What is the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in North Dakota?

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Question:

What is the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in North Dakota?

Answer:

Anyone who wants to to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in North Dakota first needs to be aware of the statute of limitations, which is a law that sets a strict limit on the amount of time you have to get your case started in the state’s civil court system. There are different deadlines for different kinds of cases.

Like a lot of states, North Dakota has enacted a specific statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits. You can find this law at North Dakota Century Code section 28-01-18, and it says that this kind of case must be filed within two years of the date on which the underlying malpractice was allegedly committed -- or alternatively, within two years of the date when the patient discovered (or should have been able to discover) that he or she was injured as a result of a medical professional  or health care facility’s medical error.

It’s important to note that if you are relying on the “discovery” portion of North Dakota’s two-year filing period, as the plaintiff you have the burden of proving that you did not discover -- and you could not reasonably have been expected to discover -- the occurrence of the underlying malpractice until you actually did.

There is also a larger catch-all filing deadline (known as a “statute of repose”) in North Dakota, which says that all medical malpractice lawsuits must be filed within six years from the date on which the malpractice occurred.  So, once those six years have passed, even if you didn’t know (and couldn’t have known) that you were harmed by malpractice during all of that time, your right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in North Dakota is lost.

If North Dakota’s statute of limitations filing deadline has passed and you try to file the case anyway, the defendant will almost certainly ask the court to dismiss the case, and the court is very likely to grant the motion. Once that happens, that’s the end of your lawsuit. Get more details on the Statute of Limitations in Medical Malpractice Cases.

by: David Goguen, J.D.

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