After one week of trial and one day of jury deliberations, a Colorado legal malpractice jury determined on December 8, 2014 that the plaintiff’s former Colorado medical malpractice attorneys were negligent in their failure to file the plaintiff’s Colorado medical malpractice case before the statute of limitations expired for the underlying claim. The jury’s verdict will result in the plaintiff recovering in excess of $800,000.
The Underlying Medical Malpractice Claim
The plaintiff started to have headaches beginning in 2006 that progressively worsened in intensity, for which she sought medical attention at a local Colorado hospital in October 2006. An MRI taken at the hospital was read as being normal. The plaintiff then went to her primary care physician, who prescribed migraine headache medications. However, her headaches did not improve over the course of three years and she began having loss of vision and numbness on the left side of her face, for which she returned to the hospital in July 2009.
A second MRI was performed at that time that showed a large meningioma by her spinal cord that was affecting her optic nerve. The original MRI from 2006 was reviewed and was found to show the meningioma, which had increased ten-fold in size between the 2006 MRI and the 2009 MRI. Had the tumor been correctly and timely diagnosed in 2006, it could have been treated by focused radiation therapy alone. Due to the negligent delay in diagnosis of the tumor, the intervening three years, and the resulting growth in the tumor size, the plaintiff required three brain surgeries that were unable to remove the entire tumor.
The plaintiff hired a local Colorado medical malpractice lawyer to represent her with regard to her claim for medical negligence. The law firm worked on the plaintiff’s case for over two years but negligently failed to file her Colorado medical malpractice lawsuit within the required time frame. Under Colorado law, as in many other U.S. states, in order to recover for a claim of legal malpractice arising out of the negligent handling of a medical malpractice claim (in this case, for the original law firm’s failure to timely file the medical malpractice lawsuit before the expiration of the statute of limitations), the plaintiff needs to prove not only that the law firm committed legal malpractice, but that the plaintiff would have been successful (prevailed) in her underlying medical malpractice claim had the legal malpractice not occurred. This burden of proof for legal malpractice claims arising from medical malpractice claims is often referred to as having to prove a case within a case.
If you or a loved one were injured (or worse) as a result of medical negligence in Colorado or in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a Colorado medical malpractice attorney (or a medical malpractice attorney in your state) who may investigate your medical negligence claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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