What’s going on in the Colorado Medical Malpractice Insurance Market
In the State of Colorado, tort reform imposes a limit on all damages as well as non-economic damages for medical malpractice claims. The Colorado medical malpractice insurance market has seemed favorable for malpractice insurers and therefore more carriers have begun to write business in the state as well as offering more competitive premiums and discounts available.
It is extremely important to have an experienced agent on your side to assist you in navigating among the various insurance companies and policies. Desert Mountain Insurance will research and evaluate the coverage provided by Colorado medical malpractice insurance coverage companies and to ensure you are well informed in the purchase of a policy.
Records Retention Requirement for Colorado Physicians and Colorado Malpractice Insurance
The Colorado Medical Board has recommended that medical practices retain their medical records for a period of 7 years after the last date a patient was treated in their practice or 7 years after the patient’s 18th birthday. There is no state or local law imposing this rule, however, each practice and provider must review their contracts to determine if a longer time frame is required of them.
Pursuant to Section 12-240-142, C.R.S, each physician is required to develop a written plan regarding the storage, disposal, handling in event of death, retirement or close of practice as well as the method for patients to access records.
Such administrative responsibilities outside a physician’s direct patient care, may not be automatically covered on a Colorado medical malpractice insurance policy. However, it is more common that Colorado medical professional liability insurance policies are providing coverage for cyber liability and data breach of medical records. It is important to discuss these coverages and potential exposures with a qualified Colorado medical malpractice insurance agent. They will be able to determine if administrative coverage is automatically included or available upon request.
Colorado Professional Liability Insurance and Statute of Limitations
Like most states, Colorado has a specific statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases. The statute of limitations also includes a standard and “outside” deadline, and when the time starts running depends on the circumstance.
In Colorado, any lawsuit based on alleged medical negligence by a health care professional or institution must be filed within two years after the action “accrues.” Colorado law says that the cause of action accrues when “both the injury and its cause are known or should have been known by the exercise of reasonable diligence.” Beyond the standard two-year deadline, Colorado law says that “in no event” may a medical malpractice lawsuit be filed more than three years after the incident of alleged negligence. Details regarding limitations and exceptions, such as minors, incapacitated patients, and more can be found in the Colorado Revised Statutes section 13-80-102.5, 13-81-103, and 13-80-108.
In addition, Colorado requires that each malpractice complaint obtain a Certificate of Review validating that the case being brought passes validity requirements outlined in Colorado Rev. Stat. §§ 13-20-602,
Colorado Limit on Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases
In Colorado, punitive damages cannot exceed the amount of compensatory damages awarded. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-21-102(1)(a). Though economic damages are not capped, non-economic damages in any civil action other than medical malpractice cannot exceed $613,760, which may be increased by the court upon clear and convincing evidence to a maximum of $1,227,530. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-21-102.5(3)(a). Colorado adjusts the caps every two years, with the next adjustment set for January 1, 2022. The current caps apply to claims for relief that accrue on and after January 1, 2020, and before January 1, 2022. Non-economic damages for medical malpractice claims are controlled separately and capped at $300,000. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-64-302(c).
Shared Liability Rules
Colorado allows for “contributory negligence” in the recovery of damages which means the court will take into account the defendant’s negligence when determining the amount of damages. (Colo. Rev. Stat. §13-21-111 )
We partner with many major national medical professional liability insurance carriers as well as local Colorado medical professional liability insurance companies. We not only shop around to find several Colorado medical malpractice insurance rates but evaluate Colorado professional liability insurance coverage and provide objective guidance to our Colorado clients so they may select the professional liability carrier, professional liability policy, and malpractice protection that meets their specific needs. Call us today at (480) 348-2200 for more information!