Limits set on Medical Malpractice cases in Massachusetts

Getting seriously injured because of the negligence of a healthcare professional or facility in Massachusetts may mean that all applicable medical expenses will be covered if a law suit is successful, but compensation for other damages is limited. State law places a cap of $500,000 on non-economic damages in medical malpractice, a common enough provision in many state laws. The cap is not set in stone however as there are exceptions that are built into the statute.

Non-economic damages are often much harder to quantify than economic damages which are supported by hospital bills, medical records, life-care projections, loss of income from lost days of work, and similar expenses. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are highly subjective because the extent of the damage may vary in a case to case basis. They include pain and suffering that a patient goes through as consequence of serious injury, loss of enjoyment, and psychological problems from resulting disfigurements, scars, and disabilities.

The law allows for exceptions in special circumstances, such as when the injury results in substantial disfigurement or permanent disability that would justify an award of more than $500,000. A skilled Massachusetts medical malpractice attorney will know when an exception applies to a particular case and provide the necessary documentation to put in a just claim.

Compensation that is rarely awarded in Massachusetts is that of punitive damages. It is different from non-economic damages in that it is designed to punish the defendant rather than compensate the plaintiff. However, if a patient dies because of an act of negligence by the healthcare professional or facility, then the attorney may be justified in suing for punitive damages.

It all sounds very simple, but nothing is further from the truth. Medical malpractice cases rarely prosper without the help of competent legal representation, and even then it can take years to get to trial, let alone a resolution. For any real chance of success in getting just compensation, retaining a Massachusetts medical malpractice attorney is essential.

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