Certificate of Merit Defined in Medical Malpractice

Certificate of Merit Defined in Medical Malpractice

What must be included in the certificate of merit?

Affidavit of Merit - Medical MalpracticeOhio Civil Rule 10(D)(2) establishes the parameters for a certificate of merit and how it is to be used in a medical malpractice claim. The certificate of merit must establish that a qualified physician – apart from the defendant – has reviewed the plaintiff’s case. It should demonstrate:
  • The physician considered the medical records available to the plaintiff;
  • The physician found there is merit to the claims of medical malpractice or negligence; and
  • The physician believes the defendant acted outside the established standard of care.
Your attorney can handle the preparation and execution of the certificate of merit.

What happens if I fail to include a certificate of merit with my filing?

Many attorneys choose to file this document with the initial complaint. You may request a deadline of up to 90 days in which to file the certificate. You must, however, be able to demonstrate a reasonable cause for this extension. You may have an additional 60 days to file an additional certificate of merit, if your first filing is found to be insufficient in some manner. Your case may be dismissed if you fail to file the certificate of merit within the provided deadline. This does not, however, mean that you have lost your right to pursue compensation. The Supreme Court of Ohio’s ruling in Troyer v. Janis established that while the court may dismiss a medical malpractice case for lack of a certificate of merit, it must do so without prejudice. This means your rights as a plaintiff will remain intact and you retain the right to pursue future legal action. Bear in mind, the statute of limitations for Ohio medical malpractice cases is just one year. This means you have only one year from the date of the injury or discovery of the injury to file your claim. Any delay in commencing action endangers your right to compensation.

What can I do to strengthen my medical malpractice claim?

Discuss your medical malpractice claim with an attorney at your earliest opportunity. Ensure your lawyer has experience handling cases that are similar to your own. Such an attorney will understand the parameters of a certificate of merit and how to secure such documentation. Don’t be afraid to ask if your potential lawyer has ever had a client’s case dismissed based on the lack of supportive evidence. Call Ryan, LLP at 877-864-9495 or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation with a Cleveland-based medical malpractice attorney.

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