Andrew Rubin, Esq.

Professional malpractice law and affidavits of merit

If you hired an attorney, and your experience was less than desirable, you might be able to file a claim. Under New Jersey's professional malpractice law, your claim needs to include an affidavit of merit (AOM). Without this document, your case could be dismissed.

Back in 1995, the New Jersey legislature passed a law requiring an affidavit from another attorney verifying the merits of your complaint. The legislature added this procedural step due to complaints that a large number of frivolous claims were being filed. The attorney providing the affidavit must be a licensed and practicing attorney.

The AOM does not have to be filed along with the complaint. However, it must be filed no later than 60 days after receiving an answer from the defendant. Therefore, it is crucial to find an attorney who can provide an AOM within the time needed. In addition, it is essential that the attorney providing the affidavit can accurately identify any deficiencies with how your case was handled by the defendant. On the other hand, that same attorney needs to be willing to let you know if he or she does not see anything wrong.

Much like other professionals -- such as doctors -- not all attorneys feel comfortable reviewing a colleague's work looking for problems. Finding an attorney who routinely undertakes the task of providing affidavits of merit could take some work on your own. Like any other litigation matter, it would be beneficial to have a professional malpractice law attorney advocating for you. He or she more than likely works with another attorney who provides these affidavits, along with a professional, honest and accurate opinion regarding your case.

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