Instead of helping you get better, medical treatment has left you or a loved one seriously injured. You now have to ask yourself a few questions:
Did your doctor make a mistake during your treatment?
Did negligence lead to that mistake?
Have you been seriously injured as a result of that negligence?
Medical mistakes are the third-leading cause of death in the United States, trailing only heart disease and cancer. Medical malpractice cases are complex, costly, and incredibly time consuming. Because the evidence required to prove malpractice is complicated by nature, you are going to need both legal and medical experts to testify. Burg Simpson’s experienced Colorado medical malpractice lawyers have assembled a professional medical malpractice team to review the facts of your medical malpractice case. Get in touch with us as soon as possible by filling out our convenient FREE Case Evaluation form, or call us right away at 720-792-5595, to find out how we can help.
Our attorneys are ready to provide you with excellent, aggressive legal representation for any of your legal needs, including:
- ANESTHESIA ERRORS »
- BIRTH INJURY »
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- GENERAL MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE »
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- MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ATTORNEYS »
WHAT IS MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?
When you or someone you care about suffers an injury during, or as the result of a medical treatment, the question of whether the injury gives rise to a legal claim can be tricky at best. Our Denver medical malpractice lawyers know how to help. In a medical malpractice lawsuit, it’s the injured party bears the burden of proof. This means you must be able to legally prove that:
- Your healthcare provider made a mistake during your care, AND
- This mistake caused or exacerbated your injury, or hampered your recovery; AND
- You suffered damages significant to justify the costs and time associated with litigation, and for which a jury can compensate you.
If you believe that you were injured as a result of a healthcare provider’s negligence, please call us to discuss your situation, we are here to help. There is never any charge for an initial consultation.
WHAT IS YOUR MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASE WORTH?
Our team of Colorado medical injury attorneys, legal assistants, and support staff will examine every case to assess the validity of your medical malpractice case. These can include:
- The nature and extent of the injury and the treatment received.
- The extent of liability of each party involved.
- The potential economic loss the victim suffered.
- Future medical needs and expenses.
- The types of damages that can be recovered include economic, non-economic and sometimes even punitive damages.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO FILE A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE SUIT?
The statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases can vary dramatically by state. In Colorado, the standard deadline is two years from the date of the suspected malpractice incident. However, there are exceptions to this statute, such as:
- The Discovery Rule – Medical malpractice cases are subject to a statute of limitations, or the period of time in which the plaintiff is permitted to file a lawsuit. Depending upon the type of case, this period can vary, but medical malpractice cases usually have a statute of limitations of about six years, depending upon the jurisdiction. The statute of limitations exists because in a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff may not know that he or she has been a victim of malpractice for many months or even years after the event. This is the reasons why most jurisdictions have implemented what is commonly known as the “Discovery Rule.”
- The Discovery Rule allows the statute of limitations to be extended if the victim could not have reasonably learned sooner that he or she had a medical malpractice case. In Colorado, the clock doesn’t begin ticking until malpractice the victim knows, or should have known, that he or she was injured and that medical malpractice led to the injury.
- Statute of Limitations for Minor Children– There are two different statute of limitations deadlines in Colorado that apply to the parents or legal guardians of children under the age of eighteen.
- The first statute of limitations applies to minor children under the age of eight years, who were under six years of age on the date of the alleged malpractice. A medical malpractice lawsuit can be filed at any time prior to the child’s eighth birthday.
- The second statute of limitation applies to minor children between the ages of eight and eighteen. For children between eight and eighteen, if a legal representative is appointed for them at any time after the alleged malpractice and before they turn eighteen, the child will be allowed two years from the date of the legal representative’s appointment to file a lawsuit.
- The Statute of Repose – An absolute Deadline – A statute of repose enforces an absolute deadline to medical malpractice claims. The deadline does not take into account when the victim discovered the injury. In the State of Colorado, the statute of repose is 3 years, but with several exceptions.
- The alleged malpractice was knowingly concealed by the defendant
- The alleged malpractice consisted of leaving an unauthorized foreign object in the body of the patient
- The physical injury and its cause are not known, or could not have been known by the exercise of reasonable diligence
If you believe you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, time is of the essence. Call the Denver medical malpractice attorneys at Burg Simpson as soon as possible to find out what your options are.
WHAT EXPERTS ARE NEEDED FOR YOUR MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASE – AND WHY?
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, and the driver ran a red light, you do not have to hire an expert to prove the other driver was negligent, because a jury of lay people can determine that—they are familiar with the rules of the road. But when you have been injured by a professional, such as a doctor, the circumstance are not as simple. We have to bring in experts to explain to the jury just what happened and how the professional’s conduct caused your injury.
To legally prove a medical malpractice case, you have to demonstrate that the physician made a treatment decision that no reasonable physician would have made under the same or similar circumstances. That unreasonable action is called a “breach of the standard of care.” You also have to show how that violation led to your injury. The jury must understand what their injury is worth, in dollars. Experts are needed for all of these elements.
Liability—Expert(s) to Describe How the Doctor Breached Standard of Care
As a rule, the professional you are suing can only be criticized by an expert in the same field with similar credentials. If the defendant is a physician, board-certified in general surgery, then the expert retained to criticize his care also must be a board-certified general surgeon. There are a few exceptions to this general rule. It is not unusual to have more than one defendant in a medical malpractice suit, and the plaintiff needs an expert qualified to comment on each of them. This requires multiple experts to discuss the standard of care applicable to each defendant and how that standard was breached.
Speak with us today by filling out a FREE Case Evaluation form, or call us directly at 720-792-5595, to learn how our Colorado medical lawsuit attorneys can provide you with the support you need for these complex cases.
Causation—Expert(s) to Describe How the Mistake Caused the Injury
Additional experts are typically needed to discuss how the defendant’s actions caused the plaintiff’s injury. Consider the example of the defendant who is a family doctor who prescribed the wrong medication to a patient. The patient had a bad reaction to the medication and suffered a stroke as a result. In that case, the plaintiff will need a family doctor with similar credentials as the defendant to explain why the prescription was wrong. The plaintiff might also need to hire a neurologist to explain the stroke and a pharmacologist to explain the mechanism underlying how the medication caused the stroke. The plaintiff may even need other specialists to explain other aspects of the causal link between the doctor’s mistake and the injury it incurred. Most of the time, the plaintiff needs multiple experts to cover these issues.
Damages—The Life Care Planner
One of the main goals of a medical negligence lawsuit is to obtain compensation that can cover future medical care the plaintiff will need because of the injury. We can put a price on economic damages such as medical needs, loss of wages, and the loss of the ability to work. Plaintiffs with a permanent injury requiring future care need an expert called a life care planner. This expert will calculate the cost, in dollars, of providing the care plaintiff will need going forward.
An economist is also needed to calculate the value of past and future medical bills and lost wages. The economist takes the life care plan and calculates its net value – including inflation and interest. The life care planner and the economist work together to create a picture of how much the plaintiff’s claim is worth, in current dollars. However, it is important to note that neither of these experts adds any compensation for the plaintiff’s pain and suffering.
Burg Simpson’s Colorado medical malpractice attorneys are well equipped to help you through this complicated process. Call us today at 303-792-5595.
WHAT DOES SUBROGRATION HAVE TO DO WITH MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?
If negligent medical care has left you seriously injured, a successful lawsuit will almost always lead to a “subrogation interest” or “subrogation lien.” If you have health insurance, either through a private company or a federal program, a subrogation lien is typically a certainty. Therefore, as a medical malpractice plaintiff, you need to understand what this means and how it can affect your claim.
Whatever health insurance coverage you have, whether private or public, there is a provision in your contract that essentially says: “We the insurer are going to pay for the medical care you receive. But, if you find out you need medical care as a result of an injury caused by someone else’s negligence, and we paid for that care, we want to be reimbursed if you receive money from a lawsuit against the person who caused your injury.”
Different lawyers handle these issues in different ways. Sometimes your medical injury attorney will hire another lawyer to handle these liens, and other times your lawyer can handle them. Make sure you ask your lawyer what their practice is, and whether you will be charged additional fees or costs.
For whoever handles your liens, the process is essentially this:
- Health insurance providers are identified from information you provide, as well as from your medical records. Every insurer who paid any claims or is listed anywhere in your files will be contacted and notified of pending litigation involving you, their insured.
- Each insurer is asked to provide a list of all paid claims related to your injuries. Periodically throughout the course of litigation, your insurers may provide updated listings of paid claims.
- When the case is nearing resolution, the amount of your liens is considered as part of the settlement, so that you can make a better decision about whether any potential settlement offer will be satisfactory. Your attorney will then review the itemized list of paid claims and notify the insurer which claims were related to the injury that gave rise to your lawsuit.
- Based on that information, the amount you have to pay back to the insurer after your settlement may be adjusted to deduct the claims not caused by malpractice.
- Additional discounts may then be negotiated. Your attorney should ask the lien holder to discount the lien amount based on the fact that you had to pay attorneys’ fees to get your settlement.
- Once a final lien amount is reached, reflecting all discounts and adjustments that can be obtained for you, it must be paid from your settlement proceeds BEFORE FUNDS ARE DISBURSED TO YOU. You may be able to receive some of your settlement money, but the lawyers will be required to hold back enough money to pay the liens and keep that money in a trust until the liens are resolved. Only then will they be able to refund/disburse back to you any amount not needed to pay liens because of discounts.
Because you can’t get your settlement proceeds until your liens have been satisfied, it is critical to know that your attorneys have a handle on what to do and how to get your liens resolved quickly.
Similarly, you should not wait to call our Denver medical lawsuit attorneys at Burg Simpson after you have been injured. It is crucial to start your case immediately after the personal injury occurred, so contact us at 303-792-5595 for your free consultation now.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Finally, it is natural to have questions after such a devastating experience. So we have assembled a thorough Medical Malpractice FAQ to help answer them. No matter how bad your injury, we can help! Burg Simpson’s medical malpractice attorneys will walk you through this case, all the way to trial, if necessary. Fill out a FREE Case Evaluation form today or call us as soon as possible at 303-792-5595!
Why Choose Burg Simpson?
100+ Recoveries in excess of $1M
Award-Winning Firm and Lawyers
$1B in Verdicts, Settlements & Judgments
40+ year history
Our Medical Malpractice Team
- Scott J. Eldredge »
- Janet G. Abaray »
- Scott A. Ambrose »
- Brian C. Dault »
- James G. Heckbert »
- Marc C. Johnson »
- Ronda M. Kelso »
- Angela E. McGraw »
- Charles R. Mendez »
- Lewis A. Osterman »
- Colin M. Simpson »