Filing in HCADRO

After we have hired experts, then the next step in the litigation process is to file your Maryland medical malpractice case. Maryland differs from many states because it requires the claim to be filed first in an administrative agency known as the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (HCADRO).

Picture of judge's gavel and medical malpractice file. Filing in HCADRO a medical malpractice case
Filing in HCADRO

Filing in HCADRO: Three Requirements

Lawyers must first file all claims against health care providers for medical injury for damages over the District Court limit in HCADRO. CJP 3-2A-02(a). Specifically, there are three components of this requirement.

Health Care Provider

Firstly, the claim filed in HCADRO must be against a “health care provider.” CJP 3-2A-01(f)(1) defines “health care provider” as “a hospital, a related institution as defined in § 19-301 of the Health – General Article, a medical day care center, a hospice care program, an assisted living program, a freestanding ambulatory care facility as defined in § 19-3B-01 of the Health – General Article, a physician, an osteopath, an optometrist, a chiropractor, a registered or licensed practical nurse, a dentist, a podiatrist, a psychologist, a licensed certified social worker-clinical, and a physical therapist, licensed or authorized to provide one or more health care services in Maryland.” The definition of ‘health care provider” is certainly comprehensive.

Medical Injury

Secondly, the claim must be for a “medical injury.” Id. at (g). “Medical injury” is an “injury arising or resulting from the rendering or failure to render health care.” This definition raises the question of what is health care.

The Maryland courts look to whether the conduct occurred in the setting of rendering health care but was completely lacking in medical validity. For a discussion of Maryland cases on what constitutes a “medical injury,” read the Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawyer Blog post on Waugh v. Dimensions.

Over District Court Limit

Thirdly, the amount sought must exceed the jurisdiction limit of the District Court of Maryland, which is $30,000. CJP 4-401(a). Of these three requirements, “medical injury” is the one that lawyers dispute most. Even so, in nearly all of our medical malpractice cases, it is clear that we must file them in HCADRO.

Documents Filed in HCADRO

The statement of claim sets forth the allegations of medical malpractice. The statute requires that we cannot state the specific amount of damages we are seeking in this document or the complaint we file in the circuit court. Instead, we state that the amount exceeds the jurisdictional limit. CJP 3-2A-02(b). There is a filing fee of $40. CJP 3-2A-03A(b)(1)

We also must file in HCADRO a certificate of qualified expert and report. Details concerning this certificate and report are on the Expert Requirements page. The statute allows the lawyer to file the CQE up to 90 days after filing the claim. CJP 3-2A-04(b)(1). The lawyer can request an extension of up to 90 days if the statute of limitations has already run and the failure to file the CQE was not willful or the result of gross negligence. Id. at (b)(1)(ii). Then HCADRO shall grant an extension for good cause shown. Id. at (b)(5).

The penalty for failing to file a CQE is dismissal without prejudice. Id. at (b)(1)(i). The plaintiff can again file in HCADRO before the later of 1) the limitations period or 2) 120 days. Id. at (b)(4)(iv). The plaintiff can then refile one time. Id. at (b)(4)(v).

If the defense contests liability (and they will), then they must file a CQE within 120 days of receiving the plaintiff’s CQE. Id. at (b)(2). A party cannot sign the CQE, nor can an employee or partner of a party, or an employee or stockholder of any professional corporation of which the party is a stockholder. Id. at (b)(7).

For a further discussion on the CQE requirements, review this Blog post.

Also, review the Additional Resources for your Maryland medical malpractice case.

Next Step After Filing in HCADRO

We take your claim and transfer it to court.

Attorney Mark Kopec is available for your free consultation. Accordingly, to speak directly with him, contact us at 800-604-0704. He is a top-rated Maryland medical malpractice lawyer. The Kopec Law firm is The 100% medical malpractice law firm in Maryland.

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