A bill filed in the Maryland Senate during the 2015 Session (the Maryland Legislature is currently in session) would require, if passed and signed into law, that Maryland medical malpractice victims provide a written notice to the allegedly negligent health care provider(s) of their intention to file a Maryland medical malpractice claim at least 180 days before they could file their claim with the Maryland Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (“HCADRO”). The Director of HCADRO may waive the notice requirement “upon motion and for good cause shown,” whatever that means.
Maryland Senate Bill 143, which would be effective on October 1, 2015 if passed and signed into law, would add to the Annotated Code of Maryland, Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article, Section 3–2A–03B, and would require that the notice include the time, place, and cause of the injury, and that the notice be sent by first-class, certified mail with a return receipt requested. Source
The stated purpose of the “pre-suit notification” period is to promote settlement among the parties that would avoid litigation, thereby reducing the costs of medical malpractice litigation while still allowing claimants to receive appropriate relief. Other U.S. states have imposed, or attempted to impose, similar pre-suit notification requirements, of varying lengths of time (Michigan and Massachusetts require a claimant to provide 182 days advance notice to a health care provider before filing a claim; California, Utah, Florida, and the District of Columbia require 90-days notice; Tennessee, Texas, and Mississippi require 60-days notice; and, West Virginia requires 30-days notice), some of which have been challenged on constitutional grounds: the pre-suit notification provisions in Michigan, Mississippi, and Florida have survived court challenges but the pre-suit notification statute in Washington State, that required 90-days notice, was ruled unconstitutional in 2010 as a violation of separation of powers (the Washington Supreme Court held that the statutory notice requirement conflicted with a court procedural rule, thereby conflicting with the power of the judiciary to establish court procedures; and, since the statute and the court rule could not be harmonized, the judiciary’s procedural rule prevailed). The Washington Legislature repealed the pre-suit notice requirement in 2013.
Critics of pre-suit notification requirements in medical malpractice cases argue that the 180-days delay in being able to file a medical malpractice claim in Maryland would be an unnecessary impediment that harms medical malpractice claimants and is a further hurdle that must be overcome by innocent victims of medical malpractice that needlessly affects their right and ability to timely obtain justice and receive compensation for their injuries, inasmuch as very few medical malpractice claims are settled pre-suit; therefore, the pre-suit notice requirement is unnecessary and serves no useful purpose.
If you or a loved one were injured in Maryland due to medical negligence, you should promptly find a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer who can answer your Maryland medical malpractice questions, investigate your Maryland medical malpractice claim, and represent you in a Maryland medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.