When a regular person breaches the standard of care owed to you, this breach is referred to as negligence; when a professional, such as a doctor, breaches the standard of care owed to you, it’s call malpractice. In Massachusetts, those who are victims of a healthcare provider’s malpractice reserve the right to bring forth a medical malpractice claim for damages against said provider. However, in order for such a claim to be successful, the affected individual must prove that the doctor breached the standard of care owed to them, and that the breach was the direct cause of harm. This can be difficult to do, and often requires working with a skilled legal professional.
Defining the Medical Standard of Care Owed to a Patient
Before a plaintiff in a medical malpractice claim can prove that their doctor breached the standard of care owed to them, they must first establish what that standard of care was. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has held that a general doctor is to be held to the same standard of care and skill of the “average qualified practitioner,” and that a specialist should be held to the same standard of care of the average practitioner of the specialty. Typically, the “standard of care” is defined as the same level of care that a medical professional of similar background and education would exhibit in the same circumstance.
Proving a Breach of the Standard of Care
Proving that the standard of care that was owed to you was breached can be challenging. In order to prove this by a preponderance of the evidence (the legal standard in a medical malpractice case), you will need to obtain expert testimony. In fact, in Massachusetts, plaintiffs in medical malpractice claims are required to submit an “offer of proof” at a tribunal after the lawsuit is filed. The tribunal will consist of an attorney, a medical professional from the same field as the defendant, and a judge. Before the lawsuit can proceed, the tribunal must issue a decision regarding whether there is enough evidence to justify a claim of malpractice, or whether the plaintiff’s case is “merely an unfortunate medical result” (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 231 Section 60B).
Our Medical Malpractice Lawyers Can Help
At the office of Tetzel Law, LLC, we know that there are few things that are more shocking than suffering harm at your physician’s hands. If you think that you have a medical malpractice case, we will thoroughly investigate your case and gather the evidence that’s necessary to prove a breach of the medical standard of care. We will represent you at all phases of the process, and aggressively advocate for your right to compensation.
To schedule a free consultation with our Massachusetts medical malpractice lawyers today, please call our law firm directly at (617) 933-3858 or send us a message today.