Medical malpractice law in Maine is based on the comparative negligence doctrine and has provisions for binding arbitration.
Below you will find a table outlining the general provisions foe medical malpractice suits and tort law in Maine. For more detail, each element is discussed futher in the article below. However, no amount of general information can beat the advice of a personal injury attorney wehn it comes to your specific case.
Maine Medical Malpractice at a Glance
Maine State Tort Law Statute of Limitations Three years from date of injury
Damage Award Limits There are only limits in wrongful death cases
Joint Defendant Liability There is no separation of liability Expert Witness No provisions defined
One third of first $100,000
25% of next $100,000
20% of damages over $200,000.
Statute of Limitations
In Maine, medical malpractice law stipulates that your case must be brought within three years of the alleged malpractice. There is no discovery provision. In foreign object cases timing starts when the injury is discovered, or should have reasonably been. Actions on behalf of minors must be brought within 6 years of the malpractice or 3 years after the minor reaches adulthood.
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Comparative Negligence in Maine
The state follows a form of the modified comparative negligence doctrine, under which a claimant's actions are barred if they are found to be at equal fault. This state does not need a jury to reduce the damages, but rather must reduce the amount a 'just and equitable' amount. It doesn't have to be in proportion to the fault and a jury can reduce the damages by more than half without implying no suit should have been filed.
Joint and Several Liability
Tortfeasors in Maine can be liable for the entire judgment even if the fault is not entirely theirs. Defendants can request, however, that a jury determine their percentage of fault. It may not be binding though.
Expert Testimony in Maine
The state doesn't need a claimant to include an expert affidavit to the complaint, but expert testimony is required to establish a prima facie case of negligence.
There is no cap on damages in the state of Maine, but non-economic wrongful death damages are limited to 150,000 and punitive damages to $75,000.
Arbitration in Maine
A complaint needs to be filed with a pre-litigation screening panel. Before any medical malpractice claim can be filed in Maine.
The screening panel requirement has two functions, one is to encourage the early resolution of claims and the other is to facilitate the withdrawal of unsubstantiated claims. The pre-trial screening process can be waived, but only if all parties agree.
All involved parties are allowed to agree in writing to submit the claim to binding arbitration. They can also resort to a combined method wherein a court will hear some of the issues and the arbitration panel will hear the rest. The panel isn't empowered to decide dispositive legal issues.
The panel's findings, and any disclosures made at the hearing, are considered confidential and therefore must not be used later in subsequent litigation, except in cases where the arbitration panel decides unanimously in favor of either the plaintiff or the defendant.