Frequently Asked Questions
What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider departs from the accepted standard of care and this departure harms the patient.
What is the standard of care?
The standard of care is what a reasonable healthcare provider would do under the circumstances.
If the healthcare provider departs from the accepted standard of care, do I have a case?
That depends. If you suffered harm due to the malpractice, then you have a case. If you were not harmed, but only put at risk of harm that never occurred, then you do not have a case. For example, if a healthcare provider prescribed the wrong drug to you and you caught the error before taking the drug, then there is no case. If you took the drug and suffered harm, you would have a case.
What does it cost to consult with or hire an attorney?
Most Minnesota medical malpractice lawyers will consult with you about a possible case for free. If the lawyer agrees to handle your case, most lawyers will not charge you a fee unless a recovery is made for you. The fee will be based upon a percentage of the amount recovered for you. In addition to a fee, the lawyer will also be reimbursed from the amount recovered for any out-of-pocket expenses incurred to pursue the case.
How long do I have after the malpractice to bring suit?
The time limit for Minnesota medical malpractice cases will vary. Adults who survive the malpractice generally have four years from the date of the malpractice to commence suit. Minor children who survive malpractice have a longer period because the running of the four-year limitation period is suspended for a period of up to seven years or until the minor turns age 19, whichever period is shorter. If malpractice causes the death of a patient, then, regardless of whether the patient was an adult or minor, the lawsuit must be commenced within three years of the date of death and within four years of the date of the malpractice. (See Time Limits page). Determining the statute of limitations in a particular case, however, requires a detailed analysis of the facts and the applicable law as there are some exceptions that may apply to the general rules outlined above.
Why is it so hard for me to find an attorney to handle my case?
There can be many reasons:
Suffering a complications from medical treatment does not necessarily mean that malpractice occurred; sometimes bad things happen and nobody is at fault
The harm you suffered may not be significant enough to justify the high cost and risk of pursuing a medical malpractice case
The time period to bring suit has expired, or will expire very soon and not give the attorney enough time to investigate the merits of the case and obtain expert support prior to commencing a lawsuit
If I have a case, what compensation am I entitled to receive?
As a general rule, if you were harmed by malpractice you can recover damages for your past and future medical expenses, past and future wage loss, and past and future pain, suffering and disability resulting from the malpractice. If the case is for wrongful death of a family member, you can recover damages for medical bills and past and future wage loss caused by the malpractice, funeral and burial expenses, and the value of the loss of the relationship, which is the largest harm in wrongful death cases.
If you have questions about whether you or a loved one may have a case, contact Bill Maddix, your Minnesota medical malpractice lawyer, for a free consultation.
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