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Navigating Expert Affidavit Rules Under O.C.G.A. § 9-11-9.1 in Georgia

You’re beginning a complex medical malpractice case and your attorney mentioned the need for expert testimony and an expert affidavit to you. You’re a bit lost, but you know you’ll need the expert testimony to prove your case. But before your expert can take the stand, you have to cross the expert affidavit hurdle in O.C.G.A. § 9-11-9.1. While it may seem to you like a daunting task at this stage, it isn’t for lawyers who regularly litigate in this arena. That said, we are breaking down the expert affidavit rules so you can feel at ease throughout the process.

Understanding Georgia’s Expert Affidavit Requirement

Filing an Expert Affidavit

In Georgia, an expert affidavit is required in professional malpractice cases, including medical malpractice. As the plaintiff, you need to file an affidavit from an expert witness with your lawsuit. The affidavit must set forth at least one negligent act or omission and the factual basis for that claim. 

Choosing an Expert Witness

Selecting the right expert is crucial. They should be actively practicing in the same field as the defendant and have relevant education, training, and experience. The expert must also be willing and able to testify in court if needed. There are also very specific rules in Georgia regarding whether an expert is qualified to provide the affidavit. It is important that your attorney is familiar with all of these rules, because one small misstep could result in your case being dismissed. 

Providing Specific Allegations

Vague or conclusory statements won’t cut it. Your expert affidavit must specify exactly how the defendant breached the standard of care and how that directly caused your injuries or damages. Lay out a clear timeline of events, refer to relevant codes or industry standards, and use precise language. The more detailed and evidence-based the affidavit, the better.

By following the expert affidavit rules carefully and choosing a well-qualified expert to build a solid case, you’ll maximize your chances of overcoming a motion to dismiss and ultimately prevailing in your claim. While the process may seem complex, an experienced attorney can guide you through each step to ensure compliance with O.C.G.A. 9-11-9.1.

When an Expert Affidavit Is Required Under O.C.G.A. § 9-11-9.1

Under O.C.G.A. § 9-11-9.1, you’ll need an expert affidavit if your case involves “professional malpractice” claims – meaning claims arising from the negligent provision of professional services by certain licensed professionals like doctors, lawyers, accountants, and architects. 

An expert affidavit is also required for product liability claims – cases involving injuries caused by defective products. The affidavit must come from an expert competent to testify about the product, its design or manufacture, and how those factors relate to the injuries suffered.

In either malpractice or product liability cases, the affidavit must specify at least one negligent act or defective condition and the factual basis for connecting that act or condition to the plaintiff’s injury. The expert must also confirm that the claim being made does not lack substantial justification within the meaning of O.C.G.A. § 9-11-68. ###

Meeting these requirements can be complicated, so you’ll want to work closely with your expert and counsel to ensure the affidavit is sufficient. Keep in mind that if it’s found lacking, the case can be dismissed – but when done right, a persuasive expert affidavit can strengthen your position and move you closer to obtaining justice.

The rules around expert affidavits aim to weed out frivolous lawsuits, but don’t let them intimidate you if you have a legitimate claim. Do your homework, build a solid case, and fight for your right to be made whole under the law. Justice may not always be easy to obtain, but for those harmed through no fault of their own, it’s worth the effort.

Best Practices for Filing a Compliant Affidavit in Georgia

When it comes time to file an expert affidavit in Georgia, following best practices will help ensure your affidavit is accepted. The key is to be as thorough and transparent as possible.

Provide a detailed curriculum vitae

Attach a current CV that outlines the expert’s qualifications, education, certifications, publications, areas of expertise, and professional experience. The more details the better, as this establishes their credibility.

Clearly state the expert’s opinions

The affidavit should plainly state the expert’s opinions on the issues in the case. Explain the reasoning and methodology behind these opinions in a straightforward manner that a non-expert can understand. Reference facts, studies, or the expert’s own experience to support key points.

Have the expert swear to the contents

The final step is to have the expert swear under oath that the contents of the affidavit are true and correct to the best of their knowledge. The affidavit must be signed by the expert in the presence of a notary public, who will verify the expert’s identity and administer the oath.

Following these best practices will result in an expert affidavit that establishes the necessary credibility and complies with the requirements of O.C.G.A. 9-11-9.1. The affidavit is a critical piece of evidence, so taking the time to do it right is well worth the effort.


While it may seem complex, your attorney should be familiar with all of the relevant rules and be able to explain them to you in a short, concise manner. The important thing is being proactive early in litigation to get compliant affidavits lined up from credible experts. Do that, and you’ll be ready to use them to maximum effect in motions, hearings, and at trial. With the stakes often high in professional liability cases, a solid expert affidavit can be the difference between you winning and losing your case.  

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