Have you been injured due to medical malpractice by a doctor or medical facility in Boston, MA? You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries through a medical malpractice claim.
When a physician you have trusted with your health has caused you injury instead, a Boston medical malpractice lawyer can help you hold them accountable.
Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP takes pride in building trust and confidence through a personalized approach to every case we accept. Contact our law office at (617) 391-9001 or through our contact form to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and how we can help you.
While Boston may be known for its excellent health care system, sometimes medical professionals make mistakes.
Patients can be left with severe complications and life-changing injuries when they do. Massachusetts medical malpractice refers to a medical provider who is negligent through omission or action and causes personal injury to a patient.
Malpractice can occur at any stage of medical care, including diagnosis, treatment, follow-up care, and chronic illness management. It may be committed by any medical provider. This includes hospitals, primary care physicians, pharmacists, surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, paramedics, and technicians.
In Massachusetts, medical providers are held to a very high standard of care. A medical provider must provide the standard of reasonable care for someone in the same field in similar circumstances.
Medical negligence is not simply having a poor outcome for a treatment or procedure. To determine if a medical provider breached the standard of care, a personal injury lawyer will typically work with expert medical witnesses who can testify as to the care standard.
Medical malpractice is a shockingly common problem. According to a major John Hopkins study, medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in America. It is believed that up to 440,000 patients die every year as a result of mistakes by medical professionals. However, many more suffer injuries, sometimes catastrophic.
When you visit a healthcare facility or emergency room, you trust the professionals within to treat you with professionalism and care. However, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals can always make mistakes. If these mistakes cause significant harm to their patients, they may be considered medical malpractice.
Victims of medical malpractice or their families have the legal right to file a claim for compensation for their losses. To achieve a successful outcome, your attorney must prove the following elements are present in your case:
The first step of any medical malpractice case is to identify the duty of care that the medical professional owed the victim. While the duty of care can be challenging to establish in other personal injury cases, you only need to establish that the victim and the medical professional had a doctor-patient relationship in a medical malpractice case. If the doctor was treating you, they had a duty of care to uphold accepted medical practices and do what any other doctor would reasonably do.
Unfortunately, doctors or nurses may breach their duty of care when treating a patient. This can be more challenging to prove as many doctors may deny making an egregious mistake. It is essential to remember that not every negative medical outcome results from medical malpractice. To prove that the doctor acted negligently, you must establish that they did not exercise the standard of care that most professionals would in the same situation. Some examples of deviating from the duty of care include:
Your attorney will investigate every detail of your case to establish that your doctor or nurse professional breached their duty of care. If their breach of duty directly caused you harm, you may be entitled to damages for the losses you have suffered. Some damages you may be eligible to recover include medical bills, cost of medication, pain and suffering, and more.
The final element to prove a medical malpractice case is establishing that the breach of care directly resulted in the victim’s damages. Your lawyer may bring in expert witnesses to testify to help prove that the doctor’s actions resulted in an injury. Your injury may cause further damages, such as increased medical costs or lost wages. Without causation, an injury is not necessarily an indicator of medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice in Boston comes in many forms. The following are common examples of medical negligence.
Birth injuries can occur when a medical provider fails to recognize signs of distress, does not provide the correct treatment to a pregnant woman, does not recognize a prenatal condition, or causes injury during the birth itself.
Medical malpractice can happen when a condition is diagnosed and treated.
Sometimes malpractice happens when a patient is incorrectly told there is nothing wrong with them. They may even be diagnosed with the wrong condition.
When the wrong condition is diagnosed, a patient is sent away believing there is nothing wrong or the correct treatment is not provided; negligence can lead to serious harm.
A patient’s condition may worsen, potentially to the point where the treatment that could have saved them or cured them will no longer be effective. This is particularly true with conditions such as cancer or serious heart conditions.
It’s estimated that around 4,000 surgical errors occur every year across the country. These mistakes can happen pre-op, during surgery, or post-op. A surgical error can require revision surgery, worsen a patient’s condition, or cause serious complications or even death.
Examples of surgical errors include wrong-site surgery, leaving surgical equipment in a patient, perforating an organ, anesthesia mistakes, and nerve damage.
A prescribing physician or pharmacist may commit a prescription drug error. These mistakes happen when the wrong drug or dose is prescribed or administered. It may also happen when a medication interacts with a patient’s other prescriptions.
Even when relying on medical professionals, it is still possible for things to go wrong. However, not every incidence of a displeasing medical outcome can be considered medical malpractice. A medical malpractice case must meet specific stipulations to be eligible for a lawsuit.
In Massachusetts, the patient must file a medical malpractice case within three years of the date they discover their injury. Typically, the three-year time limit doesn’t begin until the patient becomes aware of the malpractice, as it may not be immediately evident.
However, certain exceptions can lengthen this time, and others shorten it. For example, children under the age of six have a different statute of limitations. Their suit must be brought by their ninth birthday.
Except in cases where they have retained foreign objects post-surgery, patients cannot file a lawsuit more than seven years after the negligent act.
In any personal injury case, the plaintiff bears the burden of proving the following elements:
These elements may be easy to understand, but proving negligence in a medical malpractice case is often an involved process requiring expert testimonies. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer may have access to valuable resources and expert practitioners who can benefit your case.
Comparative negligence is a personal injury rule that plays a factor in your ability to recover damages and the total damages you can recover. A medical professional may allege that the plaintiff was negligent and that their negligence was a major contributing cause of the injury they sustained.
If the plaintiff is indeed partially responsible for their injury, they may only be able to recover damages as long as their contribution is not more significant than the defendants’. However, the compensation will be reduced by the plaintiff’s negligence percentage.
Massachusetts has very strict laws regarding medical malpractice claims. Before your case can proceed, Massachusetts General Law Chapter 231 Section 60B requires that you go before a tribunal. However, a superior court ruling effective 2018 makes this tribunal necessary only if requested by the defendant.
This tribunal includes:
When you file your lawsuit, you are required to file and serve an offer of proof in your case. If desired, the defendant then has 30 days to answer and specifically request a tribunal.
If the tribunal finds you have sufficient evidence, your case will proceed to court. Otherwise, your lawsuit can only go forward if you file a $6,000 bond with the clerk of court to cover the defendant’s court costs and legal fees if your case is unsuccessful.
Once your case proceeds to court, you will need to prove several elements in your case:
This means it isn’t enough that a physician committed a medical error; it must rise to the level of negligence, and it must have caused you harm.
When your trust in a medical provider has been misplaced, and you are left harmed instead of helped, you may feel overwhelmed, angry, and unsure where to turn. Unfortunately, medical malpractice is a common problem, and it can be an uphill battle to recover fair compensation for the harm you have suffered. Medical malpractice cases can be extraordinarily complex. You deserve to have a fierce advocate in your corner if you have suffered harm due to a medical professional’s negligence in Boston.
The medical malpractice attorneys at Sweeney Merrigan have dedicated their careers to helping their clients in Boston and the surrounding areas get the justice they deserve. Our attorneys will advocate tirelessly for your right to compensation for the losses you have suffered. Some of the ways our experienced and skilled legal team can help you include:
When you partner with one of our highly-qualified personal injury attorneys, you can rest assured that they will negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf so you can focus solely on your recovery. Unfortunately, insurance companies do not always have the victim’s best interests in mind and may try to offer them the lowest amount of compensation possible for their claim. A skilled attorney will fight for your interests during negotiations so that you get the compensation you deserve.
Every medical malpractice case is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all formula to determine compensation. Furthermore, victims may assume the value of their claim is much higher, or worse, much lower than it really is. Your lawyer will use their years of expertise to determine the total value of your claim so that you are fairly compensated for the harm you have endured.
While hiring a lawyer may seem daunting, it is often much more expensive to go without one. The cost of extended hospital stays, prescription drugs, or physical therapy can be astronomical. A highly-qualified attorney can ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation possible to cover all of your losses.
Medical malpractice cases can be extraordinarily dense. Filling out and filing paperwork correctly, interviewing expert witnesses, and establishing negligence can be draining and time-consuming, especially if you have never done it before. Your lawyer will make sure every form is filled out correctly and on time and apply their vast wealth of knowledge to every aspect of your case.
When you partner with a medical malpractice lawyer, you also gain access to their connections. A trusted lawyer can put you in touch with skilled medical professionals to diagnose and treat your injuries. Additionally, your lawyer can enlist the help of expert witnesses to testify and establish the medical malpractice that occurred and the damages you suffered as a result.
While some cases can be settled before going to trial, many others are argued before a judge and jury. Often, the success of a medical malpractice case hinges on the ability to present and argue your case flawlessly. Your attorney will get to know you and every detail of your case so they can use their skills to defend your interests and tailor your case to your unique needs.
Our medical malpractice lawyers in Boston have recovered hundreds of millions in compensation for our clients. This includes a $40 million verdict (with interest) which was the largest 2015 verdict in Massachusetts and 20th overall in the US.
When you choose Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP, to represent you in your medical malpractice claim, you can trust us to:
Our Top 40 Under 40 Trial Lawyers always prepare every case for trial. We are not afraid to take your case to court and will not pressure you to accept a low-ball settlement that does not fairly compensate you. Contact the Super Lawyers at Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP, today to schedule your free consultation to explore your legal options.
When you are harmed by a medical provider’s negligence, you may recover compensation for the economic and non-economic damages you have suffered.
Our Boston personal injury attorneys will fight for the maximum compensation you deserve for:
Note that Massachusetts caps non-economic damages at $500,000 in medical malpractice claims. However, this cap is lifted in some circumstances, including cases involving the impairment of bodily function or significant disfigurement. You may also qualify to have this cap lifted if you can show it deprives you of fair compensation for the injuries you sustained.
You have a limited amount of time to file a Massachusetts medical malpractice lawsuit. Typically, the statute of limitations is just three years from the date of the malpractice under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 260 Section 4. However, you can bring a claim up to 7 years after the date of injury if the malpractice wasn’t known or reasonably knowable. For malpractice affecting children under six, the window is extended up to six years, but the case must be filed before the child turns 9.
It’s crucial to consult with a Boston medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible to protect your claim. Three years may seem like a long time, but it’s vital that your case is investigated and evidence gathered quickly.
Have you suffered serious injury or complications caused by medical malpractice? Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP will help you hold the responsible party accountable for the harm you have suffered. Our medical malpractice team includes experienced attorneys Benjamin R. Novotny, Kimberly K. Ridge, and Kyle A. Camilleri and is assisted by medical records reviewer Amy Nichols. Attorneys Ridge and Novotny were named Super Lawyers Rising Stars several years in a row, and all three attorneys devote 100% of their practice to litigation. Attorney Novotony has helped clients recover hundreds of millions of dollars in damages and hold medical professionals fully accountable for the suffering they have caused.
Contact our law office today at (617) 391-9001 or through our contact form to schedule a free case review with a compassionate Boston medical malpractice lawyer who will help you explore your legal options.
Can I Still Sue for Malpractice if I Signed an Informed Consent Document Before the Medical Procedure?
Yes. The consent documentation is not a waiver. The document is arguably not admissible in a trial, although the case law on this issue is less clear in Massachusetts than it is in other states. But, simply put, the consent document is a consent to a procedure being performed, documentation that the doctor has advised you of the risks and benefits as they are required. However, the meaning of this document is consenting to the risks when the procedure is performed correctly. It does not constitute a waiver to an incorrectly performed medical procedure as that would result in many instances of medical malpractice by giving the doctors a free pass, forever.
Can a Misdiagnosis or Failure to Read Test Results Correctly Be Grounds for a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Yes, as a medical negligence case requires a breach of the standard of care. However, typically these cases turn on what the resulting harm was from that misdiagnosis or misread (i.e. breach of care). If the harm is significant, then typically the breach and significant harm tends to result in a strong case.
Can I Sue if My Doctor Did Not Tell Me About the Risks of a Procedure?
Yes, but these cases can be difficult as they are often “he-said she-said” cases. However, if the doctor failed to have you sign an essential informed consent document, then that is clear documentation that you were not informed of the risks.
What Types of Evidence Do I Need in Medical Malpractice Cases?
Most evidence in a medical malpractice case begins with the medical records. One thing that makes medical malpractice cases unique is that the evidence is logged in records that are, for the most part, kept contemporaneously. Usually, these records contain many of the red flags that doctors ignored, failed to appreciate, or didn’t even read, long before a preventable event occurs. Therefore, in order to have your case reviewed for medical malpractice, it is best to work on obtaining copies of the records right away.