1. In any action against a health care provider for damages for personal injury or death on account of the rendering of or failure to render health care services, the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s attorney shall file an affidavit with the court stating that he or she has obtained the written opinion of a legally qualified health care provider which states that the defendant health care provider failed to use such care as a reasonably prudent and careful health care provider would have under similar circumstances and that such failure to use such reasonable care directly caused or directly contributed to cause the damages claimed in the petition.
2. As used in this section, the term “legally qualified health care provider” shall mean a health care provider licensed in this state or any other state in the same profession as the defendant and either actively practicing or within five years of retirement from actively practicing substantially the same specialty as the defendant.
Terms Used In Missouri Laws 538.225
- Affidavit: A written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the party making it, before a notary or officer having authority to administer oaths.
- Damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
- Defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
- Plaintiff: The person who files the complaint in a civil lawsuit.
- Probable cause: A reasonable ground for belief that the offender violated a specific law.
- State: when applied to any of the United States, includes the District of Columbia and the territories, and the words "United States" includes such district and territories. See Missouri Laws 1.020
- Testify: Answer questions in court.
3. The affidavit shall state the name, address, and qualifications of such health care providers to offer such opinion.
4. A separate affidavit shall be filed for each defendant named in the petition.
5. Such affidavit shall be filed no later than ninety days after the filing of the petition unless the court, for good cause shown, orders that such time be extended for a period of time not to exceed an additional ninety days.
6. If the plaintiff or his attorney fails to file such affidavit the court shall, upon motion of any party, dismiss the action against such moving party without prejudice.
7. Within one hundred eighty days after the filing of the petition, any defendant may file a motion to have the court examine in camera the aforesaid opinion and if the court determines that the opinion fails to meet the requirements of this section, then the court shall conduct a hearing within thirty days to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that one or more qualified and competent health care providers will testify that the plaintiff was injured due to medical negligence by a defendant. If the court finds that there is no such probable cause, the court shall dismiss the petition and hold the plaintiff responsible for the payment of the defendant’s reasonable attorney fees and costs.