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State’s Supreme Judicial Court Rules that Massachusetts Medical Liability Lawsuit Can Include Wrongful Death Claim Despite Deadline’s Passing

In Sisson et al. v Lhowe et al., the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that a plaintiff can modifiya medical malpractice lawsuit to seek damages for wrongful death rather than personal injury even though the expiration date to make the claim has already passed. However, this change can only be made if the civil trial has not started, the original lawsuit was filed during the state’s allowed statute of limitations, and the liability allegations for wrongful death are the same as the ones for personal injury.

The Massachusetts medical malpractice case that the court ruled on was filed in 2006 prior to the death of Dawn Sisson from osteosarcoma. The complaint accused one of Dawn’s doctors of providing her with substandard care. Dawn died in 2007. A year later, the Massachusetts wrongful death claims were added to the lawsuit. This was after the 7 under the law allowed to file such a claim had passed.

In its 4-1 ruling, the state’s highest court overturned a lower court’s ruling throwing out the claims. It said that the wrongful death claims could be included because the circumstances surrounding the case were not in alignment with the reasons why the Legislature chose to have a law limiting how much time plaintiffs can seek such damages. The court also noted that the damages sought after and before Dawn’s passing were not very different in their amount or nature.

Massachusetts Medical Malpractice
Medical mistakes can cause serious injury, including death. Sometimes, a person who gets sick or hurt because of medical negligence may not pass away immediately. However, that doesn’t mean that the medical errors did not cause the death. Surviving loved ones should be allowed to obtain Massachusetts wrongful death recovery.

Lawsuit can be amended after deadline to include wrongful death, American Medical News, October 26, 2011
Sisson et al. v Lhowe et al. (PDF)


More Blog Posts:

Boston Wrongful Death Lawsuit Accuses Hospital and Wareham Hospital and Nurse of Massachusetts Medical Malpractice, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, September 24, 2011
$7M Boston Medical Malpractice Verdict Awarded in Newborn’s Massachusetts Wrongful Death, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, August 31, 2011
Framingham Woman Dies A Day After Undergoing Breast Augmentation Procedure, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, August 12, 2011
You should speak with an experienced Boston injury lawyer that understands the nature of medical negligence cases to find out if you have grounds for pursuing damages.