Medical Malpractice Claims in Massachusetts – Statue of Limitations

Medical malpractice is when a healthcare professional causes injury or death to a patient. Each state has a statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you want to file such a lawsuit in Massachusetts, then there are four important time limitations you must know.

1. Three-Year Deadline

Massachusetts General Law Chapter 260, Section 4 states a victim of medical malpractice must file a lawsuit within three-years of the incident. In most cases, failing to file within the deadline means you lose the right to sue the healthcare professional. However, there are some exceptions to this rule and you should consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

2. Discovery Rule Exception

The discovery rule is an exception to the three-year statute of limitations. This rule applies if there was no reasonable way to discover the malpractice before the deadline. Health problems caused by faulty medical treatment might take years to manifest. If you can prove your health problems are due to medical malpractice, then you can possibly file a lawsuit even if the standard deadline has passed.

3. Children and Medical Malpractice

If the malpractice occurred before the child’s sixth birthday, then the lawsuit must occur before the child’s ninth birthday. This rule changes if the injury occurred at birth. In that case, the lawsuit must be filed by the child’s seventh birthday.

4. Seven-Year Limit

Massachusetts has a rule called the statute of repose. This statute states seven years is the limit for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. No matter when the malpractice occurred or when you began experiencing problems – seven years is the absolute deadline to file a lawsuit. The only exception is if you learn a foreign object, such as a surgical instrument, is inside your body.


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