Patients place a certain type of trust in their doctors, nurses, and specialists to help them heal and recover. Health care professionals are held to a high standard of care, but sometimes they fail to live up to their responsibilities. When medical mistakes occur as a result of poor judgment, inexperience, lack of training, or even carelessness, they can lead to devastating injuries or death.
Finding out whether you were a victim of medical malpractice can be difficult without professional help from an attorney familiar with such cases. Medical records are complicated and difficult to obtain, and medical providers may not acknowledge their errors.
It is highly advisable to consult with a knowledgeable Boston medical malpractice lawyer who could evaluate your case and determine whether your claim is worth pursuing in court.
The Offer of Proof in Medical Malpractice Claims
Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 231 §60B, whenever a medical malpractice lawsuit is filed, the plaintiff is tasked with presenting an “offer of proof” to a special tribunal within 15 days of the defendant’s filed response to the lawsuit.
This three-person panel is responsible for deciding whether the injured plaintiff’s evidence is sufficient enough to determine that the defendant health care provider was negligent in providing medical care to the plaintiff. Generally, the panel consists of:
- A justice of the Massachusetts superior court
- A licensed physician who practices medicine in the same field as the defendant
- A licensed attorney
In making the determination, the tribunal may consider all relevant medical records, statements, test results, and relevant medical information from qualified medical experts. If the tribunal finds sufficient evidence, the case can proceed to court like any other civil lawsuit.
On the other hand, if the tribunal discovers that the plaintiff has not established substantial evidence of liability, the lawsuit can only continue if the plaintiff files a predetermined bond with the court clerk to cover the legal fees of the defendant if the plaintiff’s lawsuit was not successful. If this bond is not posted within 30 days of the tribunal’s decision, the medical malpractice lawsuit may be dismissed.
The Deadline for Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim
Massachusetts has specific deadlines for filing medical malpractice claims, called statute of limitations. The standard deadline for medical malpractice cases in Boston gives injured plaintiffs three years to file a lawsuit in civil court after the malpractice occurred. If no medical malpractice lawsuit has been filed after the three-year deadline, victims may lose the right to sue the healthcare provider.
However, in cases where the victim could not reasonable have learned that they had a medical malpractice case, the discovery rule may apply. The discovery rule states that if the injured person had no previous knowledge about the alleged malpractice, the lawsuit may be commenced three years from the date that injured person “discovered” that medical malpractice may have been involved.
The statute of repose imposes a final deadline to medical malpractice lawsuits, regardless of when the victim discovered it. Under statute of response established in Massachusetts, a medical malpractice lawsuit may not be filed more than seven years after the alleged malpractice, except in cases where a foreign object is found in the body.
Consult with a Boston Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
Medical malpractice cases can come in many forms, and as a result of many different types of cases. If you were injured by a negligent medical professional, you may want to seek legal representation from a skilled Boston medical malpractice lawyer who could fight to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. To learn more, call now.