Although the Maryland Health Care Malpractice Claims Act (HCA) covers most injuries arising out of medical malpractice, some injuries seemingly overlap with ordinary negligence. In a January 19, 2018 case, the Court of Appeals of Maryland examined whether claims for negligence and other related causes of action alleged a medical injury within the meaning of the HCA.
In the case, the plaintiff and her husband sued a nursing care facility for injuries the plaintiff suffered during her stay there. The plaintiff’s injuries were caused when she fell from her bed, allegedly caused by the defendant’s failure to properly secure her mattress to the bed frame. A mechanical lift was used to raise the plaintiff from the floor, but the lift released and dropped her again onto the floor instead of returning her to the bed.
The lawsuit was dismissed by the trial court for failure to file with the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolute Office (ADR Office) first. The plaintiffs appealed the decision. The basic question on appeal was whether the plaintiffs’ claims were medical injuries. If the claims alleged were found to be medical injuries within the HCA, they were required to file them in the ADR Office as a condition precedent to their court action. If not, they were free to bring their claims as a non-medical negligence case in the circuit court.