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What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice isn’t merely a poor outcome after a diagnosis or medical treatment. Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, emergency medical technician, nurse, or medical practitioner fails to adhere to standard medical procedures and fails to provide an acceptable “standard of care” to which every patient is entitled.

Medical Malpractice is a Violation of the Standard of Care

State law acknowledges that the medical profession recognizes certain medical standards as being acceptable treatments by reasonable health care professionals when treating patients suffering the same (or a similar) disease or disorder under similar circumstances. This understood set of standards is known as the medical “standard of care”.  A patient has the right to expect that those health care professionals who are treating them will deliver care that is consistent with these medical standards. If it can be shown that these standards were not adhered to, then medical negligence, or medical malpractice, can be claimed.

medical malpractice in boston
medical malpractice

Types of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice claims run the gamut from errors in medication to unsafe and dangerous surgical procedures, and simple negligence in nursing care. Some of the many types of medical malpractice claims that Shapiro Law Group P.C. litigates include:

  • Failure to diagnose or wrong diagnosis
  • Birth injuries
  • Obstetrical malpractice or obstetrical negligence
  • Brain injuries
  • Hospital negligence
  • Hospital-borne infections
  • Defective medical devices
  • Medication errors
  • Dangerous pharmaceuticals or medicines
  • Wrongful death
  • Failure to treat

Pursuing a Medical Malpractice Claim in Massachusetts

Beyond proving that the accepted standard of care was not adhered to, there are other considerations which must be taken into account before filing a medical malpractice claim in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Statute of Limitations

Massachusetts law provides a three-year window for the filing of a medical malpractice claim, as outlined in Massachusetts G.L C. 260, 4. This statute of limitations generally starts on the date the injury or negligence occurred. However, there are exceptions. If, for example, the malpractice was not reasonably knowable, the start of the three-year period begins on the date the malpractice became reasonably knowable to the injured party. Cases involving retained objects (such as medical sponges, surgical instruments, or other items left inside the body after surgery) may be pursued up to seven years after the incident in question. Finally, cases involving children under the age of six may be litigated up to six years after the incident, but must be brought forward prior to the child’s ninth birthday.

Claims Must be Vetted at a Tribunal

Massachusetts G.L. c. 231, 60b stipulates that before going to trial, all medical malpractice claims must be brought before a tribunal, consisting of a physician licensed in Massachusetts, an attorney authorized to practice in Massachusetts, and a justice of the superior court. If the tribunal rules against the plaintiff, they may still file charges for malpractice, but only after filing a $6,000 cash bond.

Medical Malpractice Damages

Massachusetts G.L c. 231, 60H, caps plaintiff damages at $500,000. The only exception to this cap is if the jury finds there is either a substantial and permanent loss or impairment of a bodily function, significant disfigurement, or if some other circumstance exists which warrants an award in excess of the cap. Massachusetts law also places a cap on charitable organizations which limits damages to $20,000, and this cap may apply in medical malpractice cases to hospitals that have this “charity” designation. However, as this would not apply to a negligent employee, a plaintiff may still sue the physician or health care provider directly for an amount in excess of this cap.

medical malpractice in boston massachusetts
medical malpractice in mass

Consult an Experienced Massachusetts Malpractice Attorney Today

Medical malpractice can change the life of a person in an instant. At the Shapiro Law Group, we have successfully represented many individuals who were the victims of malpractice.  We have not only settled many cases but have successfully tried many others to jury verdict.  We know the leading experts in their respective medical fields, and we are well versed on both medicine and the law, which is key to winning your claim.   To get the proper compensation for medical malpractice errors in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, make sure you consult the  Shapiro Law Group. In addition to your medical expenses, you may be entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering you likely had to endure. Call our firm today at (339) 309-1188 for a free consultation.

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