Filing a Negligence Claim & Prosecuting an Elder Neglect Case – the Process
Filing Suit, Expert Reviews
In most states to file a lawsuit an attorney must certify that the case was reviewed by an expert who found merit in the case. This process is generally referred to as an expert certification requirement. These provisions were originally enacted to prevent frivolous lawsuits.
In Virginia, under Va. Code 8.01-20.1, a Plaintiff must have an expert certification from a qualified expert who has rendered the opinion that the healthcare provider at issue deviated from applicable standards of care and that such deviation was the proximate cause of the injuries claimed. The defense is not entitled to discover the certifying expert’s identity, but upon good cause shown the judge may require an in camera review of the expert certificates.
In Maryland a Plaintiff’s attorney is required to file an expert certification (report and certificate) within 90 days of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. See Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings, section 3-2C-02. In addition to having experience in the Defendants field or expertise, the expert must certify that he/she does not devote more than 20% of his professional activities to testimony involving malpractice or personal injury matters. In Maryland the expert certificate and report must be filed with an administrative body before one can file suit in Court.