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What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is an umbrella term for medical malpractice and medical negligence. A patient suffers medical malpractice when they receive an injury because medical professionals made medical errors, failed to deliver sufficient care, or provided care that deviated from the standard care required for their condition.

Medical Malpractice vs. Medical Negligence

The distinction between medical malpractice and negligence centers on intent. 

When not serving as a legal umbrella term, medical malpractice refers to harm done to patients because of a medical professional’s deliberate actions. Suppose your spouse goes to the hospital. Their symptoms include a severe headache, blood coming out of their ears, vomiting, and slurred speech. Although these are all signs of a potential brain bleed, the doctor tells them to go home and rest. Consequently, your spouse dies.

In that case, the doctor made a deliberate decision to ignore multiple symptoms of a brain bleed, failed to order tests to assess your spouse’s condition, and didn’t provide treatment. That is an example of intentional negligence or medical malpractice.

Medical negligence occurs because of unintentional mistakes. Suppose a nurse has been working for 15 hours and misreads the instructions when giving you your medication before you’re discharged. Consequently, you’re one of the 22% of patients who are readmitted to the hospital because of a medication error, incurring additional medical expenses while receiving treatment for your symptoms.

In this case, the nurse did not consciously decide to make a medical error. However, they did make a mistake that caused injury, which qualifies as medical negligence.

Common reasons for medical malpractice or negligence cases:

  • Birth injuries
  • Dismissing symptoms
  • Incorrect diagnosis
  • Medication errors
  • Mixing up patient charts
  • Not informing the patient of side effects
  • Surgical errors
  • Treatment delays

Proving Medical Malpractice Or Negligence In Denver, Colorado

Proving a medical malpractice case involves establishing the minimum standard of care for your condition. That minimum standard could involve diagnostic tests or treatment for your symptoms. Patients have a right to expect medical professionals to provide the minimum standard of care when they report symptoms. 

However, when medical professionals do not provide the minimum standard of care, there are grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit if a patient suffers an injury because the medical professional failed to deliver the minimum standard of care. 

Calculating Damages 

Most medical malpractice victims can seek economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are monetary amounts sought to reimburse you for costs you incurred because of the malpractice, including the following:

  • Burial costs
  • Childcare bills
  • Funeral costs
  • Lost income
  • Medical bills

Non-economic damages are more complicated because they are non-monetary damages. ‘Non-monetary’ does not mean you don’t receive money; the grounds for these damages do not come with receipts you can add. Justification for non-economic damages includes the following:

  • Adverse impact on your quality of life
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Disfigurement
  • Grief
  • Loss of intimacy
  • Pain and suffering
  • Phobias
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Some medical malpractice victims can seek punitive damages; however, to do so, they must prove that the medical professional took deliberate actions they knew were likely to cause harm. 

How Long Do You Have To File Your Case In Denver?

A statute of limitations is the time available to file a specific type of claim. Those filing medical malpractice lawsuits in Colorado have 24 months to file their claim unless there is a reason to toll (pause) the timer or extend the deadline. For example, if the medical professional took steps to conceal their error, you have 36 months to file your case.

Bachus & Schanker Can Help

Our Denver medical malpractice attorneys understand the pain and trauma of suffering from medical malpractice. Our team will step in and handle legal matters and fight for you to receive justice while you focus on your recovery. Our attorneys will handle the following:

  • Providing legal counsel: We will answer any questions you have and explain your options.
  • Establishing deadlines: We’ll determine how long you have to file your claim and ensure it’s filed before the statute of limitations expires.
  • Investigating: Our team will visit the scene, gather evidence, interview witnesses, issue subpoenas for medical records, and take any other steps needed to establish you suffered from medical malpractice.
  • Calculating damages: We will ensure you include all valid grounds for damages in your claim and help you calculate the damages to seek.
  • Completing, filing, and serving legal paperwork: We’ll file the required paperwork with the courts and notify the defendant to ensure your case proceeds.
  • Negotiating with the defendant: We’ll handle settlement negotiations, fighting for you to receive the maximum compensation available without going to court. 

We’ll represent you at trial if we do not settle your case.

For wrongful deaths and catastrophic injuries resulting from medical malpractice, our Victim’s Advocate team provides support while we work on your case and will help you locate potential resources for financial assistance while waiting for your settlement.

We’re here to help you get justice for your medical malpractice injury. We offer free consultations and won’t charge fees until we win your case. 

Sources:

Bieber, C. (2024). Medical Malpractice Statistics of 2024.  

Holland, K. (2023). Internal Bleeding: Causes, Treatments, and More.

Report Highlights Public Health Impact of Serious Harms from Diagnostic Error in U.S. (2023). 

Tariq, R., et al. (2022). Medication Dispensing Errors and Prevention.

You Deserve Fair Compensation

Don’t let the insurance companies intimidate you into accepting less than you deserve. We’re ready to fight for you.

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Written and Legally Reviewed By: Kyle Bachus

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Kyle is a member of the Colorado and Florida Bar associations and has served on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association for more than twenty years in total. Over the years, Kyle has achieved justice for many clients. He has served on numerous committees and repeatedly won recognition from his peers at both the state and national level. He is proud of the role he has played in the passage of state and national legislation to protect consumers and is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer.