Know the procedure before filing a medical malpractice suit

When Massachusetts residents approach a doctor for a diagnosis and treatment, they often forget that doctors are only human. Medical professionals are capable of making mistakes just like anyone else, but a surgical error or doctor error has the potential to ruin the life of the person who came to the doctor for help. When a patient walks away from their medical experience with a worsened medical condition, they may be able to file a medical malpractice case against the negligent medical professionals involved.

However, it is important to know that there are certain legalities that must be followed before a malpractice case may proceed. First of all, the health care provider must be given 182 days’ notice in writing before the suit can be filed. The written notice must include the factual basis for the claim, the standard of care that the patient claims was breached, how the patient believes it was breached and what should have been done to adhere to the appropriate standard. Additionally, it should also include how the breach of care was the proximate cause of the injury and who all the patient intends to notify in relation to the claim.

The health care provider then has 150 days to reply to the notice, and that reply also must be in writing. Included in the reply should be the factual basis for the defense and how the provider was or was not compliant with the applicable standard of care. It should also include how the provider believes the alleged negligent act did or did not proximately cause the patient’s damages. During the notice period, the health care provider can inform the claimant in writing that they do not intend to settle the claim and if this happens the patient may begin the action.

The aim of this law is to encourage out-of-court settlements, which is why many people may think they do not need legal assistance in filing these notices. However, showing that someone was supposed to be adhering to a standard of care and how it was supposed to be adhered to can require expert testimony and it might help to have a legal professional on one’s side to pursue the compensation they deserve.


FindLaw Network