When the majority of people seek medical treatment or advice from a doctor or other medical professional, they receive an adequate level of care that conforms to the reasonable standard established for the type of medical care being administered. However, millions of people are the unfortunate recipients of sub-standard care, where a medical professional makes a preventable mistake that leads to devastating harm to the patient and forever alters the course of his and his family’s life.
This egregious error may be an act, such as prescribing the wrong medication or treating a condition in an improper manner, or an omission, which may be failing to make a correct diagnosis. When that negligence results in serious harm, it is critical to get the appropriate level of compensation in order to deal with the negative consequences. However, there is a time limit in which a legal action may be brought. When that time period has closed, there is nothing that can be done, no matter how egregious the error.
Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations in Colorado
The statutes of limitations for medical malpractice and other actions vary in each state. In Colorado, the general rule is that a person has two years from the time that the injury was discovered, or should have been discovered based on the specific facts of the case, in order to commence a legal action. (See Colorado Revised Statutes § 13-80-102.5). A medical malpractice case may be brought against a doctor, nurse, therapist, other medical professional, or facility. The action is commenced by the injured patient, or his parent or guardian depending on the age of the victim at the time of the negligence. If the patient dies as a result of the medical malpractice, the family may be able to bring a wrongful death action. With a medical malpractice action, there is a strict limit of three years from the time in which the negligent act or omission occurred, with narrow exceptions for minors and the intentional concealment of evidence of the negligent acts, as well as negligence involving a foreign object left in the patient.
The statute of limitations serves to bar a case from being heard by the court. However, it is up to the defendants to raise the missed deadline as the reason why a case should be dismissed. It is nearly a certainty that any medical professional is going to raise the fact that a case is barred as being untimely filed, so this is not a hope that a plaintiff should entertain.
In addition to a limit on the time when a person can commence a medical malpractice action, there are caps in Colorado on the amount of damages that a person can recover, both economic and non-economic damages. These limits are $300,000.00 for noneconomic damages and a total limit of $1 million dollars.
Exceptions to the Strict Time Limits on Filing a Medical Malpractice Action in Colorado
The time period of two years from the time of the negligent act or omission, with an absolute limit of three years if there is a delayed discovery is strictly enforced by the courts. However, there are several exceptions that apply in Colorado, which include the following:
- The doctor or medical professional took steps to conceal the cause of the harm, or otherwise commit a fraud that interferes with the plaintiff’s ability to bring a medical malpractice case;
- The patient was harmed as the result of a foreign object, such as a surgical sponge or instrument, being left in the patient at the conclusion of the surgery or other invasive procedure;
- The discovery of the harm was not possible, even through the application of reasonable diligence; and
- The victim of the medical malpractice was a minor under the age of six years, in which case the guardians or parents of the child have until the minor’s eighth birthday to file a legal action.
Stern Law, PLLC Uses Its Skill and Experience to Get Justice for Victims
There are many reasons why it is critical for the victim of medical malpractice to get the right legal representation as early as possible. There are many steps that must be taken in Colorado in order to bring a medical malpractice case, including finding a medical expert who will certify that the injuries suffered by the plaintiff are the result of the negligent actions of the medical professional. However, one of the most crucial steps is to ensure that the case is filed within the proscribed statute of limitations. At Stern Law, PLLC, our attorney has spent more than 30 years working hard to get our clients the results that they deserve, including ensuring prompt and timely legal filings so the case has a chance to be heard on the merits. We strive to provide answers for everyone who has suffered, or may have suffered, from medical malpractice. We have knowledgeable representatives available to respond to questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call us at 1-844-808-7529 or fill out an online contact form in order to learn how we can help you get through this difficult time.