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Certificate of a Qualified Expert

Medical Malpractice Lawyers for Injured Victims in Baltimore

Medical malpractice can have devastating effects on a victim and his or her whole family. If you or a loved one have been injured by a medical professional’s mistake or misconduct, you can potentially seek compensation for your harm. Filing a medical malpractice case is a complicated endeavor in most states, and Maryland is no exception. Our knowledgeable Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys are well-versed in the laws that apply to cases of this nature, including the procedural requirements that are essential to every malpractice claim. We know that dealing with a medical malpractice case can be stressful, but we will do everything in our power to help you resolve it efficiently.

Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Maryland

Medical malpractice takes place when a healthcare provider, such as a doctor or a nurse, violates the standard of care in his or her profession, thereby injuring or killing a patient. The standard of care is the skill an ordinary, prudent medical professional would have utilized under the same or similar conditions. To succeed in a medical malpractice lawsuit in Maryland, the plaintiff must establish the following factors:

  • The medical professional owed the patient a duty to abide by the standard of care;
  • The medical professional’s conduct departed from that standard of care;
  • The medical professional’s departure was a direct cause of the patient’s injury; and
  • The malpractice resulted in quantifiable injuries (i.e., medical expenses, lost income, etc.).

If each of the elements listed above are not shown, the plaintiff cannot recover any damages.

The Certificate of a Qualified Expert Requirement in Medical Malpractice Cases

One of the mandatory steps, also known as a pre-suit requirement, for filing a medical malpractice claim in Maryland is that a certificate of a qualified expert must be filed with the Maryland Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office. This is an administrative agency that promotes the arbitration of medical claims. In other words, every victim who wants to sue for medical malpractice must first file a claim with a certificate of a qualified expert which shows that a doctor has reviewed the circumstances of the case and “certifies” that the plaintiff’s healthcare provider departed from the standard of care, and that this departure was the direct cause of the plaintiff’s injury. The certificate must be filed within 90 days of filing of the malpractice complaint. If the certificate is not filed on time, the case will be dismissed unless an extension has been granted. Once is this step is completed, the matter can proceed in civil court like all other civil cases. The purpose of the certificate of a qualified expert is to prevent frivolous medical malpractice claims from going forward. An experienced medical negligence lawyer can help you meet this pre-suit requirement in your case.

Who is a “Qualified Expert” in a Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

In Maryland, a qualified expert is typically a medical professional who is board-certified in the area of medicine that is relevant to the case. Specifically, under Maryland Courts & Judicial Proceedings Code section 3-2C-01, a "qualified expert" refers to a medical professional who is "knowledgeable in the accepted standard of care in the same discipline as the licensed professional against whom a claim is filed." For example, if the defendant is a neurosurgeon, then the qualified expert would typically be a surgeon in the same field.

It is important to note that a qualified expert who completes the certificate or testifies as an expert in medical malpractice cases may not devote in excess of 20 percent of his or her professional activities towards doing so. In fact, a court will reject the certificate if the expert dedicates more than 20 percent of his or her professional activities to testifying in personal injury claims.

Contact a Skilled Medical Malpractice Attorney in Baltimore

Sadly, medical malpractice is far too common in Maryland and across the country. If you have been injured because of a medical professional’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. At Arfaa Law Group, our highly skilled Baltimore lawyers understand how to advocate for patient rights. With years of experience in Maryland medical malpractice law, you can rest assured that we will fight for the compensation you and your family may be owed. To learn more, please feel free to call us at 410-889-1850 or contact us online.