Every day, many people in Massachusetts and elsewhere trust and rely on medical professionals. These individuals place their health in the hands of trusted medical professionals. In circumstances when a patient has been harmed by the negligence or carelessness of a medical professional, however, both the patient and the patient’s family may wonder what legal options are available to help with the damages they have suffered.

Medical malpractice is an area of the law that seeks to protect patients who have been wrongfully harmed by doctors and other medical professionals. This includes both wrongful death and personal injury claims and circumstances. Claims for personal injury and wrongful death, such as in medical malpractice situations, are governed by the concept of negligence. Medical professionals are required to exercise the same amount of care as other medical professionals in their field and area of practice. When a medical professional fails to do so, the medical professional may be negligent and liable to victims for damages suffered.

Victims of medical malpractice may be victims of a failure to diagnose a medical condition; a worsened condition; treatment errors; disability; or death. The harm from medical malpractice may result in medical bills, an inability to work and earn a living, physical and emotional struggles and pain and suffering damages. Because of this, a claim for medical malpractice may provide relief for the physical, financial and emotional harm and challenges victims of medical negligence often face.

Depending on the circumstances, compensation for damages may be available from different parties, including the doctor or medical professional, insurers and, depending on the relationship between the medical professional and the hospital, the hospital as well. Because there are important steps to take, and deadlines to meet, it is essential to carefully understand the options available to victims of medical malpractice.

Source: Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute, “Negligence,” Accessed Nov. 23, 2014