Medical Malpractice Law in North Dakota

Medical malpractice law in North Dakota stipulates a 2 year statute of limitations and has replaced joint and several liability with a rule wherein each party is responsible financially only for the damages they themselves cause.

Statutes of Limitations in North Dakota

An action must be brought within two years from the date of the cause of the action in North Dakota. While the state does recognize a discovery rule, which can extend the period of limitations to 2 years from the date the injury should have been discovered, it can be extended no more than 6 years after the actual injury. Courts presume the occurrence is discovered (or should have been) at the time of death, so in wrongful death cases, the suit must be filed within 2 years of death. The insane or incarcerated are exempted but action must be brought whiny one year of the cessation of the disability in question.

North Dakota State Malpractice Laws at a Glance:

North Dakota State Tort Law
Statute of Limitations Two years from date of original injury or after injury is discovered but not longer than six years from act. Exception made in cases of fraudulent concealment.
Damage Award Limits Court may review economic awards greater than $250,000. Limit of $500,000 for noneconomic damages.
Joint Defendant Liability Proportionate liability for defendants, exceptions may be made in cases of deliberate harm.
Expert Witness No stipulations for witnesses.
Attorney Fees No limits on attorneys fees.

Contributory or Comparative Negligence in North Dakota

North Dakota follows a doctrine of modified comparative negligence, meaning a claimant's action is barred if his fault is equal to or greater than the combined fault of all others who contributed to the injury. The claimant's recovery is reduced in proportion to his or her degree of fault.

Joint and Several Liability in North Dakota

North Dakota has eliminated joint and several liabilities in personal injury and death cases. Instead stipulates each tortfeasor is liable only for the amount of damages attributable to the percentage of fault of that party."

Vicarious Liability in North Dakota

Hospitals granting staff privileges to a negligent doctor in North Dakota can be held liable under a theory of negligent staffing.

Expert Testimony in North Dakota

Claimants must obtain a supporting expert opinion in the state unless it is a case of obvious malpractice, and the expert opinion must be rendered within three months of filling a medical malpractice claims.

Damage Caps in North Dakota

After April first 1995, there is a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice suits. Regardless of how many defendants or family members sue this cap is in effect. The jury may award economic damages in an unlimited amount, but the court upon a party's motion must review amounts exceeding $250,000. Punitive damages are limited to twice compensatory damages plus $250,000.


North Dakota has abolished governmental tort immunity as it relates to all political subdivisions, but not the state government.


In North Dakota, the claimant's attorney must inform the claimant about all alternative dispute resolution options available to him before filing suit.

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