Malpractice Claim Against Nurses Dismissed for Failure to Provide Individual Notice of Claim to Each Defendant

Legal claims against a Maryland nursing home generally fall into three categories: abuse, neglect, or medical malpractice. Medical malpractice claims arise in the nursing home setting when healthcare professionals in nursing homes provide medical care for the residents. In these cases, plaintiffs have to make sure to comply with the additional requirements for medical malpractice claims.

In a recent case against a nursing home, a resident’s daughter brought a negligence claim against the nursing home and several nurses after the resident fell and died as a result of her injuries. Shortly after the resident’s death, the daughter’s lawyer mailed the nursing home a letter stating that the nursing home and “its employees” were negligent and that their negligence caused the resident’s death. The plaintiff later filed a lawsuit against the nursing home and against several nurses at the nursing home. The nurses filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the daughter did not comply with the state’s pre-suit requirements.

The issue before that state’s supreme court was whether the letter sent to the nursing home was sufficient pre-suit notice to the nurses named in the lawsuit. Under that state’s laws, a plaintiff must provide at least sixty days’ notice to the defendant before bringing a claim, notifying the defendant of the legal basis of the claim, the type of damages being sought, and the nature of the injuries suffered.

The court held that because the plaintiff sued the nursing home as well as several nurses in their individual capacity, each party constituted a separate defendant, and each required their own pre-suit notice. The court explained that the statute requires exact compliance and that the plaintiff failed to strictly comply with the law. Therefore, the court dismissed the claim against the nurses.

Medical Malpractice Requirements in Maryland

In Maryland, medical malpractice claims are governed by the Health Care Malpractice Claims Act. Medical malpractice claims have special requirements. Under the Act, a plaintiff must file a certificate from a qualified expert attesting to the health care provider’s negligent conduct within 90 days of the date of the medical malpractice complaint. The certificate must be served on all parties to the claim. The reason for requiring the certificate is to dismiss frivolous lawsuits by requiring an expert’s opinion. If a plaintiff is not able to file the certificate within 90 days, the plaintiff may obtain an extension with the court’s approval. A defendant, in turn, must submit a document from a qualified expert attesting to the healthcare provider’s compliance with the standard of care, or to the lack of causation of the alleged injury within 120 days of the service of the plaintiff’s certificate.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

If you believed a loved one has been abused or neglected at the hands of a nursing home, other residents are likely in danger as well. Do not waste any time before contacting an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney who can advise you on how to proceed. The Maryland nursing home attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC can assist you by skillfully handling a claim against those responsible for your loved one’s poor treatment and care. Call Lebowitz & Mzhen personal injury lawyers for a free consultation at 1-800-654-1949 or contact us through our website today.

More Blog Posts:

According to New Study Inadequate Staffing Levels Plague Nursing Homes in Maryland and Nationwide, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published September 28, 2018.

Medical Malpractice Claims in Maryland Nursing Homes, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published October 5, 2018.

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