To protect your safety in response to COVID-19, we are offering the ability to meet with us via telephone or video conference.
When it comes to different types of lawsuits, medical malpractice lawsuits may be some of the more complicated. It's important to be able to recognize when you might have a medical malpractice case on your hands, and more importantly, what the parameters for a suit are within the state of Montana. As with all civil law, every state is different, and Montana has its own specific set of rules and regulations surrounding medical malpractice. But just because they're complex doesn't mean you should shy away from seeking damages you may be entitled to. To make sure you're fully informed, let's dive into the medical malpractice laws in Montana.
When filing a medical malpractice lawsuit within the state of Montana, it's first important to be aware of the statutes of limitation that apply. In general, the statute of limitation for medical malpractice is two years. Statutes of limitation is a big phrase that simply refers to the amount of time you have to file a suit after the incident has occurred. It can also refer to the amount of time you have to file a suit once you have become reasonably aware of the damage caused by such an incident. For example, if you underwent surgery three years ago and began to have related complications within the last year, you would still be able to file a suit, as you are filing within a two-year timeframe from when you became reasonably aware of the damages caused.
When it comes to compensation, this part of the process is also less cut and dry than most civil suits. Unlike other areas of law, there are certain caps you need to be aware of when it comes to medical malpractice that apply to non-economic damages. Although these caps may be unconstitutional, they have not been challenged. Non-economic damages refer to any complications or problems that were caused as a result of medical malpractice, but aren't directly related to income or medical expenses. These are more abstract and vary from case to case. Non-economic damages could include pain and suffering, physical and emotional, degradation of the quality of life, overall induced stress, disfigurement, and more.
When it comes to damages for these sort of inflictions, the cap set by the state of Montana is $250,000. This cap does not apply to economic damages, which would be a separate compensation. Economic damages might include lost wages from time you had to take off work, past medical expenses, future medical expenses, and other financial losses that are provable in court.
Filing your medical malpractice suit is also done a little differently than most civil cases. The first step is filing your case with the Montana Medical Legal Panel. After filing an application for a review of your claim, a hearing will be scheduled to discuss your case. This part of the process looks a lot more like most civil cases. A hearing is held, upon which witness testimony is submitted, each side (the plaintiff and the defendant) presents its case, and the Panel deliberates. Regardless of how the Panel rules, you are still able to file your case in court.
We know that the medical malpractice process can be intimidating, but it's no reason not to pursue a valid case in which you have been the victim of malpractice. At Cok Kinzler, our team of experts is well-versed in medical malpractice law and believes in walking our clients through the process in a way that simplifies, informs, and empowers them. If you're interested in talking more about a potential medical malpractice suit, please reach out to us. We are ready to help.