What is the Pennsylvania ‘Certificate of Merit’?
The crucial piece to medical malpractice cases that many don't know about
The unfortunate truth of medical malpractice cases: they occur far too often. Experiencing medical malpractice is traumatizing and can lead to long-term consequences for patients, so it’s important to seek the justice you deserve after your Pennsylvania medical malpractice case. Having a trusted attorney is a great start in your case, but taking the time to learn about the steps you must take towards justice is valuable for your own knowledge. Take a second to learn about Certificates of Merit and why they are so crucial in medical malpractice cases.
What is a Certificate of Merit?
How acquiring a Certificate of Merit can make or break your medical malpractice case
In 2003, the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court approved a new rule requiring attorneys to obtain a ‘certificate of merit’ from a medical professional establishing that the medical work in the case fell outside acceptable standards. What this means is that you are not allowed to proceed with a medical malpractice case in Pennsylvania unless you have obtained a written letter from a doctor in the same or substantially similar field ascertaining that your expert believes there was a deviation from the acceptable standard of care.
What if I don’t have a Certificate of Merit?
Having experienced lawyers is key to a successful medical malpractice case
A lawyer failing to obtain the certificate cannot bring a case to trial. The rule allows attorneys to file their ‘certificate of merits’ within 60 days of filing their initial complaint. Most certificate are filed attached to the complaints since lawyers often will not accept a medical malpractice case unless a doctor has already agreed to write the ‘certificate of merit.’
If you or your lawyer fail to file the ‘certificate’ within 60 days, the case can be dismissed. If you are within the statute of limitations (typically 2 years in Pennsylvania for medical malpractice claims), then you can refile your action if you are later able to find an expert. If not, the case can be lost forever.
Where can I find the help I need?
Finding the right experienced lawyer isn’t always easy
Filing your certificate of merit in Pennsylvania is crucial in proceeding with a medical malpractice case. For help with your medical malpractice case in Pennsylvania and advice for obtaining your Certificate of merit, contact Flaherty & Fardo attorneys at law. As experts in the field, we offer free consultations to help you seek justice.