2022 Colorado Code
Title 13 - Courts and Court Procedure
Article 21 - Damages
Part 1 - General Provisions
§ 13-21-117. Civil Liability - Mental Health Providers - Duty to Warn - Definitions
- As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:
- "Mental health provider" means a physician, social worker, psychiatric nurse, psychologist, or other mental health professional, or a mental health hospital, community mental health center or clinic, institution, or their staff.
- "Psychiatric nurse" means a registered professional nurse as defined in section 12-255-104 (11) who, by virtue of postgraduate education and additional nursing preparation, has gained knowledge, judgment, and skill in psychiatric or mental health nursing.
- A mental health provider is not liable for damages in any civil action for failure to warn or protect a specific person or persons, including those identifiable by their association with a specific location or entity, against the violent behavior of a person receiving treatment from the mental health provider, and any such mental health provider must not be held civilly liable for failure to predict such violent behavior except where the patient has communicated to the mental health provider a serious threat of imminent physical violence against a specific person or persons, including those identifiable by their association with a specific location or entity.
- When there is a duty to warn and protect under the provisions of paragraph (a) of this subsection (2), the mental health provider shall make reasonable and timely efforts to notify the person or persons, or the person or persons responsible for a specific location or entity, that is specifically threatened, as well as to notify an appropriate law enforcement agency or to take other appropriate action, including but not limited to hospitalizing the patient. A mental health provider is not liable for damages in any civil action for warning a specific person or persons, or a person or persons responsible for a specific location or entity, against or predicting the violent behavior of a person receiving treatment from the mental health provider.
- A mental health provider must not be subject to professional discipline when there is a duty to warn and protect pursuant to this section.
- The provisions of this section do not apply to the negligent release of a patient from any mental health hospital or ward or to the negligent failure to initiate involuntary seventy-two-hour treatment and evaluation after a personal patient evaluation determining that the person appears to have a mental health disorder and, as a result of the mental health disorder, appears to be an imminent danger to others.
Source: L. 86: Entire section added, p. 687, § 1, effective May 22. L. 2006: Entire section amended, p. 1396, § 37, effective August 7. L. 2014: Entire section R&RE, (HB 14-1271), ch. 109, p. 398, § 1, effective April 7. L. 2018: (3) amended, (SB 18-091), ch. 35, p. 384, § 13, effective August 8. L. 2019: (1)(b) amended, (HB 19-1172), ch. 136, p. 1666, § 72, effective October 1.
Cross references: For the legislative declaration in SB 18-091, see section 1 of chapter 35, Session Laws of Colorado 2018.