The Certificate of Merit Statute in MarylandJune 5, 2012
In an attempt to weed out frivolous professional malpractice claims, many states have adopted statutes requiring plaintiffs to meet certain threshold requirements before proceeding with a medical malpractice lawsuit. In Maryland, malpractice victims must file a claim with the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (HCADRO) prior to going to court.
In support of this claim, malpractice victims must also file a statement of qualified expert in which a physician in the relevant area of practice attests that the victim’s injury was the result of a physician acting outside the acceptable norms of professional conduct, and that this deviation was the proximate cause of the injury. Only an eminently qualified medical professional can sign off on a statement of qualified expert. Doctors who devote more than 20 percent of their practices to serving as experts in personal injury actions are precluded from signing off on malpractice claims.
Even at this early stage of the case, having reliable medical testimony is critical. Medical malpractice cases depend heavily on the testimony that qualified medical experts provide. It is up to the plaintiff and his or her Maryland malpractice attorney to prove by a preponderance of evidence that the defendant medical professional acted outside the acceptable and reasonable bounds of the profession.
Medical malpractice cases are distinct from other types of personal injury claims. They require an attorney with experience, knowledge of medical practices and procedures, and established relationships within the medical profession. Medical malpractice attorneys must be able to meaningfully evaluate the credentials and opinions of potential medical witnesses in order to give their injured clients the best chance at recovering compensation. If you have a malpractice claim, contact a medical malpractice attorney in Maryland at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A. immediately for experienced legal advice.