As a Boulder-Denver area attorney who represents doctors and other healthcare professionals, I’ve noticed that a number of my clients have not given serious thought to protecting their assets against litigation—until they are a defendant in a lawsuit.
- It is my belief that if you work in a healthcare profession, like medicine or dentistry, it is no longer a matter of “if,” but rather “when,” you will be named in a lawsuit—regardless of whether or not you have done anything wrong.
- In addition, physicians, dentists and other healthcare providers make an attractive target for non-malpractice plaintiffs such as unscrupulous landlords, contractors, vendors and even for patients making claims of false advertising.
Unfortunately, by the time many healthcare professionals seek the services of an experienced asset protection attorney—often because they have just been sued—it is too late for them to protect their assets. The optimal time to discuss asset protection with your lawyer is before you actually know that you are going to need protection.
Negotiated Settlements in Colorado Medical and Dental Lawsuits
My practice, the Boulder, CO Law Office of Philip M. Bluestein, only represents individuals who work in healthcare. Some of my clients are faced with medical or dental malpractice suits. Healthcare professionals have to protect their licenses, their practices, and their reputation in their respective fields. Unfortunately, under current Colorado law a settlement of even a frivolous claim can have serious consequences for a healthcare professional.
Despite the fact that most settlements contain no admission of negligence, the public generally assumes that the defendant would not have settled the case if they were not negligent.
Also, physicians, dentists and other licensed providers now must report any settlement to their respective licensing boards, who in turn will post this settlement on their public website for all to see. In addition, a settlement of a malpractice case will result in a report to the National Practitioner Data Bank and often results in an investigation and board complaint with the appropriate licensing board.
Discipline by the licensing board can have even more serious consequences in your career. Finally, since settlements are public information, you now become a more attractive target for frivolous suits and claims as plaintiff’s attorneys are betting that if you settled before you will settle again.
Of course not every case should be litigated in the Colorado civil courts, but in today’s environment the consequences of settling a case make it a much less appealing option. Therefore, it is more likely that cases will be going to trial. In the event of a loss, personal assets of the physician or dentist may be at stake. Malpractice attorneys are looking for large judgments and settlements.
If the physician’s or dentist’s assets are unprotected, these assets may be at risk. In addition, plaintiff’s attorneys often use the threat of going after the physician’s or dentist’s house or other assets to try to force a case to settle.
However, if the plaintiff’s lawyer recognizes the fact that most of the defendant’s assets are protected, then the healthcare provider may become a less attractive target. In addition, knowing that your assets are protected allows you to make decisions based on the merits of the case rather than out of fear of losing everything you have worked for over the years.
Because I’m an attorney who represents doctors such as physicians, dentists, and chiropractors, as well as other healthcare professionals, I am well aware of how hard my clients work for their money. I’m equally aware that most of them have acquired property that they would rather not have taken away due to a frivolous or exaggerated allegation.
There are business structures that may help to protect assets as well as many financial vehicles that can put your hard-earned savings out of reach of the plaintiffs and Colorado civil courts. I can review your practice structure to determine if it’s the best type to protect your practice.
I also work with a team of professionals who provide personal asset protection analysis and options for my clients and can assist them in getting the protection that they need.
If you are a Denver-Boulder area physician, dentist, chiropractor, psychologist or other healthcare professional, and you would like to learn more about protecting your assets, call the Law Office of Philip M. Bluestein to schedule an appointment. Our number is (720) 420-1777.
The foregoing is for general informational purposes only and is not intended, nor should it be construed as legal advice. No attorney client relationship is formed by this article. If you are seeking legal advice regarding your specific questions, you may contact Philip M. Bluestein.