Medical Malpractice Statutes

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 112 § 12C. This statute provides complete immunity for doctors and nurses who immunize patients pursuant to a public health program. Thus, even if the doctor commits medical malpractice in immunizing you, the doctor will not be liable so long as the doctor immunized you as part of a public health program. Headley v. Berman, 419 Mass. 624 (1995); Marsh v. Bulotsky, 408 Mass. 1002 (1990).

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 93A § 9. This is the Massachusetts’ most important consumer protection statute. Chapter 93A prohibits “unfair and deceptive acts” in commercial transactions and allows for a consumer to obtain damages three times the amount of the actual damages, as well as attorney’s fees and costs, if she prevails.

Claims under 93A are so common and the statute so far-reaching that the Supreme Judicial Court once joked in an opinion that the way that you can tell the difference between a criminal case in Massachusetts and a civil case is that the civil case contains a 93A claim. Nevertheless, the Supreme Judicial Court has made abundantly clear that “mere negligence” is not enough to support a claim under 93A. Thus, medical malpractice, which is a species of negligence, is not enough to make out a claim under 93A. However, a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case can bring a claim under 93A if the claim arises from the “entrepreneurial and business aspects of providing medical services,” such as advertising and billing. Davis v. Petros, 442 Mass. 274 (2004). Thus, if the doctor who treated you advertises for patients and his advertisements are somehow dishonest or deceptive, you can bring a 93A claim against your doctor in addition to any medical malpractice claim that you might have.

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