Boston Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Statute of Limitations for a Medical Malpractice Claim in Massachusetts

February 21, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

Being hurt, harmed, or injured always causes trauma, but when you are harmed or made ill due to a medical professional’s negligence or failure to treat your illness or injury with the accepted standards of medical care it’s even more distressing. You trusted your doctors to adhere to the highest medical standards to prioritize your health, healing, and safety. If a medical professional you depended on for healthcare actually caused you harm, you may end up spending your time and money on further medical treatments to undo the damage. While you’re struggling to recover, you may not feel up to facing the commitment of taking legal action. You may even find yourself with long-term or permanent medical consequences due to the doctor’s negligence. 

Once you’re well enough to consider trying to recover your damages through a medical malpractice claim is it too late for a lawsuit? What is the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice claim in Massachusetts?  

Time Limits for Medical Malpractice Claims in Massachusetts

While Colorado law acknowledges that injury victims need time to prioritize their health and recovery after any injury, including one from medical malpractice, the law also recognizes the importance of filing legal claims while the evidence is still fresh, readily available, and before testimony can degrade with time. The law also seeks to protect defendants from facing long-term threats of legal action. The state addresses these considerations by setting limits on the amount of time injury victims have to file a claim, including medical malpractice claims.

In Massachusetts, injury victims have 3 years after the incident in which to file a claim for medical malpractice. In most cases, attempting to file a lawsuit after the 3-year time limit results in the case being tossed out of court.

What Is the Best Time to File a Medical Malpractice Claim?

While the law allows up to 3 years to file a medical malpractice claim in Massachusetts, it benefits your chances of a successful claim to file sooner, while evidence and testimony are still fresh. However, it isn’t always wise to file immediately after an injury if it’s still too soon to understand the consequences of the malpractice including all of the necessary medical treatments and procedures you may have to undergo and the full scope of the economic damages.

You are ready to contact an attorney and file a claim when your case meets the following requirements:

  • That a patient/client relationship is proven to exist between the medical professional and the malpractice victim
  • That the medical professional was negligent or failed to adhere to the standard of treatment another reasonable professional would have applied in the same circumstances
  • That the victim of the malpractice suffered economic damages as a result of their injury

Once a case meets these criteria, a medical malpractice claim has the maximum chance of a successful outcome.

Exceptions to the Massachusetts Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims

Massachusetts medical malpractice laws include a “discovery rule.” This rule states that the statute of limitations doesn’t begin until the date the victim discovers the injury. For example, you may not realize that a piece of gauze or surgical equipment was left inside a body cavity until months or even years later when it causes damage or infection. The clock doesn’t begin ticking on medical malpractice claims until the victim learns, or should reasonably have learned about the injury and its cause.

When a child under age six is injured by medical malpractice, parents have until the child turns nine years old to file a malpractice claim in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts places a deadline of 7 years to file claims even in cases of delayed discovery or for injury victims under age 6. 

Contact an experienced Boston medical malpractice attorney to evaluate your case if you’ve been injured due to medical malpractice.