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Montana medical malpractice law

Under Montana law, there are specific limits on legal actions regarding medical malpractice cases. These limits are intended to clarify the definition of medical malpractice. They also establish time limits during which legal actions are permitted to take place.

Section 27-2-205 of the Montana Constitution defines medical malpractice as professional negligence, rendering services without consent or some type of error resulting in injury or death committed by a health care provider. The primary purpose for this section is the establishment of a statute of limitations regarding medical malpractice cases. According to the law, a legal action must begin within three years following the date the injury or death occurred. If the injury occurred but was not immediately discovered, the time limit begins on the date that the injury was discovered or should have reasonably been discovered.

There are some exceptions to the statute of limitations. The most notable exception deals with medical malpractice cases involving children. In cases that involve the injury or death or a minor under age four, the time limitations begin on the minor's eighth birthday or on the date of the minor's death. In some cases, the time limitation can be tolled, or temporarily suspended. The time limits can be tolled if a health care provider withholds important information from an injured patient or if an injured child does not have adequate supervision.

Medical malpractice cases revolve around time limits. Personal injury lawyers examine important dates in a malpractice case to determine if a lawsuit is possible. These attorneys may gather evidence from medical reports, third-party expert opinions and plaintiff testimony. By combining compelling evidence, a lawyer can attempt to convince a judge that a health care provider was guilty of negligence. If successful, this may result in a settlement.

Source: leg.mt.gov, "Montana Medical Malpractice Liability Law", October 21, 2014

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