How long do you have to sue for medical malpractice in Massachusetts?

Time is of the Essence: Understanding the Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice in Massachusetts

How Long Do You Have To Sue For Medical Malpractice in MA?

Medical malpractice cases can be complex and emotionally challenging. If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical negligence in Massachusetts, it’s essential to understand the time constraints within which you must file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations sets a specific deadline for initiating legal action against healthcare providers or institutions responsible for the malpractice. In this blog, we’ll delve into the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases in Massachusetts and the crucial importance of timely action.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice in Massachusetts?

The statute of limitations is a state law that restricts the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit. In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is generally three years from the date of the alleged malpractice or from the date when the malpractice should have reasonably been discovered. This means that you have three years from the time you became aware (or should have become aware) of the injury or harm caused by medical negligence to file a lawsuit.

The Discovery Rule

The “discovery rule” is a crucial exception to the standard statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases. According to this rule, the three-year countdown begins when the injury or harm resulting from medical malpractice is discovered, or when it should reasonably have been discovered. This allows victims of medical negligence to pursue legal action even if they were not immediately aware of the harm caused by the malpractice.

Statute of Repose

In addition to the standard statute of limitations and the discovery rule, Massachusetts has a statute of repose, which serves as an absolute deadline for medical malpractice lawsuits. The statute of repose imposes a maximum time limit of seven years from the date of the negligent act or omission. This means that regardless of when the injury was discovered, no medical malpractice claim can be filed after seven years from the date of the incident.

Special Rules for Minors

For cases involving minors who are victims of medical malpractice, the statute of limitations is slightly different. The standard three-year statute of limitations begins when the minor reaches the age of 18. However, the statute of repose still applies, limiting the time to file a lawsuit to seven years from the date of the alleged malpractice, regardless of the minor’s age at the time.

Importance of Timely Action

Failing to initiate a medical malpractice lawsuit within the applicable statute of limitations can have severe consequences. Once the statute of limitations has expired, you lose the legal right to seek compensation for your injuries, regardless of the merits of your case. This makes it crucial to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as you suspect medical negligence, ensuring that your case is filed within the allowed timeframe.

Medical malpractice cases are sensitive and time-sensitive matters. In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is three years from the date of the alleged malpractice, with a maximum of seven years from the date of the negligent act under the statute of repose. The discovery rule provides an exception, allowing victims to file a claim within three years of discovering the injury or harm caused by medical negligence. Understanding and adhering to these time constraints is essential to protect your rights and seek the compensation you deserve in the face of medical malpractice. If you believe you or a loved one has been a victim of medical negligence, consult with a skilled medical malpractice attorney at the earliest opportunity to ensure your case is pursued within the necessary timeframe.

If you have more questions on statue of limitations for medical malpractice in Massachusetts. Contact the offices of Sbrogna, Brunelle & Donius, LLP today. 508-809-7555.

How Long Do You Have To Sue For Medical Malpractice in MA?

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    We are excited to let you know that effective January 1, 2024, Attorneys Kevin Donius and Roger Brunelle of Sbrogna, Brunelle & Donius, LLP, along with our paralegals Nicole LeBlanc and Denise Geoghan, have joined forces with Tetzel Law, a Boston based firm specializing in cases involving personal injury, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence and abuse, and construction accidents.  We encourage you to visit Tetzel Law’s website at www.tetzellaw.com to learn more about the firm.  With Tetzel Law, we now have offices in Boston, Worcester, Woburn and Hingham.


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