Although the healthcare and insurance industry is fond of saying that anyone can start a lawsuit, this is not true for Minnesota medical malpractice lawsuits. In 1986, the Minnesota legislature enacted Minn. Stat.145.682, which requires medical malpractice claimants to obtain expert support for the claim prior to commencement of suit. When the suit is commenced, an affidavit from the claimant's attorney must accompany the Summons and Complaint which verifies under oath that a qualified expert holds the opinion that the defendant departed from the accepted standard of care and caused injury to the patient. The only exception to this rule is when expert support could not reasonably be obtained prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations, in which case the lawsuit can be commenced but within 90 days thereafter the claimant's attorney must serve an affidavit verifying that a qualified expert holds the opinion that the defendant departed from the accepted standard of care and caused injury to the patient.
If you or a family member have been harmed by medical malpractice, it is important to contact a Minnesota medical malpractice lawyer so that there is sufficient time to investigate the merits of the case and obtain the requisite expert support for the case prior to commencement of suit. Medical malpractice cases are subject to a statute of limitations, and if the lawsuit is not commenced before the expiration of the limitation period, your claim can be barred regardless of its merits.
It takes time to investigate the merits of a potential malpractice case. Medical records must be obtained and oftentimes this can take several months. Once the records are obtained, they must be carefully studied and oftentimes review of medical literature is necessary to assess the merits of the case. If the case appears to be meritorious, the next step is to find appropriate medical experts to review the case and render opinions. This can be particularly time consuming as many medical experts do not do medical-legal consulting and of those that do many will assist physicians but not patients. Once experts have agreed to review the case, it can oftentimes take two to three months, sometimes longer, for the experts to study the voluminous records and render opinions.
The lesson here is not to wait too long before contacting a Minnesota medical malpractice lawyer if you believe that you or a family member has been harmed by medical malpractice.