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Medical Malpractice in Massachusetts

According to a study in Journal of Patient Safety, medical errors leading to death in the U.S. may be as high as 400,000 errors, affecting that many patients, per year. Medical errors are also known as medical malpractice.

Massachusetts defines medical malpractice as an injury of a patient resulting from a breach in the standard of care by a healthcare professional. Standard of care is considered to be the generally accepted practices and procedures of medical professionals in a particular field of medicine for a specific geographic area. In order to prove the standard of care was breached, medical experts will need to testify that the generally accepted practices and procedures were not used in the patient's medical treatment.

There are time limits as to how long you have to file a medical malpractice suit in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts statute of limitations for medical malpractice is three years from the time the victim learns about the injury or should have reasonably known about it. Additionally, although the statute of limitations may be "tolled" (which means that the clock doesn't start until after you know or should have known about the injury) no claim can be filed more than seven years after the medical treatment caused the injury. This second time frame is konwn as the statute of repose. There are exceptions to the statute of limitations if the case involves a minor, instruments left in a body after surgery, or incapacitation. If you think medical malpractice has happened more than three years ago, you should still contact an attorney and see if your situation falls within an exception to the statute of limitations.

There are different awards that a victim or a family member of medical malpractice can win in a case; these are known as damages. Compensatory damages are given to reimburse someone for his or her medical expenses and lost wages. There is no limit as to the amount that can be awarded for compensatory damages so long as there is proof of these expenses and losses.

Non-economic damages are given for intangible expenses such as pain and suffering. Massachusetts has a $500,000 limit for non-economic damages, known as a damage cap, unless there is an applicable exception, such as impairment of bodily function or permanent disfigurement.

Punitive damages are awarded in order to punish the healthcare professional responsible for willfully causing the injury, typically awarded only if the medical malpractice results in death.

If you or a loved one sustained an injury as a result of a breach of the standard of care, then you may have a medical malpractice case. An experienced medical malpractice attorney, also referred to as a personal injury lawyer, can help you find experts to testify on your behalf, file your claim within the statute of limitations and get you and your family the full amount of damages you are owed. If you or a loved one may have been a victim of medical malpractice, it is important that you reach out to an experienced medical malpractice attorney, so that you get the damages you deserve.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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