Pursuing a Medical Malpractice Claim in Colorado: Be
Aware of the Statutes of Limitations
If you have been injured through a doctor's negligence, you may feel that you
should adopt a "wait-and-see" approach with respect to your injury, or perhaps
you don't "feel up to" deciding whether you want to pursue your legal remedies.
You should, however, bear in mind that the law requires you to pursue legal
remedies sooner rather than later. This requirement is generally known as the
"statute of limitations." If you fail to file your claim within the statute of
limitations, you may be forever barred from bringing your claim, regardless of
the merit of your claim. Finally, statutes of limitations applicable to medical
malpractice actions are often shorter than for other types of personal injury
actions. Therefore, even if you do not think you will be bringing a lawsuit,
consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney is essential to
determine if any action should be taken to preserve your potential claim.
II. If I Have a Valid Claim, Why Do the Courts Care When I File It?
Historically, there were no limitations of time on bringing a claim for injury
to property; the only limit on a claim for injury to a person was the length of
the lives of the people involved. If the plaintiff died as a result of the
injury, the claim died with him. If the defendant died the day he was sued, the
case was over. The problem with this system was that often claims would not be
brought until many years after the triggering event occurred. In the years
between the original injuring event and the subsequent claim, witnesses might
have died or moved away, and documents or other evidence might have been
destroyed or lost. When witnesses were not dead or missing, they often had poor
recollections of the events leading up to the lawsuit. All of these
deficiencies in proof, brought about by the passage of time, left the court in a
less than ideal position for delivering justice.