Are punitive damages allowed in MA against a doctor that was grossly negligent? One of my friends just had surgery and doctor messed it up badly.
Sorry about your friend's situation. Punitive damages are usually awarded in cases of willful or malicious conduct and are intended to punish the defendant. Such damages are not allowed in Massachusetts, except in certain cases where they are authorized by statute. Medical malpractice cases are usually all about negligence, and it is hard to imagine a situation that would warrant punitive damages. However, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 229, Section 2 does allow for punitive damages in medical malpractice cases where a death is caused by willful, wanton or reckless behavior. Fortunately for your friend, the malpractice did not result in his death, so this statute is not applicable. In any case, your friend may be entitled to several other types of damages, so please encourage him/her to talk to an attorney. Good luck. Follow this link for my tips on finding a Massachusetts medical malpractice lawyer.