A significant hurdle that plaintiffs must overcome before pursuing a medical malpractice claim in Cleveland or elsewhere in Ohio is getting a doctor to prepare an “affidavit of merit.” As of 2005, Ohio law requires that any complaint for a lawsuit claiming medical malpractice must have an attached affidavit of merit.
The affidavit of merit is a sworn statement that must be completed by an expert witness (this will usually be the doctor that the plaintiff retains as his or her expert). The affidavit of merit must set forth the doctor’s education, licenses, and work experience. It must state that the doctor devotes at least one-half of his or her professional time to the active clinical practice of medicine in his or her field of licensure, or to its instruction at an accredited school. Further, the affidavit must include statements that the doctor: (1) has reviewed all reasonably available medical records, (2) is familiar with the applicable standard of care, and (3) is of the opinion that the defendant medical care provider breached the standard of care and caused the plaintiff’s injury. In addition, the affidavit of merit must state what the standard of care was in the given case and also specify how it was breached. The affidavit of merit in your case would be customized for your particular injury.
If an Ohio medical malpractice complaint does not have a properly completed affidavit of merit attached, then the complaint is subject to being dismissed by the court. Obviously, getting a properly completed affidavit of merit is an essential part of any medical malpractice case. A knowledgeable lawyer will make sure that a properly obtained and executed affidavit of merit is attached to your complaint before it is ever filed.
If you have questions about any of the legal issues raised in this blog, contact Dodosh Law Offices, LLC at (440) 298-2344. Or, you can fill out a contact form and Attorney Dodosh will get in touch with you.