Medical malpractice occurs when a health care professional’s negligent care leads to a patient’s death or injury. In Colorado, there was an average of 24 malpractice suits per 100,000 residents in 2015. The total payouts came to $43.9 million.
Who can sue a medical professional? There are no age limits on medical malpractice cases. If you feel a doctor, dentist, surgeon, nurse, OB/GYN, or other professional was negligent, you could have a case. Some situations might be best addressed by talking to the doctor or professional and seeing if the issue could be resolved for free. Before you do that, you should talk to a personal injury attorney to see what’s advised.
Young or old, you are entitled to file a claim if you have a valid complaint. You will need to prove that the medical professional was negligent.
Should You File a Claim?
Examples of situations that can lead to medical malpractice include an incorrect diagnosis, lack of follow-up care, incorrect medications or dosages, a premature discharge that led to harm, or mistakes when reading test results. There are other situations. That’s why you should always talk to a medical malpractice lawyer in Colorado if you have concerns.
People don’t always file a malpractice suit for financial gain. This is important to understand. Medical malpractice suits can help you gain information or be a preventative measure. The results of a 2010 medical malpractice survey were released in the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics. In that survey, plaintiffs listed one or more of these reasons:
- They were advised to sue by someone else, often someone in the medical field.
- They needed money to pay for long-term care.
- They felt they were lied to by their doctor.
- They feared their child’s life was ruined.
- They wanted the doctor to have to release more information.
- They hoped the suit would keep the medical professional from making that mistake again.
All ages can file a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, there are limitations and statutes. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is 2 years with discovery. Wrongful death claims are 2 years and can be pursued by the victim’s estate.
What does “with discovery” mean? Some medical malpractice complaints are discovered years later. In 2007, a woman in Eugene, Oregon, had a surgical procedure. Nine years later, she had abdominal pain that she feared was a tumor. Scans found a surgical sponge had been left in the cavity during the operation. It took close to a decade before that sponge caused discomfort. While that was past the statute of limitations, the discovery rule made it possible for her to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
If the patient is a minor, the statute of limitations is delayed until the child’s 18th birthday. At that point, the regular statute of limitations comes into play.
What Happens Next?
Your lawyer will help you every step of the way. The first part of a medical malpractice claim is to prove there was a relationship between the patient and medical professional. Paperwork from a pharmacy, medical office, or dental office help here. You want to prove you were in that person’s care.
Proving that the medical professional didn’t provide a reasonable standard of care is next. Your lawyer needs to prove that what the doctor, nurse, etc. did was experimental or out of the ordinary. If there’s no evidence to support the medical professional’s decision or path of treatment as being best, it helps build a strong case.
Finally, your lawyer needs to prove you were harmed by the decision. You’ll need proof of the time it took to correct the damage, how that damage was corrected, and how long it took you to recover after the corrective measures. Again, paperwork will help. Statements from other doctors and experts help build your case.
Once the medical malpractice claim is made, you may find the doctor or medical agency wants to settle outside of court. This is often for the best. When medical malpractice cases go to trial, the outcome isn’t always favorable. Research finds that even with strong evidence, only around half of all malpractice trials are successful. If you get a settlement that’s fair, you’re saving yourself months or years of trial time and delays.
When you need a lawyer for medical malpractice issues, experience and success should top your list. Denver personal injury attorneys at Jordan, Herington & Rowley have one more than $500 million in verdicts and settlements for their clients. Jordan, Herington & Rowley’s attorneys secured a settlement of $74 million for the victim of a birth injury. Your case could be just as successful. Call (303) INJURED, (303) 465-8733 to discuss your medical complaint.