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Massachusetts Law with Respect to Medical Malpractice

Proving Negligence

Massachusetts medical malpractice cases are a type of Massachusetts personal injury case for which the elements of proof remain the same as most Massachusetts personal injury cases. In Massachusetts medical malpractice cases, the Massachusetts injured victim needs to prove that the Massachusetts medical care provider was negligent, that but for this negligence the injury would not have occurred, and that the Massachusetts injured victim sustained damages as a result of the negligence. Although the elements are straightforward, malpractice cases require expert testimony from medical providers to establish the duty of care owed by the Massachusetts medical provider and how that duty was breached. Expert testimony may also be required to establish that the Massachusetts medical malpractice was the cause of the plaintiff's injuries. Other experts may also be necessary to testify concerning the severity and extent of damages.

Under Massachusetts law, a Massachusetts medical provider may claim that the Massachusetts patient was negligent as well, and that his or her negligence was a contributory cause of the injury. So long as the negligence of the Massachusetts injured victim is not greater than that of the defendants or the combined negligence of all of the defendants, the plaintiff may still recover some amount of money damages. In these cases, the damages award will be reduced proportionately by the contributory negligence of the patient.

Massachusetts Legal Theories of Medical Malpractice Liability

Massachusetts medical malpractice law follows the legal principles of Massachusetts joint and several liability as well as vicarious liability. Massachusetts joint and several liability is a term that means Massachusetts victims of Massachusetts medical negligence are allowed to recover the full judgment against any and all responsible defendants. For example, if a Massachusetts doctor, Massachusetts nurse and Massachusetts anesthesiologist were all negligent during a Massachusetts surgery and caused the Massachusetts patient injury, the patient could collect the entire amount of their awarded damages from one or all of the negligent parties. The legal premise of Massachusetts vicarious liability states that a Massachusetts employer is liable for the negligence of its employees, agents and servants if the person was negligent in the course of his or her employment. This means that Massachusetts medical corporations and Massachusetts hospitals are liable for the acts and omissions of their Massachusetts medical staff.

Damages in Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Cases

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, under Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 231, Sec. 60H, allows plaintiffs in Massachusetts medical malpractice cases to be eligible for compensation for their medical bills, rehabilitation expenses and lost wages. There is a cap of $500,000, however, on non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of companionship and embarrassment, except in limited exceptional cases. In cases where the jury finds that the injured Massachusetts victim suffered a substantial or permanent loss or impairment of a bodily function or substantial disfigurement, an exception to the Massachusetts damages cap can be made so as to not deprive the plaintiff of just compensation.

Massachusetts law also follows a variation of the collateral source rule with respect to compensatory damages in Massachusetts medical malpractice cases. This means that the defending Massachusetts physician or Massachusetts hospital can seek a reduction of a judgment if parts of the victim’s damages have been paid or will be paid by a collateral source. For example, if a Massachusetts health insurance company provides payment for medical bills and lost earnings, the Massachusetts defendant is usually entitled to reduce the judgment against them by the amounts covered by the health insurance company after subtracting the cost of the premiums. It is important to note that the collateral source rule in Massachusetts medical malpractice cases does not apply to certain federal programs or Massachusetts workers’ compensation cases.

Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Statutes of Limitations

Massachusetts is governed by statutes of limitations for Massachusetts medical negligence cases which restrict the time you have to file your Massachusetts medical malpractice claim. Generally, a Massachusetts medical malpractice case must be brought within three years of the date of injury. The three year time limitation begins to run according to what is known as the discovery rule. This means that if the malpractice is not known, then the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the Massachusetts plaintiff becomes aware of the injury or Massachusetts medical malpractice. There is still an absolute maximum amount of time in which a Massachusetts medical malpractice claim must be filed.

As soon as you believe that you have been injured by the negligence of a Massachusetts doctor, Massachusetts nurse or any other Massachusetts medical care provider, it is critical that you act immediately to protect your rights. The best way to do so is to consult with an experienced Boston, Massachusetts medical malpractice attorney or Boston, Massachusetts wrongful death attorneys. The knowledgeable and reliable Boston medical negligence law specialists at the Law Offices of Gilbert R. Hoy, Jr. and Affiliates are well versed in all aspects of Massachusetts medical malpractice law. Call our Boston medical malpractice lawyers or Boston wrongful death lawyers today for a free consultation at 617-787-3700 or email us at info@gilhoylaw.com.
If You or A Loved One Has Suffered a Serious Injury or Wrongful Death as a Result of Massachusetts Medical Malpractice, We Can Help. Call Our Boston, Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Lawyer Experts at 617-787-3700 or Email Our Massachusetts Medical Mistake Attorney Specialists at info@gilhoylaw.com.