Medical malpractice cases are usually governed by state laws. If you’re considering a medical malpractice case in Minnesota, it’s important to understand how the state handles the statute of limitations and how damages are paid.

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations is a deadline for filing a civil lawsuit. In Minnesota, the time limit is generally four years from the “date the cause of action accrued.” In most cases, that means the date the injury occurred. For example, if your surgeon operated on the wrong leg, you would have four years from the date of surgery to file a medical malpractice case.

Sometimes, the date of action accrued isn’t as clear. Some medical errors don’t show up until months or years later. Using the surgery example, suppose a surgeon leaves a medical sponge in your body. You may not know this until that sponge starts to affect your body, maybe 10 months or longer after the surgery. In this case, the statute of limitations begins to tick down on the date when you should have known something was wrong.

How Do You File a Medical Malpractice Suit in Minnesota? 

Medical malpractice cases rely on four elements to prove your case. You must show that:

  1. A doctor-patient relationship existed.
  2. The doctor was negligent or didn’t provide acceptable medical treatment.
  3. Your injury was caused by the negligence.
  4. You suffered significant damages such as disability, unusual pain or loss of income.

In Minnesota, when you file a lawsuit against a doctor, you must also have an affidavit of merit from a qualified medical professional. This affidavit states that your case was reviewed by another doctor who believes that your original doctor did not provide a reasonable standard of care. Medical malpractice lawsuits are very complex. You really need a medical malpractice lawyer to navigate the process.

How Much Will You Get Out of a Medical Malpractice Case? 

Some states put limits on how much you can receive for damages in a medical malpractice case, but Minnesota is one of the states that does not have a cap. Your specific damages depend on the facts in your case. You may need to have a financial specialist explain the damages. Economic damages are fairly self-explanatory to a jury. These are the loss of income and medical bills. Non-economic damages are more subjective because it’s difficult to measure pain and suffering. Talk to a medical malpractice lawyer, about your case to take the best steps for a successful outcome.