The FAQs Of The Certificate Of Merit In Malpractice Cases

In a medical malpractice case, there are several obligations that the plaintiff has to meet before the case even appears in court. One of those is the submission of the Certificate of Merit. Without it, some judges are not willing to allow the case to proceed. Before attempting to file your case, it is important you understand what the certificate is and what bearing it could have on your case. 

What Is the Certificate of Merit?

In some states, before the court is willing to hear a medical malpractice case, a Certificate of Merit must be submitted. The document basically states that a licensed physician reviewed your case and he or she feels that your case has merit. In essence, the physician is stating that he or she believes that the medical provider responsible for your injuries did behave in a negligent manner. 

Each state has its own rules for which physicians are considered to be qualified to write the certificate, but he or she might have to hold a current medical license. Your state might also require that the physician be a specialist in the field related to your injury. For instance, a cardiologist would need to write the certificate for injuries related to a heart event. 

What Is In the Certificate of Merit?

What is required to be in the letter varies from state to state, but there are some basic requirements. For instance, the physician writing the certificate has to state which medical records he or she reviewed to form an opinion and how the conclusion of negligence was reached. Depending on your state, the physician might also have to state what injuries he or she believes were the direct result of the negligence. 

Is the Certificate Always Required?

Depending on the state in which you live, there is a possibility that you might not need a Certificate of Merit. Some states will accept an Offer of Proof statements. The Offer of Proof is a letter or statement from your medical malpractice attorney. The attorney has to state that he or she consulted with a physician who certified that the case was valid. 

The requirements for the Certificate of Merit can change by state, so it is important that you consult with a medical malpractice attorney about your case. He or she can also discuss any further requirements you must meet before filing your case so that you can avoid any potential delays in holding your medical provider accountable. For more information, check out websites like