Massachusetts Medical Malpractice: Laws, Claims and Damages
UPDATED: March 7, 2012
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MASSACHUSETTS MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
In Massachusetts, a patient injured by the medical negligence of a health care practitioner can recover for their injuries by bringing a medical malpractice claim. A health care practitioner is medically negligent when they treat a patient using substandard care, or a level of care that another experienced practitioner in the same industry would not use. Actionable injuries can result from many types of medical negligence in Massachusetts, including:
- Incorrect diagnosis or failure to diagnose;
- Failure to treat illness properly;
- Hospital oversight;
- Nursing error;
- Errors during surgery.
A Massachusetts medical malpractice lawyer should be contacted if you believe that you have been the victim of medical negligence.
Who Can Be Sued in a Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Case?
If a health care practitioner is licensed to provide medical services, they can be held liable for their medically negligent acts or omissions. A licensed healthcare practitioner can be either an individual or an entity, such as: doctors, specialists, nurses, dentists, physical therapists, hospitals, hospice care facilities, clinics, and medical groups. If you have been injured as a patient, but are not sure if the party at fault falls within the definition of a health care practitioner in Massachusetts, start by contacting an attorney who specializes in medical malpractice in your state.
Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
A party injured by the medical negligence of a health care practitioner only has a limited amount of time to file a claim. In Massachusetts, the claim must be filed within three years of the discovery of the injury. However, the claim may not, regardless of when discovered, be filed later than seven years after the date of the negligent act that caused the injury. An exception does exist for situations in which a foreign object is left inside a patient’s body following surgery.
Caps on Medical Malpractice Claims in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, compensatory damages (economic and noneconomic damages) are available for recovery in a medical malpractice action. Massachusetts law limits the amount of noneconomic damages recoverable to $500,000 per plaintiff, unless the plaintiff has suffered substantial disfigurement or loss of bodily function. Noneconomic damages include losses for pain and suffering and loss of consortium. In these cases, the court may find that awarding more noneconomic damages is appropriate. Prior to filing a claim, a Massachusetts medical malpractice attorney will help a plaintiff determine the proper value of their claim, based on the facts.
Filing a Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Claim
A Massachusetts medical malpractice attorney should be contacted prior to filing a claim. Navigating a medical malpractice claim requires expert knowledge of the law on your side in order to combat the experienced team of defense attorneys that the health care practitioner will have on their side. Furthermore, in order to bring a claim that will stand up in court, expert witnesses must be hired to provide testimony to support the injured party’s claim of medical negligence. Depositions must also be taken, and multiple court appearances may be necessary. For these reasons, an injured party is well advised to hire an experienced Massachusetts medical malpractice attorney to assist them through the complex process involved in filing a Massachusetts medical malpractice claim.
Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Laws
- Administration of the Government: Public Health: Definitions: Part 1, Title XVI, Chapter 111, §1.
- Courts, Judicial Officers, and Proceedings in Civil Cases: Statutes of Frauds and Limitations: Limitations of Actions: Part 3, Title V, Chapter 260, §4.
- Courts, Judicial Officers, and Proceedings in Civil Cases: Actions and Proceedings Therein: Pleading and Practice: Limitation for Damages for Pain and Suffering: Part 3, Title II, Chapter 231, §60H.