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CHAPTER 10: SELECTED CIVIL CLAIMS - Table of Contents

10.1 - Alternate Dispute Resolution10.2 - Bankruptcy10.3 - Dissolution of Marriage10.4 - Intellectual Property10.5 - Personal Injury10.6 - Professional Malpractice10.7 - Real Estate10.8 - Taxation

10.6 PROFESSIONAL MALPRACTICE

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

Medical malpractice occurs whenever a doctor, dentist, nurse, administrator, hospital or other health care professional or organization acts negligently and causes injury. A health care provider generally acts negligently by actions which fall below the appropriate standard of care for the applicable medical specialty. Injuries caused by failure to act, as opposed to wrongful acts, are also compensable.

Medical negligence may include, by way of example, failure to properly diagnose a patient, failure to properly examine a patient, failure to order the proper tests, failure to properly treat a patient, failure to obtain proper consent from a patient, birth injuries, and improper surgery.

Claims for medical malpractice generally must be brought within two years of the time that the injured party knew or reasonably should have known of the malpractice. There are different limitation periods for children and incompetent people, those incapable of handling their own affairs. If the negligent party is a governmental entity or an employee of a governmental entity (e.g. a health care professional working at Denver General, University or Children's Hospitals) notice must be given to each potential defendant within 180 days of the negligent act. Failure to act within the appropriate time period can result in the forfeiture of the right to make a claim. Certificate of review must be filed within 60 days after the defendant is served with the complaint certifying that a professional in the same field of practice as the defendant is of the opinion that negligence has occurred.

Damages for medical malpractice against a hospital or physician generally may not exceed $1,000,000 per patient with not more than $250,000 attributed to non-economic loss or injury. Courts may award in excess of this cap in certain instances. Most claimants can recover damages for a valid claim in the following categories: economic losses, including past wages, future earning capacity, medical expenses, lost past and future home services; physical and mental pain and suffering; and physical impairment.

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