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What is a Certificate of Merit?

 

A: In a medical malpractice lawsuit in New York, before a lawyer is permitted to file a lawsuit on behalf of an injured victim, we must obtain confirmation of the malpractice by a physician who has either treated the patient or reviewed all of their records. The physician must confirm that there were departures from good and accepted care; they must confirm that the wrongdoing caused injury, and must confirm that the injuries are significant and/or permanent.

Once we have obtained confirmation from a medical expert that there is a valid basis to proceed forward with the case, then the attorney must prepare a “certificate of merit” to let the court know that he has consulted with a physician who confirms the case has merit. This document is signed by the attorney and submitted to the court along with the papers that start the lawsuit known as a summons and complaint.