When you are injured by the negligent actions of another individual, you may have the right to bring legal action against that party for your injuries and damages. Under New Jersey law, if the lawsuit is against a licensed professional, you must provide what is called an “Affidavit of Merit.”
What Is an Affidavit of Merit Statute?
The New Jersey Affidavit of Merit Statute was made law on June 29, 1995 (N.J.SA. 2A.:53A-27). This law was designed to reduce the filing of “frivolous” lawsuits against certain “licensed” professionals.
This law requires that anyone (plaintiff) who is suing a “licensed person” for damages resulting from personal injuries, wrongful death or property damage as a result of malpractice or negligence, to provide the person they are suing (defendant) with an affidavit from an expert in that same field who has the same credentials as the defendant.
If the case involves a medical malpractice claim, the expert physician who issues the affidavit must be licensed to practice and have actively practiced within the field and/or sub-specialty of medicine applicable to the case. In addition, the expert cannot have any financial interest in the case.
The Problem With the Affidavit of Merit Statute
Although the Affidavit of Merit Statute was designed with good intentions, it has proven to be an obstacle for many medical malpractice victims. Meeting the requirements of this statute can prohibit most of these injured individuals to seek the justice that they deserve for the injuries they have suffered.
The statute narrows the ability for medical malpractice plaintiffs to obtain experts in medical malpractice cases. The requirements of the statute apply even where the relevant professional licensure laws overlap to some degree. This prohibits doctors, who would otherwise be qualified but for the technicality of the statute, to be an expert in most cases. As a result of the New Jersey Affidavit of Merit Statute, there are many valid medical malpractice cases that are being dismissed on these types of technicalities.
Legal Protection For Medical Malpractice
When a physician provides substandard care that results in injuries or death, the patient should immediately seek the help of an attorney who specifically handles medical negligence.
At Gersowitz, Libo & Korek, P.C., our attorneys understand the ramifications of medical negligence on the patient and their family members. We are aggressive in getting our clients the full extent of monetary compensation they are entitled to for the injuries they have suffered.
If you or a loved one was injured due to the negligent actions of a healthcare professional and would like to consult with an experienced New Jersey medical malpractice attorney, please call Gersowitz, Libo & Korek, P.C. at 1-800-529-9997.