Doctors are morally and legally obligated to adhere to the accepted standard of care when treating patients. When a doctor breaches the duty of care owed to a patient and as a result, causes them harm, the doctor may be liable for medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice claim requirements
If you are planning to sue the doctor who treated you for damages, you will need to follow all state regulations. Each state has its own medical malpractice requirements, but here are some of the most common ones.
Statute of limitations
Each state has its own statute of limitations which basically limits how long you have to file your medical malpractice claim. For example, under Maryland medical malpractice law, to make a medical malpractice claim you must file within three years from the date you discovered or reasonably could have discovered your injury, or five years from the date the injury occurred, whichever comes first.
There are also certain procedural requirements you must follow before filing your claim. In Maryland, if your claim involves more than $30,000 in damages, you must first your claim with the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (HCADRO). Your claim will then go to arbitration unless the process is waived.
Certificate of merit
Many states also require you take additional steps before you go forward with your suit. For instance, many states require you to file a certificate of merit to essentially prove that your claim is legitimate. In Maryland, this certificate is called a Certificate of Qualified Expert (CQE), a statement sworn to and signed by a medical expert who has reviewed your case. The statement essentially states that the doctor failed to follow the proper standard of care and that their failure caused you harm. You will have 90 days from filing your medical malpractice claim to file a CQE.
There are many things involved with filing a medical malpractice claim. An attorney specializing in this area of law can help determine if you have a valid claim and help make sure you do not overlook any state requirements.