Do I Have a Medical Malpractice Case? What You Need to Know About Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim in Minnesota
November 15, 2023 – Paul W. Schroepfer & Robert A. Correia
Have you or a loved one been injured due to a mistake made by a healthcare professional? You might be feeling upset, confused, and unsure about what to do next. In Minnesota, if a healthcare professional’s negligence leads to serious injury or worse, you might have the right to file a medical malpractice claim.
At Robichaud, Schroepfer & Correia, P.A., we understand how hard this time can be. We’re here to help make sense of Minnesota’s medical malpractice laws and figure out the best way forward for you. If you’re asking, “do I have a medical malpractice case,” keep reading. We’ll go over what you need to know about these kinds of claims.
And if you have any questions or just want someone to take a closer look at your situation, give us a call at (612) 333-3343. We’re committed to delivering individualized attention and vital support when you need it the most.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Understanding whether you have a medical malpractice case starts with knowing what medical malpractice really is. Let’s break down this concept to see how it applies to your situation.
Medical malpractice is a legal term for when a healthcare professional deviates from the accepted standard of care and that deviation causes harm to a patient. The accepted standard of care is the level of care that a reasonably competent healthcare professional would provide in a similar situation.
Medical malpractice can take many different forms, including:
- Delayed diagnosis
- Failure to diagnose
- Improper treatment
- Surgical errors
- Medication errors
- Anesthesia errors
- Failure to monitor a patient’s condition
- Failure to inform a patient of the risks of a procedure
If you believe that you have been the victim of medical malpractice, it’s essential to consult with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your case.
Here are some examples of medical malpractice in Minnesota:
- A doctor prescribes a medication to a patient without reviewing their medical history, and the patient has a severe allergic reaction to the medication
- A surgeon leaves a sponge inside a patient’s body after surgery
- A nurse fails to monitor a patient’s vital signs, and the patient goes into cardiac arrest
- A hospital fails to properly clean and disinfect a medical device, and a patient contracts an infection
If you’ve been injured as a result of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Understanding the Frequency and Impact of Medical Negligence
Medical negligence is more common than many might think. Consider these startling recent statistics: Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore reports that roughly 795,000 Americans either die or become permanently disabled each year due to diagnostic errors across various care settings.
Further highlighting this issue, the 2022 Medical Malpractice Annual Report from the U.S. Office of the Insurance Commissioner reveals some eye-opening figures. Out of 102 claims reported by attorneys, claimants received a total of $128 million in compensation. This averages to about $1.3 million per settlement. Additionally, when these cases go to trial, and the jury sides with the plaintiff, the average payout jumps to an astounding $2.2 million for each lawsuit.
But the costs of medical malpractice extend beyond these large settlements. This issue also financially strains the healthcare system. The expenses from medical malpractice claims inevitably trickle down to consumers, resulting in higher healthcare premiums and deductibles.
Suffering an injury from medical malpractice can leave you facing not just physical and emotional challenges, but financial ones as well. If you find yourself in this situation, you might be eligible for compensation covering medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, among other damages.
Tackling these complex legal battles requires a knowledgeable guide. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can be your champion, helping to navigate the intricate legal landscape and advocating for your deserved compensation.
What to Do If You Suspect Medical Malpractice
If you believe you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, it’s crucial to take measured steps to protect your rights and interests. Here’s what you should do:
- Document Everything: Keep detailed records of all medical treatments, conversations with healthcare providers, symptoms, and changes in your health condition. This documentation can be vital evidence if you decide to pursue a legal claim.
- Get a Second Opinion: Consult another healthcare provider to assess your condition and the care you’ve received. A second opinion can provide clarity on whether the standard of care was breached.
- Preserve Medical Records: Secure copies of all your medical records related to the treatment in question. These records are key in evaluating what happened and proving your case.
- Track Your Symptoms and Damages: Record your daily health status, noting any pain, discomfort, or new symptoms. Also, keep track of any financial losses, such as medical bills, lost wages, and other related expenses.
- Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer: Consulting with a lawyer experienced in medical malpractice cases in Minnesota can provide critical guidance. They can help interpret medical records, hire expert witnesses, negotiate with insurance companies, and if necessary, represent you in court.
- Avoid Discussing Your Case: Be cautious about who you talk to regarding your case. Avoid discussing details with friends, family, or on social media, as these conversations could potentially affect your claim.
- Understand the Statute of Limitations: Be aware of the time limits for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Minnesota. Missing these deadlines can permanently bar you from pursuing legal action.
- Prepare for Emotional Challenges: Dealing with the aftermath of suspected medical malpractice can be emotionally taxing. Consider seeking support from counselors or support groups to help you navigate this challenging time.
Remember, every medical malpractice case is unique, and early legal guidance can be instrumental in determining the strength and direction of your claim.
Who Can File a Medical Malpractice Claim in Minnesota?
Understanding who is eligible to file a medical malpractice claim in Minnesota is crucial, as it not only encompasses the patients directly affected but also extends to others closely connected to the patient’s wellbeing and rights. The following people can file a medical malpractice claim in Minnesota:
- Patients: Patients who have been injured as a result of medical malpractice can file a claim to recover compensation for their injuries.
- Family members of deceased patients: Family members of patients who have died as a result of medical malpractice can file a wrongful death claim to recover compensation for their loss.
- Personal representatives of deceased patients: Personal representatives of deceased patients can file a claim on behalf of the patient’s estate to recover compensation for the patient’s injuries and death.
- Guardians of minors: Guardians of minors who have been injured as a result of medical malpractice can file a claim on behalf of the minor to recover compensation for their injuries.
According to the Minnesota statute of limitations, “an action by a patient or former patient against a health care provider alleging malpractice, error, mistake, or failure to cure, whether based on a contract or tort, must be commenced within four years from the date the cause of action accrued.”
What Are the Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim in Minnesota?
Now, let’s look at what it takes to build a medical malpractice case in Minnesota. To have a successful medical malpractice claim, you must prove the following four elements:
- Standard of care: The healthcare professional owes you care/treatment within the accepted medical standard of practice – standard of care.
- Breach of standard of care: The healthcare professional must have breached their duty of care/standard of care. This means that the healthcare professional deviated from the accepted medical standard of care.
- Causation: The healthcare professional’s departure from the standard of care was a direct cause of your injuries. This means that your injuries would not have occurred if the healthcare professional did not breach the standard of care.
- Damages: You must have suffered damages as a result of the healthcare professional’s breach of the standard of care. This means that you must have incurred medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering as a result the departure from the standard of care was a direct cause
Types of Damages Awarded in a Medical Malpractice Case in Minnesota
There are two types of damages that can be awarded in a medical malpractice case in Minnesota: economic damages and non-economic damages.
- Economic damages are damages that can be easily calculated, such as medical expenses and lost wages.
- Non-economic damages are damages that are more difficult to calculate, such as pain and suffering and loss of consortium.
The amount of damages that can be awarded in a medical malpractice case varies depending on the specific facts of the case. However, some common types of damages that have been awarded in medical malpractice cases in Minnesota include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
If you’re struggling with the impact of medical malpractice, it’s essential to know whether you have a viable case. Our overview has covered the key aspects of medical malpractice claims in Minnesota, but each case is unique and merits individual attention. If you have any questions or believe that you may have a case, consider speaking with a knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer. Experienced lawyers for medical malpractice can provide clarity and direction tailored to your specific situation.
Injured Due to Medical Error? We’re Here to Help
If you or a loved one has been injured by medical malpractice in Minnesota, you need an experienced lawyer on your side. As seasoned Minnesota personal injury lawyers, Robichaud, Schroepfer & Correia stands as a leading law firm skilled in both personal injury and medical malpractice cases, with a proven track record of success.
Prioritizing client well-being, we ensure each case is meticulously handled. Our goal is a favorable resolution, whether that means negotiating a settlement or representing you in court.
Contact our experienced medical malpractice lawyers today at (612) 333-3343 or complete our online form to schedule your free consultation. We will assess the unique details and circumstances of your case and determine the next steps to pursue compensation for your injuries and damages.
We’re committed to delivering individualized attention and vital support when you need it the most.
Copyright © 2023. Robichaud, Schroepfer & Correia, P.A. All rights reserved.
The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.