The Associated Press has reported that doctors who make medical errors while treating patients in the State of Massachusetts are now required to disclose the mistakes and are permitted to apologize without facing lawsuits under a new law that overhauls Massachusetts’ handling of medical malpractice cases.  There is support both from physicians and lawyers saying this will hopefully avoid unnecessary lawsuits and of course focus improvement on the safety and care of patients.  This law is set to establish a 182 day “cooling off” period so that both sides can reach a settlement.  The plaintiff and defendant will be required to exchange information and the healthcare providers will have to acknowledge a mistake without it being deemed an admission of liability.  The law also is set to increase the maximum amount of compensation from $20,000 to $100,000 for an individual who is “legitimately injured by a non-profit hospital” and not a physician or nurse.  This appears to be an unprecedented event, and it is hopeful that this will avoid what has been termed “defensive medicine” and allow practitioners to engage in evidence based medicine.   Such thought process came from Dr. Alan Woodward,  the former President of the Massachusetts Medical Society.  
Jeff Krawitz is a Shareholder in Stark & Stark’s Yardley, PA office, specializing in Accident & Personal Injury Law. For more information, please contact Mr. Krawitz.