Colorado Medical Malpractice Lawyers
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There is nothing more unsettling than sending a loved one into the care of trusted physicians only to find out that they made a life-threatening mistake. While most healthcare providers practice the highest standard of care for their patients, or at least strive to, there are always going to be times when mistakes are made, and the standard of care falls short. That’s why it’s important to turn to Colorado medical malpractice lawyers you can trust.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, Zinda Law Group can help. Our experienced Colorado medical malpractice attorneys can help you assess your case and work towards getting you the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer.
What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice is a type of civil claim that involves a professional’s negligence. It occurs when a healthcare professional or provider neglects to provide appropriate treatment, omits to take an appropriate action, or gives substandard treatment that causes harm, injury, or death to a patient. Healthcare professionals and providers have a duty to provide a certain standard of care, recognized by the profession, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their patients. When a medical professional deviates from this standard, they may be held liable for the resulting harm.
What should I do if I have been injured by a healthcare provider?
So, you or a loved one were a victim of a surgery gone wrong in Colorado and you’re asking yourself, “Now what?” It is undoubtedly a terrifying and overwhelming position to be in. If you unfortunately find yourself in a position like this, taking the following steps can help, regardless of whether you plan on filing a lawsuit:
1. Switch Medical Providers
If you are still in need of medical care, try to find a new doctor. Not only is there a risk of your current doctor continuing to provide less than adequate care, but there is also a concern of the medical professional mishandling your records or care if he or she knows you may be filing a claim.
2. Follow Your New Doctor’s Instructions
Your health and wellness are of the utmost importance and should always be your number one priority. Taking care of yourself and following your new provider’s instructions will help you on your path to recovery; it can also help your medical malpractice lawyer understand the extent of your injuries.
3. Document Everything
As soon as you can after the incident, get a copy of your medical records. You should also try to keep a journal of the incident and your follow-up care. These suits can take a long time, and memories fade over time; thus having documented evidence of what you were experiencing can be very helpful.
4. Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer ASAP
The two-year statute of limitation is hovering over your claim, and it can take even experienced lawyers some time to get their bearings of the case and source an expert for their certificate of review. Thus, the earlier you reach out to an attorney, the better.
The ins and outs of medical malpractice claims
These kinds of cases are notoriously complex, which is why hiring a medical malpractice lawyer is the key to success. If you or a loved one has been hurt by a doctor in Colorado, you may be asking yourself a lot of good questions, like: Who do I sue? What do I need to prove my case? What kind of damages might I receive?
Although an experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help you navigate through those complexities if you do file a case, we get the importance of understanding what kind of road you are traveling on and what challenges may present themselves along the way.
Medical Negligence Filing Requirements in Colorado
The first hurdle in every medical malpractice case is satisfying the filing requirements in the relevant state. In Colorado, this includes two key steps:
· The case must be filed within the permitted statute of limitations period, and
· The medical malpractice lawyer must file a “certificate of review” within the permitted time.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is essentially a ticking clock that starts on the day the injury was inflicted or the day you discovered (or reasonably would have been expected to discover) that you were injured. In Colorado, the statute of limitations for any lawsuit based on alleged medical negligence by a health care worker is two years. Thus, it is extremely important that you talk to a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as you can about your case.
Colorado law goes on to draw a hard line beyond that two-year timeframe and says that “in no event” may a medical negligence lawsuit be filed more than three years after the incident, unless: the defendant purposefully concealed the malpractice, the malpractice consisted of leaving a foreign object (like a gauze or something of that nature) in the patient’s body that didn’t belong there, the patient did not know about the injury or its cause and couldn’t have reasonably discovered both, or the patient is a minor or legally incompetent.
There are some other circumstances that might permit an extension of this time period in Colorado, such as if the defendant cannot be served with legal papers or if the patient is still undergoing treatment with the defendant for a medical condition. However, they are narrow exceptions, and thus it is always best to get the case filed as soon as you can to beat that two-year cap. If you are unsure about how much time you have, reach out to a medical malpractice attorney for help assessing your case.
Certificate of Review
Once the medical malpractice lawyer actually files the case, they then have to worry about filing what is called a “certificate of review.” Basically, this certificate is required by Colorado law to keep frivolous lawsuits out of the courts. In Colorado medical malpractice lawyers have 60 days after serving the medical malpractice complaint to the defendant to file this certificate; in some cases, a court may grant extra time to file the certificate, but the plaintiff must be able to show “good cause” for the extension.
The certificate must state two requirements:
- The medical malpractice lawyer has consulted with a qualified expert in this particular area of medicine, and that expert has reviewed the facts and records of the case, and
- That expert, based on their review, has concluded that the lawsuit “does not lack substantial justification,” essentially meaning that it is not meritless or frivolous.
If this certificate of review is not filed or if the legal requirements are not met (for example, if the expert did not have the required knowledge), then the case will be dismissed. Hence, it is important to retain an experienced medical malpractice lawyer who knows how to timely source medical experts and how to properly file these certificates within the permitted period of time.
A common question that victims of medical malpractice ask is, “Can I sue my doctor?” Generally, the answer is yes, but sometimes other people may be liable, too.
Vicarious liability means that the employer defendant is also responsible for the actions of their employees when those employees are acting in the course of their ordinary business on behalf of the employer. Thus, oftentimes hospitals or other medical facilities may be liable for your injuries as well. Occasionally these employers can also be liable for inadequate supervision of their workers or negligently hiring inexperienced employees.
Identifying who is responsible is not always an easy task but it can make a big difference when it comes to the amount of compensation you are awarded. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer knows how to figure out who is liable and how to prove it in court. Additionally, if the lawyers for the hospital or doctor try to say you were in part responsible—say, for not following after-care instructions—an experienced lawyer knows how to defend you against that allegation.
Compensation for Medical Malpractice
If an injured patient is successful in their medical malpractice claim, they are generally able to recover two types of damages: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those that are generally easy to quantify, such as the medical expenses you paid and the costs for rehabilitation and physical therapy. Non-economic damages are those that are more difficult to define in monetary terms, such as pain and suffering damages and emotional distress.
It is important to note that Colorado, like a lot of other states, does “cap” the amount of compensation that a patient can receive, even if the jury decides to award more than that number. Colorado has a $1 million “umbrella cap” on the total amount of compensation, meaning that in terms of both economic and non-economic damages the plaintiff cannot recover more than $1 million unless there is a showing of good cause. Colorado also specifically caps non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases, those that cover things like pain and suffering, at $300,000.
Navigating these “caps” can be difficult and confusing, which is why hiring an experienced medical malpractice lawyer is so important. An experienced lawyer who is familiar with these rules can work to make sure you are awarded the maximum compensation possible.
CALL ZINDA LAW GROUP TODAY
At Zinda Law Group, our medical malpractice attorneys are experienced, dedicated, and understanding of the hardships you have been facing. Our attorneys have the expertise to help you recover the maximum amount of compensation possible to help you get your life back on track.
If you or a loved one has been injured from medical malpractice, call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312 for a free, initial consultation. If we don’t win your case, then you don’t owe us anything; that is our “No Win, No Fee Guarantee.”
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.