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The Law of Medical Malpractice in North Dakota:
A Survey of Basic Considerations
Prior to filing a medical malpractice suit in North Dakota, a lawyer must explain to their clients about all other options for resolving the issue without going to court.
Statute of Limitations
A medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within 2 years of the injury. If an injury is found after its cause, the lawsuit must be filed within 2 years of the discovery. However, if it has been more than 6 years since the injury was caused, state law forbids a medical malpractice lawsuit from being filed. Wrongful death suits have to be filed no more than 2 years after the person has deceased.
People who are imprisoned or deemed legally insane have an exemption from the statute of limitations, but they must sue within a year of their disability ending. An exemption is also granted if the claimant can prove that the injury was fraudulently concealed.
Under the doctrine of modified comparative negligence, a person cannot sue for medical malpractice if he is equally or more at fault for his injury than all the others who helped cause it. If a person has a lesser degree of fault for his injury, he can still sue, but his monetary damages are reduced according to the degree of fault.
North Dakota does not recognize joint and several liabilities in medical malpractice lawsuits. Instead, each party can be held liable and financially responsible only for the degree of fault that they contributed to the injury.
Other important aspects of North Dakota medical malpractice law stipulate that:
- Courts can review compensatory damages over $250,000. Punitive damages are limited to $500,000.
- Attorney’s fees are not limited.
- If a hospital grants staff privileges who act negligently, the facility can be held liable for damages.
- Except in cases of obvious malpractice, claimants must get an expert opinion within 3 months of suing.
- State government is immune from medical malpractice lawsuits; however, smaller government entities are not.
- Expert witnesses do not have to meet any set requirements.