Medical Malpractice [cont'd]

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Can I sue a government–owned hospital or entity?

Generally, yes. The State of Montana has waived its sovereign immunity as well as that of its political subdivisions, including municipalities, counties, and towns. M.C.A. 2–9–102 and M.C.A. 7–1–4125.   However you cannot sue the state and its political subdivisions for exemplary/punitive damages. M.C.A. 2–9–105.

Claims against government–owned entities are capped at $750,000 per claim and $1,500,000 per occurrence. M.C.A. 2–9–108. If a government–owned entity is covered by an insurance company that specifically agrees to provide insurance in amounts in excess of the caps, the insurer cannot claim the benefits provided by the state's tort claims act.

Must my medical malpractice claim be reviewed before filing suit?

Yes. All medical malpractice actions not subject to a valid arbitration agreement must be reviewed by the Montana Medical Legal Panel prior to the filing of a lawsuit in the state district court. M.C.A. 27–6–105 and 27–6–701.

The panel has the responsibility of deciding whether there is substantial evidence that the alleged acts occurred, that the alleged acts constituted malpractice, and that within a reasonable medical probability, the plaintiff was injured due to the acts of malpractice. M.C.A. 27–6–602. However, the panel's decision is not binding and is not admissible in court. M.C.A. 27–6–606 and 27–6–704.

Will I need an expert witness to testify in my malpractice case?

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

Will I owe anything if I lose?

No. If your medical malpractice case is unsuccessful, you will not be responsible for any of the costs incurred.  

How does Waddell & Magan get paid?

Our contingent fee is based on a percentage of the total amount of benefits we recover from the defendant(s) or their insurance company on your behalf.

How long will it take to resolve my case?

The length of a case varies. All lawsuits revolve around the trial date set by the court. And that is up to the court administrators and the workload the court is handling. As for settlement, that too is usually tied to the trial date.

What if my medical malpractice injury occurred outside of Bozeman?

Although Waddell & Magan is located in Bozeman, Montana, our attorneys practice throughout the state and are licensed in other states.

My case isn't in Montana. Can you still represent me?

Yes. The attorneys at Waddell & Magan are licensed in Montana, Texas and Pennsylvania. If you live outside of these states, we will bring in local counsel to work in association with us on your medical negligence case.

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