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Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Laws & Requirements

Patients in Massachusetts lose their lives every year due to medical professionals’ negligence. This professional negligence frequently results in patient injury or death, with most cases involving some form of medical error that falls below the medical community’s acknowledged standard of practice. Medical malpractice claims can be intricate and challenging to prove, so consulting a lawyer can be advantageous. 

The attorneys at Sweeney Merrigan Law have proven adept at handling medical malpractice cases. Our Massachusetts medical malpractice lawyers have years of experience handling these types of claims. They know how to effectively get you compensation for any pain and suffering you endure from medical misconduct or carelessness. Victims of medical malpractice should reach out to us at (617) 391-9001 or complete our contact form.

The Statute of Limitations for Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Cases

In Massachusetts, a patient has three years from the discovery of their injury to initiate a medical malpractice claim. If the malpractice is unknown or not reasonably knowable, the three-year time limit usually does not commence until the patient becomes aware of it. There are, however, some exclusions that may impact this deadline.

Children under the age of six have a different statute of limitations. By their ninth birthday, they must have their suit. No litigation may be initiated for a child patient longer than seven years after the negligent act happened, according to G.L. c. 231, 60D. Patients cannot file a claim more than seven years after the negligent act unless they have retained foreign objects after surgery. 

Negligence in Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Cases

Negligence is an integral part of any personal injury case, including medical malpractice. In these cases, the plaintiff has the burden of proving they suffered due to someone’s negligence. For a medical malpractice case to have a chance at being successful, the plaintiff must demonstrate that their case meets the following stipulations:

  • The defendant had a duty of care to the plaintiff.
  • The defendant was negligent and breached their duty of care.
  • Because of the defendant’s negligence, the plaintiff was injured.
  • The plaintiff suffered losses as a result of the defendant’s negligence.

Although these stipulations seem simple, proving negligence in a medical malpractice case can be a lengthy process involving numerous pieces of evidence, arguments, and expert testimony. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer may have helpful resources and specialist practitioners available to help you with your case.

Damages in Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Cases Are Limited

Plaintiff damages other than medical expenditures are capped at $500,000 under Massachusetts G.L. c. 231, 60H. The only exception is if a jury determines that there has been a significant or permanent loss or impairment of a physical function, significant disfigurement, or some other specific condition warranting an excess award.

Written Notice Requirement for Actions Against Health Care Providers in Massachusetts

This written notice must include the following:

  • The claim’s factual foundation
  • The patient’s claimed relevant standard of care
  • The patient’s perception of how the practitioner violated the relevant standard of care
  • What actions should have been taken to meet this standard of care
  • The proximate cause of the damage was a breach of the standard of care
  • The names of all healthcare providers the patient plans to notify in connection with a claim under this section

The health care provider has 150 days to respond in writing after receiving the written notice. Their written response must include

  • the defense’s factual foundation
  • the provider’s argument that the activity falls under a standard of care
  • whether or not the clinician followed the standard of care
  • how the health care provider claims that their alleged negligence was or was not a proximate cause of the claimant’s alleged injury or alleged damage

If a health care provider lets the patient know in writing that they do not intend to settle the claim during the notice period, the plaintiff may file a medical malpractice lawsuit unless there is some other impediment to the action.

Comparative Negligence in Medical Malpractice

Comparative negligence is a personal injury regulation that affects your ability to recover damages and the amount you can recover. A medical professional may claim that you were negligent and your negligence was a significant contributing factor to your injury. Comparative negligence is a defense that either permits the medical professional to avoid blame or limits the amount of compensation you can receive.

As the plaintiff, it is still possible for you to be entitled to recover damages if you are somewhat to blame for your injuries. However, you can only do so if your proportion of fault is not greater than that of the defendant, your healthcare practitioner. Should you prove to be partially responsible but not the primary contributor to your injuries, your compensation will be reduced based on your proportion of negligence.

Why Choose the Legal Professionals at Sweeney Merrigan Law

Attorney’s Ben Novotny, Kim Ridge, Kyle Camilleri, and Amy Nichols, our medical records reviewers, make up our core medical malpractice team. Every member of this team has been recognized for their hard work and character. To start, Benjamin R. Novotny is a partner at Sweeney Merrigan Law and has recovered over $200 million in verdicts and settlements to date for his clients. 

Attorney Kim Ridge specializes in personal injury and medical malpractice cases. She is a tenacious advocate who fights for every penny her clients are entitled to, and she was named a Super Lawyers’ Rising Star for 2021. Kyle Camilleri is a trial attorney who defends clients in various cases, so he is well-versed in adapting to the needs of each practice area.

Consult an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Massachusetts

Medical malpractice lawsuits are challenging and complex, and they might take a long time to conclude due to the complexities of the litigation. It is critical to work with a malpractice attorney who has a track record of success. Our firm is committed to pursuing the best possible outcome for our clients and has recovered millions of dollars in that pursuit.

At Sweeney Merrigan Law, our firm includes top Massachusetts medical malpractice legal professionals who have helped clients recover millions of dollars in compensation. Find out what our firm can do for you by scheduling a consultation at (617) 391-9001 or through our contact form.

Award-Winning Legal Team

Attorneys at Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP have been recognized and honored by several of the top legal associations, including SuperLawyers, National Trial Lawyers Association, and Best Lawyers.

Over $500 Million Recovered

Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP is a highly successful personal injury law firm serving Massachusetts since 2011.

No Fee Until You Win

There are no fees or costs unless we win your case!

Meet the Personal Injury Attorneys at Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP