If you want to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you have to file an affidavit with it as required by most states. The affidavit must be a sworn statement that an attorney or an expert medical witness confirms that the defendant did violate the threshold and committed medical malpractice.
Affidavit of Merit Overview
The affidavit of merit in a medical malpractice lawsuit is a by-product of the tort reform laws, which reduce many processes involved in various frivolous lawsuits. In addition, tort laws also limit the amount of damages litigants can get, which will reduce the unbelievable jury awards.
The affidavit of merit is like a procedural shortcut for the medical malpractice plaintiff. It can take out frivolous claims even before they reach the court system.
What the affidavit of merit must cover depends on which state you filed the lawsuit in. But generally, it should state that the expert who signed it is considered an expert and is working under the same medical field that the defendant practices in. It should also note that the expert has studied and reviewed your case. Finally, the expert must find that your case has enough merit, which means the defendant failed to act according to the medical standards. The person who swears to your affidavit may also be your attorney.
What if you do not secure an affidavit of merit?
Many states allow you to file an affidavit of merit for 90 days or an amount of time after filing the case. But if your state requires you to file the affidavit of merit along with the medical malpractice charges, then you could dismiss your lawsuit for not complying. Therefore, it is always best to comply with the state’s law and file the affidavit of merit.
To know what your state requires and what your affidavit of merit should include, it is always best to consult your lawyer – they could even be the one to swear the statements in the affidavit.