How an Affidavit of Merit Pertains to Your Case
Posted July 19th, 2016 by Anthony Carbone, PC.
Categories: Personal Injury.
Have you heard the term “Affidavit of Merit” and wondered how it pertains to your case? Although the words seem self-explanatory, they are particularly relevant to licensed professionals. If you have a case against a doctor or some other medical entity, an affidavit of merit will be required by the court.
Affidavits of merit are extremely important in medical malpractice cases. The concept was set up to avoid frivolous lawsuits. After all, cases against professionals can be expensive. They can also be time-consuming. It, therefore, makes sense for the party bringing a case to have an expert that supports their theory of wrongdoing.
A Basic Understanding of an Affidavit of Merit
We’ve already told you the “why” of an affidavit of merits. However, we have not clearly provided you with the details. Perhaps the formal name of the law can provide you with better insight. The New Jersey statute regarding affidavits of merits is found at NJSA 2A:53A-27. It is entitled “Affidavit of lack of care in action for professional, medical malpractice or negligence.” This particular statute deals with the requirements regarding an affidavit of merit. They are broken down as follows:
- Circumstances that require the filing of an Affidavit of Merit: All claims for personal injury, wrongful death or property damage that occurred as a result of alleged malpractice or negligence by someone considered a licensed professional.
- Time limits: The Affidavit of Merit must be filed within sixty days after the defendant has answered the legal complaint brought by the injured party. (There are limited extensions of time that may be authorized by the court.)
- Parties Qualified to Author the Affidavit of Merit: An Affidavit of Merit is submitted by an expert in the defendant’s professional field. For example, if a claim is brought against a podiatrist, another podiatrist could be called upon to be an expert witness. The court will require the expert witness to have at least five years of related expertise. In addition, there must be a question of financial gain on behalf of the expert.
It is not up to the injured party to come up with the name of a qualified expert witness. An experienced personal injury attorney will have the resources available to select an appropriate party to testify on the merits of the case.
If you are concerned that you may have suffered damages as a result of a medical professional’s malpractice or negligence, the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone can assist you. We can provide you with legal advice to determine if you should pursue a claim. Contact us to schedule a meeting at no cost.