Medical Malpractice Law in Maryland

The state of Maryland is one of the few states that follow the traditional common law doctrine of contributory negligence. The table below outline general guilines of medical malpractice suits in Maryland. For more specific information, please see the explanations of each element below. For information or guidance about a specific case, consult with a personal injury attorney.

Maryland Medical Malpractice at a Glance

Maryland State Tort Law
Statute of Limitations Three years from discovery of injury, or five years from act.
Damage Award Limits Limit of $650,000 for non-economic damages, increasing by $15,000 per year after 2008.
Joint Defendant Liability There is no separation of liability
Expert Witness Witness must be actively involved in practice or education. May not spend more than 20% of time as expert witness
Attorney Fees Maryland has no limits on attorneys fees

Maryland's Statutes of Limitations

In this state, malpractice actions need to be filed within five years from the injury or three years from the discovery of it, whichever is date is earlier.

The statue of limitations does not go into effect in the case of minors until the claimant has reached at least 11 years of age, and if it involves a foreign object or the reproductive system then it doesn't begin until the claiming is 16 years old. Maryland's highest court has upheld the principle that the five year part of the statute isn't measured from the date the treatment ends and doesn't violate the state's constitution.

Wrongful death actions can be initiated by the decedent's dependents. They have to be filed within 3 years of the death in question.

Contributory, Comparative Negligence in Maryland

Maryland is one of the few states that still follow the traditional common law doctrine of contributory negligence. In other words, any negligence by the claimant will bar his or her recovery entirely.

Joint Liability in the State of Maryland

Joint tortfeasors must assume and bear the responsibility for the misconduct of all. A tortfeasor who pays more than his or her pro rated share has a right of contribution against other tortfeasors whose liability was extinguished by the judgment but who have not yet paid their share. Pro rata shares are determined by dividing the judgment equally among the tortfeasors.

Maryland and Vicarious Liability

A hospital may be held responsible for the negligent acts of independently contracted physicians working there in the state of Maryland, based on the principle of apparent agency.

Expert Testimony in the State of Maryland

A claimant needs to file a certificate from a qualified expert attesting to departure from standard of care as proximate cause of the alleged injury within 90 days of filing a medical malpractice claim with the Health Claims Arbitration Office

Damage Caps

The state limits recoverable non-economic damages from actions arising on or after October 1 1994 to 500,000, increasing 15,000 every 1 October subsequent to the specified date. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, and other non-pecuniary damages but not punitive damages. The damage cap applies to each 'direct victim.'

Arbitration in the State of Maryland

Claims filed after 1 October 1995 may waive arbitration. If the arbitration panel finds the healthcare provider liable it then itemizes and apportions damages.

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