If you’ve been a victim of malpractice, the ramifications may be clear to you by virtue of the injuries you sustain. However, knowing you sustained an injury and proving that it was due to medical negligence are two different things. In New Jersey, in order to proceed with a medical malpractice claim, your legal team will need to secure an Affidavit of Merit (AOM) from a medical professional. But what exactly does that entail?
In 1995, the state of New Jersey enacted the Affidavit of Merit Statute, (N.J.S.A. 2A.:53A-27). The intended goal of this statute was to prevent voluminous non-meritorious lawsuits from clogging up the court system.
The statute requires that anyone planning to proceed with a medical malpractice suit, first consult with a medical professional within the same field of medicine as the subject matter of the claim, and obtain an affidavit from that healthcare provider. In other words, if the suit surrounds orthopedic surgical treatment, an Affidavit of Merit would need to be secured from an orthopedic surgeon.
The Affidavit of Merit is the medical professional’s statement that they reviewed the matter (reviewing medical records and/or radiographic and/or other studies), and have found that the grounds for a suit appear to have merit.
Unless an AOM is obtained in a timely manner, you may lose your chance to pursue civil litigation to obtain monetary compensation for your injuries.
Medical malpractice claims are complex matters, and it would be well advised for a person to seek counsel form a qualified attorney who handles claims of that nature, and is familiar with all of the idiosyncrasies of that field of law.