The Dos and Don’ts of Pursuing Medical Malpractice Claims
Medical malpractice claims are among the most difficult cases for plaintiffs to prove. In Colorado, more than $33.7 million was paid out in claims in 2022. Although this sounds like a substantial sum of money, more defendants prevail at trial than plaintiffs who file cases against them.
Does this mean pursuing a medical malpractice claim is not worth the effort? Absolutely not. It does mean you need to be represented by a seasoned medical malpractice attorney who has been successful in negotiations and at trial. It also means you need to take some steps and avoid others to improve your chances of prevailing in a lawsuit.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of medical malpractice or medical negligence, you deserve justice for your harm and losses. At Gama Law Firm LLC, working to obtain justice for our clients is what we do every single day. If your life has been damaged by medical malpractice in Denver, Aurora, Centennial, Castle Pines, Parker, or anywhere in Colorado, here are a few dos and don’ts of pursuing medical malpractice claims you should know.
What Are the Basics of Medical Malpractice Claims in Colorado?
Fault in medical malpractice rests on the duty of care. There is a duty of care medical doctors and other providers involved in your care owe to you. If that standard is breached and you suffer injuries and damages, you may be able to pursue a claim against them. This fault could occur in surgical errors, misdiagnosis by medical staff, failure to diagnose, medication errors, and more.
Any healthcare provider whose malpractice or negligence causes harm to a patient can be held financially responsible for the victim’s damages under Colorado law. The burden of proof of negligence rests on the plaintiff, which is usually the victim or, in the case of a loved one’s incapacitation or death, a surviving spouse or close relative of the victim.
Filing a medical malpractice case requires a petition for damages as well as a certificate of review. This means the evidence must be reviewed by a medical expert who then certifies that there is evidence of malpractice or negligence. Lawsuits must be filed within two years of the procedure or within two years of the victim reasonably knowing they have suffered damages. For example, an object left inside the patient during a surgical procedure may not cause issues until long after the procedure itself. If so, the two years begin upon discovery of the damage.
There are other rare exceptions beyond the two-year statute of limitations, including in cases involving minors under the age of 18. You can discuss these with a medical malpractice attorney.
What Are the Dos and Don’ts of Pursuing a Claim?
As is true when pursuing justice of any kind under the law, there are things you should and should not do when pursuing a medical malpractice claim. Here are a few key ones:
Do bring the claim as quickly after the injury as possible. The brief statute of limitations makes it imperative that your attorney has time to investigate your claim, have an expert submit a certificate of review, and file suit well before the statute runs out. Wait too long and you will be prohibited from filing.
Do know Colorado’s requirements for filing a medical malpractice claim. You don’t have to do the research alone. An experienced medical malpractice attorney will be quite familiar with all the requirements. That makes visiting with one as soon as you can imperative.
Do begin gathering copies of all pertinent medical records. If you are the patient, you have a right to all medical records, including copies of imaging and other relevant materials. If your loved one is incapacitated and there is no relevant durable power of attorney, you will need to have the court appoint you as the conservator for them. As such, you can obtain copies of their records.
Do hire an experienced medical malpractice attorney. This area of law is extremely complex, which is why healthcare defendants often prevail in court. Hire an attorney with a successful and lengthy record of representation of clients with similar claims.
Don’t contact the healthcare provider or their insurance company directly. Anything you say may be used against you later. Moreover, you put them on notice of your claim before sufficient evidence has been collected to make one.
Don’t accuse the doctor or argue with them about what you believe went wrong. First, they are not going to give credence to claims made by those who aren’t medical experts, especially when you or a loved one is the victim. Again, give your attorney time to collect evidence and let them lead with your claim.
Don’t miss any doctor’s appointments. Noncompliance with the treatment plan will be used to weaken your claim by asserting your injuries were caused by a failure to follow doctor’s orders. Talk to your attorney about transitioning care to another physician.
Don’t sign anything, especially any types of releases. If you do, you may harm your claim or forfeit it altogether. Never sign anything without first having your attorney review it, no matter what the provider or insurance company says.
Get the Support of a Skilled Attorney
If you have been harmed by the malpractice or negligence of a healthcare provider, you deserve compensation. Successfully pursuing it will not be easy, but at Gama Law Firm LLC, we embrace the challenge.
Let us help you prevail. Call Gama Law Firm LLC in Aurora, Colorado, now to schedule a free case consultation.