Although you rely on your doctors to properly treat your medical conditions, medical errors occur every day. In many cases, the injuries suffered from acts of medical malpractice can be severe, permanently disabling, or even fatal. In these situations, you might be entitled to compensation from the parties responsible for your injuries.
Taking immediate steps to understand and protect your legal rights can be crucial. Deadlines exist under state law for pursuing medical malpractice claims, so consulting with a Boston medical malpractice lawyer might help. Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC, at (800) 683-5111 to get more information about how we might be able to assist you.
Elements of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice claims result from negligence by a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider. When these professionals are careless or reckless in giving you medical care in a way that causes you injuries, you might be able to claim compensation for your injuries. Medical malpractice can take many forms, ranging from failing to diagnose cancer or other diseases that need treatment, to giving patients incorrect medications.
All negligence claims, including medical malpractice claims, require proof of specific elements. Healthcare providers owe a legal duty of care to their patients. They must treat patients with the level of care that is reasonable and standard, given their circumstances. If their standard of care falls below that of another healthcare provider faced with the same situation, they may be negligent.
Furthermore, injury victims must show that the negligence of the doctor or medical provider directly caused their injuries. They also must show proof of their losses or damages resulting from those injuries. Through a medical malpractice claim, the injured parties may be able to hold the negligent healthcare providers accountable for the damages or losses that they have suffered.
For a free legal consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer serving Boston, call 800-641-8998
The Statute of Limitations for Filing Medical Malpractice Claims
All states have statutes of limitations or deadlines for filing lawsuits, including medical malpractice claims. These deadlines differ according to state laws and the type of lawsuit involved. In Massachusetts, injury victims generally have three years from the date of their injuries to file their claims in court, according to General Law Chapter 260 § 4. The law provides some exceptions to this deadline, so you may need to file a malpractice claim more quickly, or you may have a longer period in which to file.
In some cases, you may not reasonably be aware of medical negligence because your injuries are not immediately apparent. The “discovery rule” states that the three-year statute of limitations does not begin to run until you are aware or reasonably should be aware of the malpractice.
However, the law also imposes a statute of repose in medical malpractice cases. Unless the medical malpractice involved leaving foreign objects inside your body, you must file your medical malpractice claim no more than seven years from the date that the incident occurred.
A different statute of limitations also exists for children who are under age six at the time of the malpractice. Under General Law Chapter 231, § 60D, these children have until their ninth birthdays to bring their claims, for a maximum of seven years following the date of the malpractice.
A Boston medical malpractice lawyer from Ben Crump Law, PLLC can help ensure that you comply with all relevant statutes of limitations that affect your medical malpractice claim.
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Damages in Medical Malpractice Claims
General Law Chapter 231, § 60F outlines the damages or types of compensation that you can ask for in a medical malpractice claim. These damages differ according to the nature and extent of the injuries, but may include any or all the following:
- Reasonable expenses for medical, surgical, or rehabilitative services
- Lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and other financial losses
- Pain and suffering, loss of companionship, embarrassment, and other general damages
- Substantial or permanent loss or impairment of a bodily function or substantial disfigurement
Caps on Damages for Pain and Suffering
Like many state laws, Massachusetts places limits or caps on the general damages that individuals can receive in medical malpractice actions or damages for pain and suffering.
More specifically, General Law Chapter 231, § 60H states that injury victims may not receive more than $500,000 in general damages unless they have suffered substantial or permanent loss or impairment of a bodily function, substantial disfigurement, or other special circumstances.
Collateral Source Rule
Under General Law Chapter 231, § 60G, damages awarded in a medical malpractice claim may decrease by any payments that the injured parties have received from collateral sources. A common example of a collateral source is a health insurance company. If the health insurance company pays for medical bills, for instance, then the total judgment of damages may decrease by the amount that the health insurance company paid.
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Learn About Options for Legal Action
Medical malpractice claims can be complex and lengthy. These cases typically involve the consideration of evidence from other doctors or medical providers, as well as extensive medical records. As a result, determining whether you have a valid claim for medical malpractice is not always an easy or straightforward task. With the help of a Boston medical malpractice lawyer, you might be able to make better-informed decisions about your situation.
You likely have many questions about your situation and whether you can pursue compensation for your injuries. Calling Ben Crump Law, PLLC, at (800) 683-5111 may allow you to get answers to your important questions. You also can receive a review of the circumstances that led to your injuries and an assessment of any legal claims that you may have.
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