There is no cap or limit on the amount of damages in a medical malpractice suit in Maine, however, the amount attorneys can collect is limited. Unless all parties in a suit agree otherwise, all malpractice claims must be first filed with a pre-litigation panel. This panel will review the complaints and either recommend the withdrawal of the claim or the resolution through settlement or trial.
In Maine a patient has 3 years from the date of the medical care or incident to file a claim for medical malpractice. One exception to the statute is in the case of a foreign object left in after surgery, which allows for 3 years from the date of discovery of the foreign object or the date it reasonably should have been discovered. Another exception is in cases involving minors. Claims filed on behalf of minors must be filed within 6 years after the alleged act or omission or 3 years after the patient reaches the age of maturity.
Maine, like most states, experienced what many call a medical malpractice crisis or emergency in the mid-1970s. As a result legislation was enacted in the 70s and 80s to help make the costs of malpractice insurance affordable to physicians. The market has had its ups and downs since then with an especially difficult time in the mid-80s and again in the mid-90s. Today the market is stable with relatively low malpractice insurance premiums and no significant rate changes since 2011. There are still fewer choices for coverage than many of the surrounding states, which is due in part to the large share of the market provided by one company. According to recent reports medical malpractice claims have been reduced by more than 50% in the last ten years.