Medical malpractice

What Is A Certificate of Merit In Your Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

April 3, 2017 by Carrie Capouellez
certificate of merit

When a doctor has made a gross error in treatment of a patient, many patients and their families don’t know what to do or where to turn. Filing a lawsuit against a doctor or hospital often seems intimidating, but it’s important for patients to understand they have certain rights.

When a doctor makes a mistake that causes a patient harm, the patient has a legal right to hold the doctor responsible. The first step in holding negligent doctors responsible is obtaining a certificate of merit with the help of your attorney. A certificate of merit will be crucial to the success of any medical malpractice lawsuit, so it’s important to understand what it is and how it will affect your case.

What Is A Certificate of Merit?

In Pennsylvania, anyone filing a medical malpractice lawsuit will first need a certificate of merit. A certificate of merit is an opinion from a qualified physician that a medical error or medical negligence occurred. The physician will need to review the patient’s medical history and create a report containing the following information:

  • An explanation of the standard of care that should have been used
  • An opinion that the standard of care was not met
  • The physician’s reasoning for his or her opinions

How Is A Certificate of Merit Used?

Before a medical malpractice lawsuit can proceed, the patient needs to provide proof it was more than likely the doctor was negligent and the negligence caused the patient harm. The certificate of merit serves as proof of these items so the lawsuit can proceed. Certificates of merit that do not meet Pennsylvania’s strict guidelines could jeopardize a patient’s claim, so it is incredibly important patients who suffered medical malpractice partner with experienced medical malpractice attorneys.

An experienced medical malpractice lawyer will be able to find a physician that meets all of Pennsylvania’s requirements and ensure all guidelines are followed in preparing the certificate of merit.

Medical Malpractice Lawyers For Philadelphia Families

Unfortunately, when a medical professional does not take the proper steps to ensure patient safety, patients can pay with their health and sometimes their lives. The experienced Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers at Lopez McHugh LLP are ready to help victims of medical negligence with their claims. If you or someone you love were injured by a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional, call us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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