In 1995, a cap of $500,000 for non-economic damages was put in place in North Dakota. In addition, any economic damages that exceed $250,000 may be challenged by the defendant, with the understanding that the burden of proof is on the defense to show that the awarded amount is not compensatory with actual expenses.
In North Dakota, medical malpractice suits must be filed within 2 years from the date of occurrence of the negligent act, or within two years from the discovery date. After 6 years from the negligent act that resulted in injury, no medical malpractice suits can be brought. If the injured person is a minor, the limitations are extended up to 12 years from the date of the negligent act.
Discretionary periodic payment of future damages is allowed when the plaintiff requires 2+ years of continual care. This is subject to continuous court review.
Given North Dakota’s non-economic damage cap of $500,000, it is advisable for most doctors to maintain the standard malpractice insurance limits of $500,000 per occurrence and $1,000,000 aggregate per policy period (1 Year).
North Dakota is a healthcare provider friendly environment when it comes to malpractice claims. One statistic that drives home the point is malpractice payouts per capita. While these vary greatly from state to state consider that a state like New York, densely populated as it is works out to a roughly $39 per capita rate for medical malpractice payouts. Even Pennsylvania comes in at about $25. North Dakota on the other hand has a per capita payout figure of just $3. Further, the average medical liability insurance premium for a primary care physician is just $7,330, and among specialists the average premium is only $25,510. Add to all this that North Dakota’s average rate declined approximately 10% in 2013, and you have a picture of a very affordable state to practice medicine in.