August 2, 2019
The Choice of Experts for Certificate or Affidavit of Merit
The expert that will review your case for merit will be matched to the specific board-certification of the defendant, or will match the certification of the licensed healthcare professional in question. The expert will be actively practicing or actively working in an academic capacity, and will meet your State requirements in qualifying as an expert witness. The expert will be checked for any potential conflicts, since they have agreed to support their opinion through deposition and/or trial, if warranted.
What Must the Certificate or Affidavit of Merit cover?
The specific language requirements of the Certificate or Affidavit of merit vary from state to state. But generally speaking, the Certificate/Affidavit must state three things:
- the expert signing the Certificate/Affidavit qualifies as an expert in the same medical field or healthcare profession in which the defendant health care provider practices.
- the expert has reviewed your case, and
- the expert is of the opinion that your case has merit — meaning that the defendant’s conduct has deviated from the accepted standards of care under the circumstances.
The Expert Who Signs the Certificate or Affidavit will also be the Testifying Expert.
Some states have strict requirements on who signs the Certificate or Affidavit of Merit can be. Others do not. Depending on the state, the physician, or healthcare professional, will be required to have some of the following qualifications:
- a current and active license
- active clinical experience (i.e., that the expert actually performs the care in question), both prior to, and specifically at, the time the care was being provided
- the expert must be certified in the same area of medicine as the defendant
- the expert spends a majority of their time in active or academic practice.
How Long does it take?
In the United States, 29 states have statutes governing the timing and content of an Certificate or Affidavit of merit in a medical malpractice claim. The initial review of records and a forensic report on our letterhead takes 4 – 6 weeks. In situations where there is a time constraint a verbal report can be given to meet the requirements of your case.
How does our service save you time and money?
The Expert that reviews the case initially for merit is also available to sign the Certificate or Affidavit of merit and is also available to support his or her opinion through deposition and trial. This means an expert is paid one time for initial review.
Our forensic report will assist the attorney with the preparation of the Certificate or Affidavit of merit by serving as a template.
Our process can be completed from time of initial review to signing of Certificate or Affidavit of merit in a six week process