You may not realize it, but when you filled out intake forms at a hospital or a doctor’s office, you may have signed a form agreeing to arbitrate a medical malpractice claim instead of taking the case to a jury trial. Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution designed to avoid the courtroom. Your claim will be heard in front of a panel of arbitrators, who will decide the outcome of the claim.
Arbitration may or may not be the best way to resolve your medical malpractice claim. Your attorney can give you specific advice about your specific case.
Arbitration in Maryland Medical Malpractice Cases
Pre-suit arbitration used to be mandatory in Maryland for medical malpractice claims. If both parties agreed to waive the mandate, arbitration could be bypassed under the old law. Now, only one party needs to waive arbitration. If one side does not want to arbitrate, the case can go directly to court. Waivers must be filed no later than 60 days after the two parties submit their Certificates of Merit.
If both parties agree to arbitration, a panel of three arbitrators will consider evidence from both sides and determine whether the medical professional has any liability. The process is much like a regular courtroom session: attorneys present evidence and witnesses will testify. The procedural rules are a bit looser than a jury trial however and, unlike mediation, it is an adversarial process.
The arbitrator’s decision is presumed correct and binding. However, any party dissatisfied with the outcome is free to appeal, which will result in a new trial at the circuit court level.
Arbitration in Washington D.C. Malpractice Claims
There is no mandatory arbitration requirement for District of Columbia medical malpractice claims. You will, however, be required to bring your case through mediation during litigation. Either you’ll use a court appointed mediator or hire your own. The goal is to resolve conflicts through compromise so as to avoid the costs of a trial and the uncertainty of a verdict. If the case is not resolved through mediation, it will continue to a jury trial unless a settlement is reached outside of court.
A Washington D.C. or Maryland Lawyer can answer all your Medical Malpractice Questions
Filing a medical malpractice claim against a negligent healthcare provider is not easy. You need skilled, experienced attorneys on your side. The law firm of Schochor, Federico and Staton, P.A. has been fighting on behalf of injured patients since 1984—you can trust our knowledge and expertise to give you the answers you need. To arrange a no-obligation consultation, contact us online or call 410-234-1000. We have offices in Baltimore and Washington D.C.