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Should I file a medical malpractice claim?

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, there were more than 7,000 claims of medical malpractice in Massachusetts over a five-year period ending in 2009. The causes of these cases vary from diagnostic errors to problems with medication. If you think you have suffered as a result of a physician’s or facility’s negligence, you may want to explore the possibility of filing a claim.

Medical negligence can happen at any time during your treatment, including:

  • During the diagnostic phase
  • During the development of your treatment plan
  • During treatment
  • During recovery

Beyond simply making a mistake, a claim needs to prove that the mistake led to further harm or a worsened condition, or “causation.” Your case will be evaluated based on whether or not the medical provider failed to meet the standard of care that you would have received had you gone to a different doctor or facility. A judge or court will also take into account the extent of the damage when determining the financial award.

Time is also a factor you should weigh when considering filing a lawsuit. In Massachusetts, you have three years to file a claim after you learn about the incident, according to the statute of limitations. However, if you do not discover that your injury has been a result of malpractice until seven years or longer after the fact, you cannot file a claim at all.

As the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law notes, Massachusetts has put a Medical Malpractice Tribunal in place in order to weed out claims that are not substantiated. In order to determine if your case has merit, you may want to contact another health care professional you can trust who can review the details. It is also a good idea to get in touch with an attorney, who can help you build your case and pursue the damages to which you are entitled. While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice.

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