When Does a Case Become Medical Malpractice in MN?
Medical malpractice is something that occurs everywhere, and each state has its own laws surrounding medical malpractice claims, including Minnesota.
Many people struggle with understanding whether or not their case falls under the umbrella of medical malpractice. What is important to understand about this is that it’s not necessarily what happened to you. First, you’ll want to get clear on the elements that the law defines as “medical malpractice”, then determine if those are met in your case.
Here’s what you need to know about medical malpractice in Minnesota.
What Is Medical Malpractice in Minnesota?
Medical malpractice is defined by the laws in the state as actions taken by a former or current patient of a medical practitioner for alleged mistakes, errors, failure to care, or malpractice. Healthcare providers covered under this law include:
- Treatment facilities
- Other healthcare professionals
Basically, this encompasses any action or failure to take action by a healthcare provider that breaks with their standard duty of care. If you are sick or were injured as a result of what you believe to be medical malpractice, then it’s best to contact an experienced attorney right away.
What Needs to Be Proven?
In a medical malpractice case, in order to be successful in your suit, you need to prove that medical malpractice did, in fact, take place in your situation. It is the job of the person bringing the lawsuit, also called the plaintiff, to showcase evidence that the actions of the healthcare provider meet the legal definition of medical malpractice under Minnesota law.
To do this, you must show that these elements existed in the case:
A Relationship Existed
A health care provider must have owed a duty of care to someone. In order for them to be legally obligated to do so, a relationship must have existed between you and the provider or facility when the incident took place.
They Breached Their Duty
Once it is established that there was a duty to care, you have to show that the provider acted outside of established standards of care in the medical field.
The Breach Caused Damages
After it’s shown that the duty of care was in fact breached, you must then demonstrate that the breach led to the injuries for which you are seeking damages. In other words, the action of the defendant has to have directly caused the illness or injury.
You Have Real Damages Due to the Malpractice
The final element: You must show that you are suffering from specific damages due to the illness or injury. This includes things such as medical bills and injuries, as well as pain and suffering.
How Long Do You Have to File?
In Minnesota, you have four years from the date of the malpractice to bring a medical malpractice suit. However, the longer you wait, the harder it will be to bring a successful case. So make sure to seek out an attorney as soon as you suspect you were injured or made ill due to medical malpractice.
What If You’re Partially to Blame?
In some circumstances, the medical provider may not be completely to blame for your injuries. In Minnesota, you can still recover some damages under the comparative fault laws in the state. The court can assign a percentage of blame to each party in the case, and then the damages are reduced in accordance with that percentage.
About the Author:
A lifelong Minnesotan, founding partner Ronald R. Envall has spent his entire legal career fighting for the little guy, focusing on workers’ compensation, Social Security, and personal injury cases. He has been recognized by SuperLawyers as a Top Rated attorney in Duluth, placing him in the top 5 percent of all workers comp lawyers across the state. In his free time, Mr. Envall serves on the boards of several area government and nonprofit organizations and is a member of the Minnesota Association for Justice, which supports consumer rights.