Regarding vicarious liability claims, it has been unclear what the exact Affidavit of Merit requirements are in New Jersey under N.J.S.A. § 2A:53A-27 in key situations. This issue first came to a head in March of 2021 and has been developing ever since.
The question in play is whether an Affidavit of Merit is a requirement for certain types of malpractice cases. N.J.S.A. § 2A:53A-27 applies to cases in which the only claim that the plaintiff has leveled against a health care facility is rooted in the allegation that one or more of the employees of the facility exhibited medical negligence.
NJSC clarifies Affidavit requirements
The New Jersey Supreme Court has now deemed it appropriate to provide their opinion on this important issue. One of the notable requirements for the Affidavit is the inclusion of a statement declaring it reasonably probable that the actions of a defendant did not fall with the standards of care that are legally acceptable.
N.J.S.A. § 2A:53A-27, better known as the Affidavit of Merit Statute, was put into place so that plaintiffs who file a professional or medical malpractice claim would bear the burden of proving that their claim has merit early on in the litigation process. This creates a threshold so that all baseless claims are filtered out quickly, preventing them from bogging down the courts.
Under this statute, a plaintiff in that situation is required to have an affidavit filed by a professional who has been similarly licensed. This applies to malpractice claims only against certain professionally licensed individuals: specifically, those who have been licensed in a job that is delineated by N.J.S.A. § 2A:53A-26.
For anyone who has experienced malpractice, it’s important to follow the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decisions regarding the Affidavit of Merit Statute. Asserting a claim of vicarious liability is never easy, but it’s more manageable when malpractice victims know what the requirements are.