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The medical malpractice landscape in Maryland is evolving. Under discussion is House Bill 684, which proposes the implementation of the Daubert Standard when evaluating the testimonies of expert witnesses. The bill seeks to increase judicial correctness in medical malpractice cases, in line with national and state standards. 

Maryland placed 25th in the state medical board rankings for serious disciplinary actions per 1,000 physicians from 2019 to 2021. Meanwhile, the state’s hospital malpractice costs have reached twice the national figure over the years. A notable incident was made prominent by a $34 million award for brain damage incurred by a newborn at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center. The case figures serve as reminders for health professionals to uphold the highest standards of care, as well as for patients to fight for their rights in case they become victims of medical malpractice.

The following article discusses how the Old Line State handles medical malpractice cases. It addresses the specifics of medical malpractice laws in Maryland and helps victims find ways to cope with the aftermath of malpractice incidents.

What Qualifies as Medical Malpractice in Maryland?

Medical malpractice pertains to the failure of a healthcare practitioner to carry out or properly execute their professional duties, leading to the patient’s injury. Such actions include misdiagnosis, wrong medication prescription, and carelessness during the conduct of major operations. Maryland medical malpractice laws adhere to the traditional “strict locality” rule, wherein a plaintiff must demonstrate that a doctor’s conduct fell short of what is expected from healthcare providers within their community. 

Medical malpractice and medical negligence are two different legal concepts that are frequently used synonymously. For medical malpractice to occur, there must be a direct connection between the breach and the injury. Medical negligence, on the other hand, also involves substandard medical care resulting in injury, where the two factors (breach and injury) have no direct causal relationship. In short, all medical malpractice is negligence, but not all medical negligence is malpractice.

Who Can You Sue for Medical Malpractice in Maryland?

In Maryland, victims of medical malpractice can file a lawsuit against different healthcare providers. These include hospitals, hospice care and assisted living facilities, medical daycares, and freestanding ambulatory care centers. They can also claim against various medical professionals, such as doctors, nurses, dentists, optometrists, osteopaths, psychologists, chiropractors, or licensed clinical social workers. 

Entities solely providing healthcare services through prayer and other spiritual means according to certain religious beliefs do not fall under Maryland’s definition of a “healthcare provider.”


A healthcare professional treating a minor without the capacity to consent is not liable for civil damages or subject to criminal or disciplinary sanctions. This exemption applies to doctors, psychologists, or anyone working under their supervision.

In line with legal protections during urgent scenarios, the Good Samaritan Law in Maryland provides healthcare workers with immunity from criminal prosecution. Specifically, this law states that if a medical professional acts in good faith during an emergency, such as a drug overdose or similar situations, neither they nor the patient is subject to prosecution for certain drug-related offenses. However, it is crucial to note that the Good Samaritan Law does not absolve healthcare providers of malpractice lawsuits, as it has no bearing on the civil liability of professional obligations.

Medical Malpractice Liability Insurance Requirements

In Maryland, healthcare professionals are not required to carry medical malpractice liability insurance by licensing laws. Nonetheless, those interested in acquiring coverage can contact the Maryland Insurance Administration. This independent state agency provides a list of insurers and their contact information on its website. It also evaluates and approves insurance rates, policy forms, and rating rules.

When seeking medical malpractice liability insurance, healthcare professionals should note that they may be subject to specific underwriting rules, and insurers may reject certain applications.

What Is the Statute of Limitations in Maryland for Medical Malpractice Cases?

If you have been harmed by a healthcare provider’s mistake in Maryland, you must file a claim five years from the event or three years from when the injury was or should have been discovered — whichever comes first. 

Special rules apply to children and specific medical issues. Children have until they are 11 to start the claims process. For cases involving the reproductive system or a foreign object left inside the body, the time to file a claim begins at age 16. Also, bringing the matter to the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office, or HCADRO, is already considered starting a claim.

The “discovery rule” is critical in Maryland medical malpractice lawsuits. Under this rule, the three-year deadline starts when the injury is or should have been noticed. Take the Linton v. Evans case as an example. When the plaintiff was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2007, the court determined that she had actual or implied knowledge of the alleged malpractice. However, she filed a lawsuit three years later, when her condition was already in an advanced stage. This medical malpractice claim was unsuccessful because it was filed outside the three-year time limit, further underscoring the necessity of prompt legal action

What Do You Need to Prove in a Maryland Medical Malpractice Case?

In cases of medical malpractice in Maryland, the burden lies on the plaintiff to demonstrate the following:

  • The generally accepted medical practices and expertise level of healthcare professionals in the area;

  • The defendant’s violation of these standards;

  • A direct link between the breach and the plaintiff’s injury.

A plaintiff’s legal journey starts with arbitration at HCADRO. This process is an essential prerequisite before a claim can proceed to trial. To transition from arbitration to litigation, the claimant must submit a Certificate of Merit and Report from a qualified medical professional. This affidavit must clearly state how the defendant deviated from standard medical practices and how their actions directly caused the patient’s injury. 

The state of Maryland enacted the Apology Law, which addresses its legal defenses in medical malpractice claims. This legislation allows healthcare professionals to express their regret over the negative outcome of their actions without worrying about their statements being interpreted as an admission of guilt. An explicit admission of misconduct automatically voids this protection.

Meanwhile, the principle of "res ipsa loquitur" applies to certain scenarios. This doctrine, derived from the Latin phrase "the thing speaks for itself," is used in situations when the healthcare provider has control over the circumstances leading to the injury and the victim has not contributed to the incident in any way. This approach proves beneficial in cases where an avoidable injury is apparent but there is no clear evidence of a healthcare provider’s misconduct.

Furthermore, Maryland law stipulates that a medical practitioner treating a minor cannot be held liable or be subjected to criminal charges if the child lacks the capacity to provide consent. Additionally, if there is a disagreement over healthcare decisions for a patient unable to make an informed decision, the treating doctor must escalate the matter to the institution’s patient care advisory committee. Adhering to the committee’s recommendations protects healthcare providers from liability claims arising from consent-related disputes.

In summary, establishing medical malpractice in Maryland is a complex process involving strict legal requirements and procedures.

How Much Can You Sue for Medical Malpractice in Maryland?

If you are a victim of medical malpractice in Maryland, navigating the legal process to seek justice can be overwhelming. This is where hiring an attorney well-versed in medical malpractice law comes into play. They can gather evidence to support your claim and negotiate with insurers to secure the maximum compensation you are entitled to.

Various factors influence the amount of recoverable damages in a Maryland medical malpractice case. These include the severity of the injury, medical costs incurred, lost wages, and emotional suffering and distress. The state’s contributory negligence laws also shape the amount of settlement awarded. Additionally, caps on non-economic damages are considered when calculating the final compensation amount. 

Types of Damages in Maryland Medical Malpractice Cases

A person harmed by medical malpractice in Maryland can seek two primary damages: economic and non-economic. Economic damages pay for actual expenses like medical bills and replacements for lost earnings. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, compensate the plaintiff for subjective, non-quantifiable losses. These include payments for pain and emotional distress, subject to a limit of $500,000. 

For severe cases of negligence, the courts may award punitive damages, which serve as an offender’s punishment and discourage similar future misconduct. Punitive awards have no caps and may exceed economic and non-economic damages.

Negligence System in Maryland

Maryland’s negligence system operates on the “contributory negligence” principle. This doctrine implies that if a person is partially to blame for their injury, they may be denied compensation. Even a plaintiff’s minor fault in the incident can significantly impact their ability to recover damages. In addition, victims may be barred from claiming damages if the defendant can demonstrate that they were aware of the risk but chose to proceed anyway.

The “last clear chance” doctrine, however, allows an exception. It gives victims the chance to receive compensation if they can prove that the defendant had the final opportunity to prevent the injury but did not do so.

Methods of Obtaining Compensation in Maryland

In Maryland, individuals seeking compensation for medical malpractice can opt for arbitration through HCADRO. A panel of three arbitrators, comprising a lawyer, a medical professional, and a layperson, evaluates the case and decides on liability and damages. 

Parties may also forego arbitration and head directly to the Circuit Court. To proceed with a trial, they must submit a Certificate of Merit and Report confirming the standard of care violation. If both parties agree, the court may refer the case back to HCADRO. This process allows for an unbiased case evaluation while retaining jurisdiction.

How Much Does It Cost to Pursue a Medical Malpractice Case in Maryland?

Pursuing a medical malpractice case in Maryland can be expensive. If you engage an attorney on a contingency fee basis, you must pay them a percentage of your settlement or award — usually one-third. For instance, if you are granted $100,000, you will receive either $46,667 or $53,334, depending on whether the fee is deducted before or after expenses. Attorneys may also require a flat fee for less complex cases. 

Others charge on an hourly basis, which could be around $100 per hour. Keep in mind that attorney fees can vary based on your location in Maryland. What is considered a “fair” fee will depend on your circumstances and your case’s specifics.

The cost of pursuing a medical malpractice case can extend beyond lawyer fees. If you need an expert witness, you may have to pay them $200 to $400 per hour. There’s a $165 initial filing charge for docketing a civil action, and a $15 fee applies if you opt to dismiss the case.

Legal Resources for Medical Malpractice Victims in  Maryland

If you or your loved one is harmed due to a healthcare professional’s wrongdoing, dealing with the aftermath can be stressful and overwhelming. Having the proper guidance and support is crucial during this difficult time. Maryland has established various initiatives to help those injured or killed due to medical malpractice. Depending on their needs, victims and their families can find help from several available resources, from specialized centers dedicated to patient safety to organizations providing legal advice free of charge. 

Take a look at these resources below and find out how they can assist victims of medical malpractice in Maryland.

Maryland Patient Safety Center

The Maryland Patient Safety Center is acknowledged as a pioneer institution for patient safety nationwide. It brings together patients, healthcare providers, and families to eliminate all preventable medical injuries and promote equitable healthcare. Established by the state legislature in 2003, MPSC was appointed by the Maryland Healthcare Commission as the state’s official patient safety center in the following year. One of its initiatives, the Patient and Family Council for Quality and Safety Program, helps organizations enhance their patient and family engagement efforts by cultivating transparency, improving results, and lowering expenses. The center is located at 6820 Deerpath Road, Elkridge, Maryland. For inquiries, its contact number is 410-540-9210.

Maryland Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office

The Maryland HCADRO requires an arbitration process for medical malpractice claims outside the District Court’s civil case jurisdiction. It assembles a panel of three arbitrators to hear each medical malpractice case. It also provides public and medical facilities information regarding medical malpractice complaints against physicians and other healthcare professionals. Individuals can dial 410-767-8200 or its toll-free number, 1-800-492-1951, for inquiries. For those who want to discuss their concerns in person, the office can be found at 6 St. Paul St., Suite 1501, Baltimore, MD.

Maryland Attorney General’s Office

The Attorney General of Maryland acts as the state’s chief legal advisor. The Attorney General’s Office oversees the legal operations of state agencies, officials, commissions, boards, and institutions. One of its specialty divisions, the Health Decisions Policy unit, is responsible for creating helpful resources to educate people and medical professionals about Maryland’s Health Care Decisions Act and governing laws. In addition, this authoritative body upholds consumer protection, securities, and antitrust laws. Concerned parties can visit the Attorney General’s Office at 200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD. For questions or inquiries, Marylanders can call 410-576-6300 or use the toll-free number 1-888-743-0023.

Maryland Legal Aid

Maryland Legal Aid is the state’s third-largest law firm and a leading provider of free legal services. This private, nonprofit law firm seeks to deliver high-quality legal counsel to low-income individuals at no cost. Its services include essential legal advice, federal and state trial and appellate court representation, and legal aid referrals. MLA receives donations from various foundations, law firms, private contributors, the United Way, and local, state, and federal governmental bodies to support its operations. Medical malpractice victims can learn more about Maryland Legal Aid by calling its local phone number, 410-951-7777, or its toll-free number, 800-999-8904. For face-to-face assistance, they can visit the firm at 500 E. Lexington Street, Baltimore, MD.

Maryland Department of Health

The vision of the Maryland Department of Health is for every Marylander to live a life of wellness and good health. Its main objective as a public health department is to ensure everyone can access quality medical care. MDH serves as the regulating body for healthcare providers, organizations, and facilities. It also oversees direct patient services should the need arise. Through illness prevention, community engagement, healthcare access facilitation, and quality management, the department aims to improve the health and safety of all residents. The office of the Department of Health is at 201 W. Preston Street, Baltimore, MD. For any concerns, the department can be reached at 877-463-3464 or 410-767-6500.

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