Jumping through Hoops: Medical and Chiropractic Panels in Montana
In an effort to stem the number of medical malpractice suits being brought in the state court system, Montana has established a system of Medical legal panels to, in effect, pre-screen claims before they go to court. The law requires claims to be filed with the panel associated with the medical or chiropractic practice areas of health care provision. The stated goal is to keep cases that do not reasonably indicate that malpractice might have occurred from reaching the court system.
Although the panels’ stated purpose is to prevent questionable claims from reaching court, they are also charged with facilitating the settlement of these claims. The panels are made up of three physicians and three attorneys. They listen to evidence regarding claims and render decisions as to whether malpractice was committed. The decision is non-binding, meaning that the claimant can still go to court. Also, at the conclusion of the medical panel's deliberations, the parties are notified of the right to enter into nonbinding mediation with the hope that a settlement can be reached without formal litigation.
The medical panel covers medical doctors, osteopaths, dentists, hospitals and podiatrists. There is a separate panel for chiropractors. Any claim against an individual employee of a service provider must be brought against the provider rather than the individual. Claimants must file an application for consideration with the office of the director of the panel. Claimants may represent themselves or be represented by counsel. All proceedings, documents and decisions are confidential.
If you have suffered an injury as a result of medical treatment by a health care provider, you can rely on the attorneys at Tipp & Buley to present your case effectively to the appropriate medical panel. We have 50 years of experience in Missoula and Western Montana representing clients in personal injury cases. We are dedicated to helping our clients achieve the best possible resolution to the legal issues they face. Please visit us today online or call 406-549-5186 to make an appointment..