Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Medical malpractice occurs when doctors, nurses, or other medical professionals make negligent errors that harm their patients. It is not always easy to identify medical malpractice because most people are not medical professionals. Not only can you sue the hospital where your injuries occurred, but you can sue individual doctors, nurses, and other professionals who were responsible for your care. However, you have a limited time to bring your civil action, and if you miss the deadline, you may be out of luck.
Medical malpractice claims often involve serious injuries caused by medical treatments gone wrong. Patients go to their doctor to feel better and leave feeling worse. Medical malpractice may cause your existing condition to worsen or create entirely new conditions that come with their own painful problems. Understanding how and why a medical procedure went wrong is often difficult to understand for the average person. A skilled, experienced medical malpractice lawyer will help guide you to your deserved compensation.
If you were harmed because of a medical professional’s malpractice, you can file a lawsuit and claim damages for your injuries. Our Massachusetts medical malpractice lawyers will help you assess your injuries and determine if your doctor’s negligence is to blame for your condition. Call (617) 925-6407 to set up a free, confidential legal consultation with our team at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Massachusetts
In many ways, filing a medical malpractice claim is very similar to filing any other civil claim in Massachusetts. However, medical malpractice may follow additional procedural rules not present in other cases. For example, when filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, a plaintiff typically has to give advanced notice to defendants. Under Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 231 § 60L, you must give at least 182 days advance written notice to health care providers in medical malpractice cases. This notice must include information about your claim and alleged damages.
In addition, a plaintiff is required to give the defendant health care provider access to all relevant medical records. The defendant must respond to the advance written notice within 150 days of receiving it and detail their defense. The time for these communications between the parties is quite long and can make the case take a long time to resolve. However, it may also allow the parties more time to negotiate a possible settlement before commencing litigation.
If you wish to file a medical malpractice claim, contact our Massachusetts medical malpractice attorneys as soon as possible. We can get your claim started and begin working on notifying all the necessary parties.
Types of Medical Malpractice Claims in Massachusetts
Medical malpractice generally refers to incidents in which doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers are careless or negligent in treating patients and cause injuries to them. Some common types of situations that may lead to medical malpractice claims include:
- Misdiagnosis of cancer and other serious diseases that may cause avoidable delays in treatment
- Prescribing or administering incorrect types or dosages of medication
- Surgical errors
- Misreading or failing to act on test results
Doctors and other healthcare providers must treat their patients with the same quality of care that other professionals would provide their patients in the same situation. When they fail to live up to this duty, you have the legal right to hold them accountable, including filing medical malpractice claims against them.
Not all instances of medical treatments gone wrong are malpractice, however. Sometimes, doctors and nurses do their best to treat their patients and help them feel better. However, not every patient responds to treatment very well. If a medical professional was administering treatment in the way they felt was best at the time, they have not necessarily committed malpractice even if that treatment did not work. Medical professionals must be free to use their best professional judgment when deciding the appropriate course of treatment for patients. Sometimes, the best course of treatment is simply not enough to help the patient.
Medical malpractice involves more than failed treatment. Malpractice often stems from doctors who are negligent and reckless. A Massachusetts medical malpractice attorney may be able to assist you or a loved one with obtaining the compensation that they deserve.
How to Prove Your Medical Malpractice Claim in Massachusetts
Proving a medical malpractice claim can be a daunting task. Proving that a medical treatment amounted to malpractice often requires some level of medical knowledge that most people do not have. The existence of great physical pain alone does not necessarily prove malpractice, as many medical procedures are unfortunately painful. To be successful, you must have evidence that proves the defendant acted negligently or recklessly when providing treatment.
Proof is required very early on in any medical malpractice case. According to Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 231 § 60B, all medical malpractice cases in Massachusetts must go before a tribunal consisting of a judge, a doctor, and a lawyer. You must present some offer of proof the tribunal feels sufficiently raises the question of liability to the extent that the case should proceed to a trial. You may not proceed forward with your case if you cannot come up with a sufficient offer of proof.
For help filing your case and preparing evidence of malpractice, contact our Massachusetts medical malpractice attorneys as soon as possible.
Whom You Should Sue for Medical Malpractice in Massachusetts
Depending on the nature of your treatment, you may have multiple defendants to choose from. Medical treatment can be very complicated and is often handled by a team of professionals rather than just one person. In most cases, you can sue the hospital, doctor, nurses, and any other medical professionals involved in your treatment for malpractice. However, different defendants sometimes come with different limitations.
When suing a hospital or other health care institution, your total damages may be limited. If the institution is a non-profit organization, you may only recover up to $100,000 in damages. However, you may sue other medical professionals, such as doctors or nurses, to recover additional compensation.
To determine who the most appropriate defendants are, discuss your case with our Massachusetts medical malpractice lawyers. We can help you figure out who you should sue and if they are able to pay.
Time Limitations on Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Claims
Under Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 260 § 4, victims of medical malpractice generally have three years from the date of the alleged injury or the discovery of the injury in which to file their claims for damages. Malpractice is not always readily apparent. Some victims have gone years before realizing they were the victim of medical malpractice. In such cases, the statute of limitations will not start to run until the victim realizes the malpractice. However, if the failure to realize was unreasonable or due to willful ignorance, the statute will run when the victim reasonably should have known about the problem.
However, Massachusetts law also establishes a statute of repose, which sets a seven-year deadline to file medical malpractice claims, except when the claim results from surgical errors in which medical providers leave foreign objects behind in the bodies of individuals. This time limit is different because it prevents any claims past the seven-year deadline, no matter when they were discovered. Even if you had a good reason for failing to realize the malpractice, you could not file your claims if you are outside the statute of repose.
Victims of medical malpractice who fail to bring their claims within the statutory timeframe, or statute of limitations, would likely be unable to seek any compensation for their injuries. No matter how negligent the doctor or other medical provider was, injured parties may be unable to hold them accountable for their wrongful behavior. By enlisting the help of our Massachusetts medical malpractice lawyers, you could ensure that you meet all deadlines for filing your claims as required by law.
Consult a Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
If you have suffered harm after what should have been routine surgery or medical treatment, you may have recourse against medical providers who were negligent or careless. Getting the legal advice and guidance you need in this situation can be essential to receiving the full and fair compensation you deserve. Call our Massachusetts personal injury lawyers at (617) 925-6407.