The state of Minnesota does not currently limit non-economic damage awards in malpractice cases. This means, that juries can theoretically award any amount they deem appropriate for pain and suffering, emotional distress, etc. However, Minnesota law does provide for a judge to review and, if he deems fit, override a jury recommendation regarding the amount of an award.
Additionally, the threshold for awarding punitive damages is quite high under Minnesota law.
Under Minnesota law a malpractice case must be brought within four years of the date of the alleged malpractice, or in some cases from the date of the last treatment associated with the alleged malpractice. Minnesota law does not follow a broad discovery rule and so generally insists that the starting date for the statute of limitations is on or around the time of the alleged instance of malpractice, not the date when the alleged malpractice is discovered.
As in most states, the statute of limitations may be tolled, or put on hold, during a period of temporary insanity on the part of the claimant.
A claim involving a minor must be brought within seven years from the date of the alleged incident, or within one year of the claimants 18th birthday, whichever period is shorter.
Minnesota represents a very small medical liability insurance market with approximately $96 million in total annual insurance premiums. And while the market is certainly not as diverse as is generally preferred to secure good competition, nevertheless prices for malpractice insurance in Minnesota remain some of the lowest in the nation. In addition to low costs, the market has been steady over the last few years with no signs of volatility in the near future. Finally, even though most of them are small and represent a very small portion of the market it remains true that the number of insurers writing coverage in Minnesota continues to increase, as it has over the past few years.
So, while it would be good to see some of these other providers grow and provide a slightly more diverse market, Minnesota does have a very attractive risk environment for doctors, and represents a low cost, stable, environment for practicing medicine.
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