Over the years, I have received numerous calls from individuals with medical malpractice claims. The one question that many of those callers have asked was whether it was too late to bring their claim – in other words, had their statute of limitations ran? Some callers were happy to learn they still had time; others were frustrated that even though they did not know of their injury and the potential malpractice that the time to commence their action had passed. Currently, when an individual falls victim to medical malpractice (also known as medical negligence) in Minnesota, the injured person has four years from the date of the malpractice to commence an action. If the injured person fails to commence an action in that time, they will have lost their legal right to do so or at a minimum will have their legal rights challenged. This is true, even if the injured person did not know of the malpractice.(1) Minnesota is one of a handful of states that do not recognize a discovery rule. In simple terms, a discovery rule provides that the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the injured person learns of the malpractice or with reasonable diligence should have done so.(2) While this is a harsh result, this is the law in Minnesota.
It is important to note that there are exceptions to the four-year medical malpractice statute of limitations. As a result, the statute of limitations should be investigated in each individual case.(3) Generally, to protect the right to bring a claim, it is important to seek legal advice early on if you feel you are a victim of medical malpractice.
(1) There are some exceptions to this rule, such as “fraud.” Fraud, while an exception is rarely proved.
(2)Some states that place limits on how long failure to discover an injury tolls the statute of limitations.
(3) One exception to the statute of limitations that is worth noting is when medical malpractice causes death. In those cases, the statute of limitations can be as short as three years from the date of the malpractice.
Tom Bennerotte has specialized in the area of Personal Injury for the last 14 years. From 1991 to 1997, he worked as a Claims Adjuster. Tom then went on to Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, where he focused his practice on representing people injured by medical malpractice. Since joining Ramsay & DeVore, Tom has represented a number of personal injury victims. He continues to focus his practice of representing those injured by medical malpractice.
Filed under: Medical Malpractice Law