Does your suit have merit? Using “consulting” experts to certify med mal claims
Engaging the Med Law team early can help plaintiffs’ counsel pinpoint important issues in a case quickly, including assessing the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries, their level of recovery, and their overall damages.
In more than half of the United States, before plaintiffs can bring a medical malpractice lawsuit, they are first required to obtain certification from a medical professional that their claims have merit.
The name of the filing varies from state to state: Some states call it a certificate of merit, while others call it an affidavit of merit, or an offer of proof. This procedural step is an outgrowth of tort reform efforts, in which state legislatures across the country have sought to limit what they deem as frivolous lawsuits.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, currently 28 states require the filing of a certificate of merit or its equivalent before a medical malpractice claim can proceed.
Generally, a certificate of merit must contain an opinion from a qualified medical professional stating that the professional has reviewed the plaintiff’s medical records and that, in their opinion, the defendants were more likely than not negligent in treating the plaintiff.
Who qualifies as a healthcare provider also varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but in several states, nurses may complete certificates of merit. In such jurisdictions, plaintiffs’ counsel can rely on Med Law Advisory Partners’ consulting nurse experts to review and provide their opinions on the merits of a case.
The advantages to engaging Med Law’s team at the outset of your medical malpractice litigation are numerous.
First, because our consulting nurse experts offer their knowledge and talents at a cost-effective rate substantially lower than a testifying expert rate, engaging Med Law can help minimize unnecessary expenses at the beginning of the case, which is particularly important when a case is found to have little or no merit.
Our consulting nurse experts have decades of clinical experience in a wide variety of specialties and established practice in managing the nuances of medical-legal claims.
They’re able to partner with the legal team early on to quickly assess the strengths and weaknesses of a claim and inform litigation strategy – a skill not found in many testifying experts. Consulting nurse experts use data-driven processes, standard of care evaluation, and clinical judgment to identify the issues that truly matter and help the legal team determine the best path to claim resolution.
If and when needed, they also facilitate work with a testifying expert who supports the established theories of liability.
Engaging the Med Law team early can help plaintiffs’ counsel pinpoint important issues in a case quickly, including assessing the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries, their level of recovery, and their overall damages. The result is a savings in time and expense for the client.
While plaintiffs may view certificates of merit as an obstacle to litigation, completing the process with a consulting nurse expert is a strategic, cost-effective way to provide more clarity at an early stage about the value of the case and whether they have a likelihood of success.
Contact us for more information on how we can partner with you to assess your cases for merit and support you through the litigation process.