The procedure for filing a medical malpractice suit in Maryland is governed by the Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceeding Code A § 3-2A-04.
- You must begin by filing a claim with the Director of the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (HCADRO). Their office is located at the William Donald Schaefer Tower on St. Paul Street in Baltimore. You cannot file directly with the courts. If you do, your medical malpractice claim will be dismissed.
- Your claim must be filed within 5 years of the date when the alleged medical malpractice occurred or within 3 years from the date the injury was discovered. If your claim is against a medical doctor, the Director will send a copy of your claim to the State Board of Physicians.
- The Health Care Provider will submit a response to your statement of claim.
- You and the health care provider will proceed to arbitration, but arbitration may be waived.
- When arbitration is waived, the parties will proceed directly to the suit and file a complaint in the Circuit Courts or the District Courts if the claim is less than $30,000. The suit may be filed in the Federal District Court when the claimant lives outside Maryland.
- If they remain in arbitration, the Director will create a list of arbitrators with biographical data. The parties may strike out names from the list until they narrow it down and choose an arbitration panel of three arbitrators to decide the claim. The panel members must have no personal or economic relationship with the parties or to their counsel. The parties may select an arbitration panel, but they may also agree on a single arbitrator.
- Within 90 days of filing complaint, the claimant must submit a certificate of merit and report. A certificate of merit is a statement from a qualified expert attesting to the nature of the injury sustained by the claimant, the departure from standards of care by the health care provider, and an opinion that the departure from the standards of care is the proximate cause of the alleged injury.
- Healthcare provider will also file a certificate of a qualified expert attesting to the compliance with the standard of care or that the deviation from the standard of care was not the proximate cause of the injury.
- The parties may present other evidence and the panel of three will decide the claim. Their decision may be appealed to the Court of Special Appeals.