Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Laws

Noneconomic damages are limited to $500,000 unless it is determined that there is a substantial or permanent loss or impairment of a bodily function or substantial disfigurement or other special circumstances. The statute of limitations is three years after the cause of action accrues but not later than seven years after the incident (foreign body claims excepted). For minors, if under age 6, then the claim must be filed by the 9th birthday but nonetheless must be filed within seven years from the incident. There is joint and several liability. Attorney fees may not exceed 40% of the first $150,000, one-third of the next $150,000, 30% of the next $200,000, and 25% of the amount in excess of $500,000 (with certain other specified considerations). There is no provision for periodic payments. A tribunal consisting of a judge, a licensed physician, and a licensed attorney determines if there is sufficient evidence of medical malpractice. The testimony of witnesses and the tribunal’s decision are admissible at trial. There is no requirement for an affidavit or certificate of merit.

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