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Medical malpractice in Montana

Montana residents may benefit from learning more about how state laws govern civil action pertaining to medical malpractice liability. Under Section 16, 'The administration of justice", of the Montana Constitution, victims injured by medical malpractice may be entitled to full legal redress, without sale, denial or delay. In order to amend medical malpractice legislation, the actions must be approved by the Equal Protection Clauses of the U.S. and Montana constitutions.

In an effort towards minimizing the amount of medical malpractice claims to only include the meritorious, the Montana Medical Legal Panel Act was passed in 1977. A medical malpractice claim is submitted to a panel of three attorneys and three health care providers for approval before it's filed in court. Their decision is not binding and is prohibited from being used as evidence in trial. The statute of limitations, set forth in 1977, requires civil action for a medical malpractice claim to commence within three years of the procedure or three years of discovering the injury.

In 1999, the state legislature for filing limitations were upheld on the basis of lowering the costs of medical malpractice insurance and ensuring the affordability and availability of health care services. According to the statute, medical malpractice claims for children under 4 years old must be filed before the victim's death or eighth birthday, whichever occurs first.

However, there is a hard limit set forth that requires victims to file medical malpractice claim within five years of the original procedure. Victims who need help filing a malpractice claim or understanding certain amendments may benefit from contacting legal counsel. Lawyers may be able to investigate the claim and help the victim obtain an adequate amount of restitution that can help offset some of the resulting damages.

Source: Montana.gov, "Montana Medical Malpractice Liability Law", John MacMaster, September 19, 2014

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