An Affidavit of Merit is a requirement in some jurisdictions for an expert witness to file a document stating that a claim against someone is justified. An Affidavit of Merit is used mainly in conjunction with medical malpractice claims. The Affidavit of Merit is a device used predominantly to deter a frivolous medical malpractice lawsuit.
The attorney for a plaintiff in a medical malpractice lawsuit must file an Affidavit of Merit signed by a health professional who meets the requirements as an expert witness. Many times when a plaintiff in a medical liability lawsuit doesn’t file an Affidavit of Merit with the complaint, the case is dismissed.
The Affidavit of Merit form must certify that the health professional expert witness has reviewed the lawsuit and all medical records supplied and should contain a statement about:
• The method of care given.
• The health professional’s opinion that the method of care was inadequate by the health professional or health facility in question.
• The actions that were disregarded by the health professional or health facility.
• The manner in which the inadequacy of the method of care that took place.
• All signatures, addresses, and dates.
An Affidavit of Merit must be signed by the plaintiff, attorney for the plaintiff, and the medical expert witness in the presence of a notary public to be admissible in a court of law.