For over four decades, the Georgia General Assembly has sought to strike a balance between the need for competent medical care and the role of the judiciary in determining relief for those injured by improper medical treatment. In its effort, Georgia adopted measures to limit the number of frivolous lawsuits to protect its professionals while giving plaintiffs an efficient avenue for relief. One of these adopted measures is the Official Code of Georgia Annotated's (O.C.G.A.) expert affidavit requirement, section 9-11-9.1 (§ 9.1). The use of expert testimony in malpractice cases is "firmly entrenched" in Georgia's policy and crucial to professional malpractice claims. Section 9.1 requires plaintiffs to submit an expert affidavit contemporaneously with the complaint in malpractice actions. The Georgia Court of Appeals determined in Fisher v. Gala that, pursuant to the language of § 9.1(e), a plaintiff has the ability to cure an affidavit that is defective because of the expert's incompetency by amendment with a substitute affidavit. Fisher, therefore, embodies Thomas Palmer's American maxim8 within the realm of medical malpractice. Georgia plaintiffs: If your first expert affiant is found incompetent, amend and try again with a different one.
Dunnam, Kathryn S.
"Fisher v. Gala: O.C.GA. § 9-11-9.1(e) Keeping Malpractice Claims Afloat,"
Mercer Law Review: Vol. 66:
3, Article 8.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.mercer.edu/jour_mlr/vol66/iss3/8