Medical Malpractice FAQs

How do I know if I have a "good" medical malpractice case?

In layman's terms, in order to have a "good" medical malpractice case, you must be able to prove the doctor or another medical professional made a mistake and that the mistake has caused you significant harm. In legal terms, there must have been a "deviation from the appropriate standard of care" (the mistake) and that deviation must be proven to be a substantial contributing factor in causing significant harm ("causation" and "damages").

In medical malpractice cases, it is very hard for a lay person to know if he or she has a viable medical malpractice claim. Experienced medical malpractice attorneys often know right away if you have a case that is worth pursuing, but in all medical malpractice cases in Massachusetts, Vermont or New York, the attorney must consult with medical experts and obtain support for your case from those medical experts. It is best to have your individual case reviewed by an experienced medical malpractice attorney who knows how to evaluate such cases.

Donovan O'Connor & Dodig, LLP's, attorneys have handled medical malpractice cases throughout Massachusetts and Vermont, including Boston, Massachusetts; Springfield, Massachusetts; Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Burlington, Vermont; Rutland, Vermont and Bennington, Vermont. We also handle selected cases in New York and throughout New England.

How do I pay for an attorney in a medical malpractice case?

The attorneys at Donovan O'Connor & Dodig, LLP, work on a contingent fee basis which means that there are no upfront attorneys' fees charged to our clients. We charge no fee unless we win the case for our client. In most cases, we also pay all of the out-of-pocket costs associated with the case. These costs are typically repaid out of any settlement or judgment we achieve. Medical malpractice cases are typically very expensive and time-consuming, which is why you and your attorney must be sure you have a good case before you proceed.

How long do medical malpractice cases take?

Medical malpractice cases are usually very complicated cases and often stretch over a number of years. In Massachusetts state court, these cases typically take about three (3) years from the time the lawsuit is filed until the time of trial. In most courts in Vermont and upstate New York, the time frame is a little shorter. Of course, many cases are settled before trial.

What kinds of damages can be recovered in a medical malpractice case?

There are many types of damages that can be recovered in a medical malpractice case. These include, but are not limited to: the costs of medical treatment (both past and future); pain and suffering; disfigurement and disability; lost wages and lost ability to earn wages in the future. In some cases, spouses and children can also recover for the loss of the love, care, affection and companionship of a family member who was injured through medical malpractice. Different states have differing rules as to what types of damages may be recovered. Also, in some states, there are "caps" on certain elements of damages.

Who can be sued for medical malpractice?

Any medical professional or entity can be sued for medical malpractice, including, but not limited to: doctors; hospitals; surgeons; dentists; nurses; nursing homes and other health care providers.

How long do I have to bring my case against my medical provider?

Generally, medical malpractice claims must be brought within three years of the date of the malpractice in Massachusetts and Vermont. In Vermont, if someone has died as a result of medical malpractice such a claim must be filed within two years of the date of death. Under New York law, the general rule is that all medical malpractice claims must be brought within two and a half years of the date of the malpractice. However, there are numerous exceptions to these general rules depending on the type of malpractice or the age of the person injured. In those circumstances, the limitations period may be tolled to allow additional time to file a medical malpractice claim.

Advice from a qualified medical malpractice attorney is critical. If you believe you have a medical malpractice case, you should seek out an experienced medical malpractice attorney immediately so that he or she can advise you based on your individual circumstances whether the statute of limitations could pose a problem to your case.

Contact A Massachusetts Or Vermont Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured by medical malpractice or negligence, please call us at 413-358-4652 in Massachusetts or 802-681-4687 in Vermont, or contact us online for a free consultation with an experienced Massachusetts hospital negligence lawyer. We have conveniently located offices and other meeting locations throughout Western Massachusetts and Southern Vermont and regularly travel throughout the region to meet with clients.

All cases are handled on a contingent fee basis — you will not have to pay any attorneys' fees unless we win compensation in your case.

Note: This is an introductory overview of the law and procedure regarding medical malpractice cases. It is not intended to be used as specific legal advice for any individual and is no substitute for experience and expert advice from a qualified attorney in your state who can evaluate your individual case.