Two Years Later - A Look at Massachusetts' Attempt to Reform Medical Malpractice

Marshall M. Raucci

In November of 2012, Massachusetts passed a new law aimed at reforming the initiation of medical malpractice lawsuits (full text here). The law, enacted as Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 231 §60L, imposed a six-month “cooling off” period on victims who claim to be injured by the medical malpractice of a doctor or nurse. As a result, before any person can file a lawsuit, the injured party is now required to send a “notice of intent” to sue, and then wait six months prior to filing the suit. Along with that notice, the victim is also required to provide the potential defendants with every fact and allegation to support their accusation of malpractice, including all of their medical records. The intended purpose of the law was to reduce the number of medical malpractice lawsuits brought by encouraging early communication between victims and responsible medical providers and, hopefully, a practical and efficient approach to resolution. While the law was well-intentioned, it begs the question of whether it is working as anticipated.

At Decof, Decof & Barry, P.C., we have been handling medical malpractice lawsuits for over 30 years. We anticipated the passage of §60L and have filed several medical malpractice lawsuits in Massachusetts since passage of the new law in 2012. We have not seen any early resolutions and have seen no data supporting that the new law helps get claims resolved. We believe our experience has been similar to other lawyers and firms handling such claims. The six-month waiting period can be seen as simply an additional delay in pursuing what often turns out to be a protracted legal battle, and many injured patients will suffer because of it.

Therefore, if you feel that you have been the victim of medical malpractice and are considering whether to hire a lawyer, you should pick an attorney or law firm that is familiar with the different legal requirements in each state. You should also select a law firm that won’t hesitate to file a suit if early settlement talks fail to resolve your case. At Decof, Decof & Barry, P.C., we invite you to contact us to discuss your potential medical malpractice case.

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