Colorado Medical Malpractice: Laws, Claims and Damages
UPDATED: March 7, 2012
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COLORADO MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
A medical malpractice claim may be filed in Colorado when a health care provider is medically negligent. Medical negligence is defined as a health care provider acting below the industry standard of care when treating a patient, with injuries resulting. The injured patient may recover for the damages incurred by a medically negligent healthcare provider in a medical malpractice action. Medical malpractice actions often arise from:
- Unreasonable delay in treatment;
- Improper diagnosis/failure to diagnose;
- Improper treatment;
- Errors in filling a prescription;
- Birth injuries.
Who Can Be Sued in a Colorado Medical Malpractice Case?
A medical malpractice suit can be brought against any medically negligent health care provider in Colorado. A health care provider is anyone licensed to perform medical services on patients, and can include physicians, doctors, nurses, chiropractors, and any other entity or individual that falls within this category. If a patient believes he or she has been injured by medical negligence, they should contact a medical malpractice attorney to determine if the negligent actor falls within the Colorado definition of a health care provider.
Colorado Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
If you have been the victim of medical negligence in Colorado, you must file a claim for medical malpractice within two years of the date of the injury. If you did not discover the injury right away, however, you may bring a claim within two years of the date you discovered (or should have discovered) the injury, but in no case may the claim be filed more than three years after the negligent act occurred. A general exception exists for any injured minor under the age of six, who must bring an action for medical malpractice by their eighth birthday.
A medical malpractice attorney can help you determine the statute of limitations for your particular case. Failure to file a claim within the statute of limitations will result in your claim being barred, meaning that you will no longer be able to collect damages for your injury. To avoid this, contact an attorney as soon as you become aware of the fact that a negligent health care provider has injured you.
Caps on Medical Malpractice Claims in Colorado
When you bring a medical malpractice claim in Colorado, you are eligible to collect economic, noneconomic, and punitive damages. Economic damages are the financial losses incurred by the injury. Noneconomic damages are for non-monetary losses, such as for loss of companionship and pain and suffering. When a health care provider has acted maliciously, or intends to cause injury, punitive damages may be awarded. In Colorado, noneconomic damages are limited to $300,000, and unless the defendant has intentionally continued the pattern of harmful behavior, the punitive damages cannot be more than the actual damages awarded. Generally, the combined total of the noneconomic and punitive damages cannot exceed $1,000,000. Because the available damages vary in every case, it is crucial that you consult a Colorado medical malpractice attorney to determine the potential recovery amount for your injury.
Filing a Colorado Medical Malpractice Claim
Negotiating and litigating a claim for medical malpractice is an extremely complex process. Generally, expert witnesses must be hired. You can also bet that the defendant health care provider will have a team of experienced attorneys on their side, provided by their insurance companies. Another complex aspect is that while there may be only one individual who acted negligently, it’s possible that several defendants should be included in the claim, including the negligent health care provider’s employer or the manufacturer of the medical equipment that was involved in causing the injury. If you believe that you have an actionable medical malpractice suit, consult an experienced medical malpractice attorney today. Doing so will even out the playing field by ensuring that you have someone with medical malpractice expertise on your side.
Colorado Medical Malpractice Laws
- Courts and Court Procedure: Limitations of Actions: Medical or Healthcare. Title 13, Art. 80, § 102.5.
- Courts and Court Procedure: Limitation of Liability: Interest on Damages. Title 13, Art. 64, § 302.
- Courts and Court Procedure: Limitations on Damages for Noneconomic Loss or Injury. Title 13, Art. 21, § 102.5.