The “Certificate of Merit” Demand -Claim for Medical Malpractice in Kentucky

Before being allowed to bring a lawsuit in court, those who had claims of medical malpractice in Kentucky were required by law first to acquire an opinion about the merits of their case from a medical review panel, which was a procedure that might take several months. This law was in effect from 2017 to 2019.  Once again, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that the laws violated the Kentucky Constitution because they delayed access to the courts. Get legal advice to learn more.

Certificate of merit- overview

The law in Kentucky requires plaintiffs to file a “certificate of merit.” The certificate of merit is a document that starts the lawsuit when filed with the court. This affidavit that makes up the certificate of merit states, among other things.

After reviewing the facts of the case and consulting with an expert who satisfies the requirements for expert medical witnesses and who is knowledgeable about the issues involved in the case, the attorney for the plaintiff (or the plaintiff herself) has determined that there is an adequate reason for pursuing the medical malpractice lawsuit. The expert believes a logical basis exists for pursuing the medical malpractice suit.

Alternative Affidavits 

However, the law allows permitting the use of some alternative affidavits to explain why it is either not possible or not acceptable to obtain this expert judgment by the time the lawsuit is filed. As an illustration, the plaintiff might submit an affidavit that states the following:

  • The attorney for the plaintiff made three distinct attempts, all of which were done in good faith, to seek an opinion from three different specialists, but none of them agreed to conduct a consultation.
  • if it was not possible to have a consultation from an expert before the statute of limitations expired (in which case the certificate of merit must be filed within the following 60 days), then 
  • either the plaintiff will not require any expert testimony to substantiate the charges that are being made in the complaint, or the statute of limits has expired.

There are almost no instances of medical negligence that do not call for the testimony of an expert witness. It is nearly always necessary for jurors to hear the testimony of medical experts in order to comprehend and reach conclusions regarding matters such as the acceptable level of care if there was negligence from the health care provider’s end, and more. 

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