The Dos and Don'ts of Pursuing Medical Malpractice Claims
It’s a nightmare scenario that nobody likes to think about. You go to your doctor or a hospital to receive medical care and you leave in an even worse condition due to an error or mistake made by your provider. The truth is, medical malpractice and medical negligence happen more frequently than you'd think due to incidents like a misdiagnosis by medical staff or surgical errors.
If something like this has happened to you or a loved one, you need to consult with a medical malpractice attorney about your options for compensation. For those in Durango, Colorado, or the neighboring areas of Telluride, Pagosa Springs, Cortez, or The Four Corners, call us at Downs, McDonough, Cowan & Foley, LLC to schedule a consultation.
Medical Malpractice Claims in Colorado
For most medical malpractice cases in Colorado, you’ll have two years to file a claim, but in some cases, you may have as long as three years. Under state law, you’ll need to present a “certificate of review” that your attorney can help you file. This certificate confirms that an expert in the field reviewed your case and found it to be a justifiable claim.
In all cases, you’ll need to establish that there was a duty of care by medical staff to the patient and that this duty was breached, which resulted in an injury to you. Once this liability in medical malpractice has been proven, you can then request damages related to this injury.
The Dos and Don’ts of Pursuing a Claim
Knowing what to do when filing a medical malpractice claim (as well as what not to do) is essential to set yourself up for the best results:
Don’t delay: Bring the claim forward as quickly as possible after the injury. This may be difficult if the injury takes a long time to present itself, but the sooner you get started, the easier it will be to gather evidence and mount a strong case.
Do research state laws: Although there’s a lot of crossover among states about medical malpractice laws, each state establishes its own notification requirements and rules, such as whether a medical malpractice review is required.
Do keep all documentation: Evidence will be key in your case, which means you need to collect and organize all medical records including your diagnosis, treatment plans, care summaries, and bills.
Do hire an experienced attorney: Medical malpractice claims can be complicated and time-consuming because doctors and healthcare facilities have the financial resources to bring a strong legal defense. This means you also need a skilled lawyer working on your side and advocating for your interests.
Don’t speak with the doctor’s insurance company directly: This communication is best left to your lawyer. Insurance adjusters will try to get you to record a statement which can then later be used against you and you don’t want to inadvertently say something that can hurt your case.
Don’t sign anything without consulting with your attorney: Never agree to a settlement or sign any statements or releases without first having your lawyer review them and advise you of your next steps.
Don’t argue with the doctor: Limit your interaction with the doctor and healthcare facility involved in your lawsuit and never try to argue directly with them.
Don’t miss doctor appointments: It’s important to show a record that you’ve been complying with your doctor’s recommendations and treatment plans, or else your actions will be scrutinized and could eventually discredit you.
Ready to Speak With an Attorney? Contact Our Firm Today
If you’re in the Durango, Colorado, area and feel you have the basis for a medical malpractice claim, reach out to our lawyers at Downs, McDonough, Cowan & Foley, LLC to learn more about your options.