According to a 2016 study, an estimated 250,000 people in the U.S. die from medical-related errors every year.
Medical malpractice occurs when a hospital, doctor, or other healthcare professional causes direct injury to a patient through a negligent act, mistake, or recklessness. The negligence might be the result of errors in diagnosis, treatment, aftercare, or health management.
We trust doctors and healthcare professionals to provide safe and accurate medical care. However, when a medical professional makes a mistake, the consequences can be catastrophic.
If you or a loved one were injured due to medical malpractice, then you may not know how to start a claim. Here’s a step-by-step guide to filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Colorado.
Get A Medical Assessment
Colorado requires plaintiffs to file what’s known as a certificate of review within 60 days of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. This certificate helps determine that the injuries you suffered are real and they resulted from a medical-related incident.
Completing the certificate of review can be tricky, but requires a physician’s opinion that the claim is not frivolous.
To avoid dismissal of your claim, a certificate of review must be completed within 60 of filing the lawsuit.
If you’re worried about the deadline or completing the certificate, skip to step two and contact an attorney right away.
Contact A Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you’ve suffered a severe and traumatic injury due to a medical mistake, you need an experienced medical malpractice attorney helping you through the complexities of medical malpractice law.
Hiring a qualified medical malpractice lawyer can mean the difference between receiving compensation for your injuries or nothing at all. An experienced attorney will be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your case and advise you on a course of action.
Medical professionals and health care organizations are covered by insurance companies with expansive resources to fight or mitigate any claim.
At Norton Frickey P.C., we’re dedicated to protecting the rights of injured people, and our practice has experience handling a wide range of malpractice cases. Plus, our team works on a contingent-fee basis, which means victims don’t pay anything unless we win the case.
Understand What Damages Are Available in Colorado
When filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in southern Colorado, it’s important to understand what damages are available and how damage caps work.
When an attorney is preparing your case, they must be able to prove that you, the plaintiff, suffered some sort of loss, whether that loss is economic and/or non-economic in nature
However, Colorado has instituted caps on certain damages for most medical malpractice cases. This means the jury cannot award a plaintiff more than what the cap allows.
Here are some common damages associated with medical malpractice cases:
- Economic damages—medical bills, lost wages, other tangible bills
- Non-economic damages—loss of enjoyment, physical and mental pain or suffering, emotional distress
- Punitive damages: damages designed to punish the defendant for reckless and negligent acts
- Medical malpractice damage caps: no more than $1 million in total damages may be awarded, of which no more than $300,000 may be for non-economic damages
- EXCEPTIONS: If the plaintiff can be shown that $1 million is an unfair award, an exception may be considered
Review Colorado’s Statutes Of Limitations
All civil claims, including medical malpractice cases, have time restrictions as to when claims must be filed. These limits are called statutes of limitations.
According to Colorado statute, medical malpractice claims must be initiated within two years of the injury date. There are rare exceptions to this rule, but, generally, claims made outside this time period are dismissed.
Additionally, if the malpractice was committed by an employee of the state government (e.g., UC Health or Memorial Hospital) the additional time constraints under the CGIA will likely apply. Click here to learn how the CGIA can impact your medical malpractice claim.
Contact an injury attorney as soon as possible to safeguard your claim from dismissal.
Stay Informed. Be Prepared
Medical malpractice impacts hundreds of thousands of people every year. If you’ve been injured, don’t assume you can’t fight back. Follow these steps to protect your rights and to effectively file a claim.