Medical malpractice can lead to absolutely devastating personal injuries — but they aren’t treated quite like other personal injury claims.
Per the Ohio Revised Code, your medical malpractice claim can’t even begin until you obtain an “Affidavit of Merit” from a physician, specialist or another expert witness.
Why do you need an Affidavit of Merit?
Why do you have to jump through an extra hoop or two to file a medical malpractice claim?
Officially, this requirement helps weed out “frivolous” cases that don’t have any real merit and would otherwise clog up the court system.
In practice, it serves as an extra layer of complexity that can discourage plaintiffs from making a claim — which makes Ohio a more “physician-friendly” (and insurance-friendly) state.
What does an Affidavit of Merit need to include?
In essence, the medical professional acts as an expert who certifies that there’s some validity to your claim. On their affidavit, they generally must declare under oath that they:
- Have reviewed all of the medical evidence that’s available to them
- Understand the applicable standard of care for the plaintiff’s condition
- Believe that the physician, hospital, clinic or other medical provider failed to meet that standard of care
The Affidavit of Merit must also establish that the failure to meet that standard of care was what caused the plaintiff’s injuries or worsened their condition.
Medical malpractice claims are among the most complex types of injury lawsuits anybody can pursue — but it’s your right to be heard if a negligent doctor has injured you. If you’re uncertain what you should do, it may be time to find out more about your legal options.