Montana Medical Malpractice Lawyer

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Medical malpractice law, a form of tort law, is intended to provide compensation to a patient who suffers any injury, illness or harm resulting from professional negligence by a health care provider. This negligence must be found to deviate from accepted standards of practice in the medical community, and must cause an injury. Examples of medical malpractice include, but are not limited to:

Misdiagnoses of, or failure to diagnose, a disease or medical condition;
Failure to provide appropriate treatment for a medical condition;
Unreasonable delay in treating a diagnosed medical condition.

An injured patient can bring a medical malpractice action against any responsible licensed health care provider, including doctors, nurses, counselors, psychologists and psychotherapists, pharmacists and dentists.

Medical malpractice law is a highly technical field of law, in part because malpractice lawsuits tend to be fiercely defended by well-funded defense firms. Hospitals have extensive legal departments devoted to the defense of malpractice cases. For this reason, as well as because of the usual costs associated with bring a suit in any court of law, medical malpractice lawsuits can be very expensive to pursue. Significant technical skills may be needed in prosecuting a malpractice claim. This creates a risk that an inexperienced lawyer may not be sufficiently conversant with the medical issues, or might make a technical error, which causes a case to be lost or dismissed. In addition, substantial costs may need to be incurred to prepare for the malpractice prosecution. Even within the specialized practice of medical malpractice law, some lawyers have subspecialties of practice, for example focusing on surgical errors, misdiagnoses, or birth trauma cases. About 69 medical malpractice attorneys practice in Montana.

In Montana, medical malpractice actions alleging personal injury or wrongful death must be brought within three years from the date of injury or from the date when the claimant discovered (or with the exercise of reasonable diligence should have discovered) the injury. In no event may an action be brought after five years from the date the injury was incurred.

Montana law is in flux because the legislature has passed alternative versions of its statutes on comparative negligence, joint and several liability, and related subjects, effective for causes of action that arise on or after April 18, 1997.

With rare exceptions, expert testimony is required to establish a cause of action for medical malpractice.

Since October 1, 1995 , there has been a limit of $250,000 on the non-economic damages a claimant can recover. Non-economic damages include, but are not limited to, physical and mental pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of companionship or consortium, and injury to reputation or humiliation.

There is no Montana statutory provision that limits attorney's fees in medical malpractice actions.

Montana law requires that the person filing the claim first present their case to the Montana Medical Legal Panel before proceeding with a lawsuit. It is an informal hearing that is typically held in the city of Helena. At this hearing, both sides are able to present their case to a panel of three medical providers and three attorneys. The decision of the panel is not binding on either side; after the panel rules, the person filing the claim can then pursue a lawsuit.

If you or a loved one has suffered negligence at the hands of a medical professional, the best thing for you is to consult with a Montana medical malpractice attorney.


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