talk about Maryland in which case it is legal document that the doctor helps put together. It is not a letter on the doctor’s letterhead.