CALL (800) 863-5312 TODAY TO SPEAK WITH A NEW MEXICO MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWYER FOR FREE
No one expects to be injured by their doctor when they seek treatment, but unfortunately it happens. Your doctor or healthcare provider may have acted negligently, or failed to act entirely, and now you are left to suffer the consequences. Your injuries can be expensive, with out-of-pocket medical costs and the additional costs associated with being out of work.
You may be curious about how and what you can recover. New Mexico places limits onmonetary awards, so you should speak with a medical malpractice attorney about your expectations. If you or a loved one have been injured by a doctor or nurse, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 today. Schedule your first, 100% free consultation with one of our New Mexico medical malpractice lawyers near you.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-863-5312
NEW MEXICO MEDICAL MALPRACTICE FAQS
Medical malpractice claims are more common than people realize. A study published by Johns Hopkins University in 2016 found medical errors to be the third leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for roughly 250,000 deaths per year. Suffering injury at the hands of your healthcare provider can cause a lot of hurt and confusion. The following list of New Mexico Malpractice FAQs will be able to shed light on the basics for you. If you feel that you have been the victim of medical negligence, contact a medical malpractice attorney in New Mexico as soon as possible.
What is Medical Malpractice?
A claim for medical malpractice is a type of civil claim involving negligence, and medical malpractice involves claims concerning a doctor or healthcare provider’s negligent professional activity. The American Bar Association defines medical malpractice as negligence committed by a professional healthcare provider—a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital, or hospital worker—whose performance of duties departs from a standard of practice of those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to a patient or patients.
If you have suffered an injury due to the negligent acts of your doctor, you may be the victim of medical malpractice. If you choose to pursue a claim, contact a medical malpractice attorney in New Mexico as soon as possible.
Is There a Time Limit to File a Claim?
In the legal system, you will encounter time limits for certain kinds of claims. These time limits are called “statutes of limitations,” and each state has their own rules. An injured patient needs to file their lawsuit before the time limit is up, or else their case is barred from consideration.
In New Mexico, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is three years from the time of your injury. This means that you have three years from the day your doctor’s negligence caused your injury in order to file a claim. If you do not file within the three years, you lose your right to bring the claim in the future.
There are circumstances that may toll or “pause” the statute of limitations; for example, if the injured patient is a minor who was under the age of six at the time of his or her injury, a medical malpractice claim can be brought until he or she turns nine. There are other circumstances that also toll the statute of limitations, and an experienced medical malpractice attorney will be able to determine if any of the exceptions apply to you. So, if you are approaching the end of your limitations period, contact a medical malpractice attorney immediately if you wish to pursue your claim.
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What Do I Do If I Was Hurt in Treatment?
If you have been hurt during any treatment because of the negligence of your doctor or healthcare provider, the first thing you should do is have your injuries treated; you should find a new doctor to assess and treat your injuries. Your new treatment and assessment will provide proper documentation of your injury which will be added to your medical records; this documentation can help uncover the extent of your injury or illness. After your treatment, be sure to obtain a copy of your medical records.
An experienced New Mexico medical malpractice lawyer will be able to use your records as evidence while pursuing your claim or potential lawsuit. A lawyer will use your medical records to seek the medical opinions of other professionals regarding your injuries. The opinions of these professionals may be important to your case.
After you have addressed your injuries, your next step is to consult with a New Mexico medical malpractice attorney. Explain to the attorney exactly what happened to you, from the first time you visited your doctor through your last contact with him or her. The attorney may then ask you questions about your treatment; your answers to these questions will help that attorney determine whether you have a claim for medical malpractice and how to then proceed.
Common questions you may be asked by your attorney in the initial consultation include:
- What were the circumstances surrounding your illness or injury?
- How did your doctor treat it?
- What did your doctor tell you about your treatment?
- Did you follow your doctor’s instructions?
- What happened to you?
Do I Have a Case?
For you to have a claim for medical malpractice, you must show that your physician or provider acted negligently in providing care, and that such negligence resulted in your injury or illness. New Mexico law requires persons injured by substandard medical care to prove:
- the existence of a doctor-patient relationship or a standard duty of care;
- the health care provider was “negligent,” meaning that the care provided was below the prevailing standard of care within the medical profession;
- the patient suffered injury as a result of negligent medical care; and
- the patient suffered damages as a result of their injury.
It is important to note that dissatisfaction with the results of treatment does not imply malpractice. Contact a New Mexico medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible if you believe that you have suffered an injury due to a healthcare provider’s negligence. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer will advise you of your rights and help you decide the best course of action.
How Does a Jury Decide If a Doctor’s Actions Were Negligent?
In the rare case that your lawsuit does go to trial, a jury will decide whether your doctor’s actions were negligent. In coming to this decision, the jury will listen to expert testimony; experts will testify as to what the proper course of action would have been for a competent doctor providing the appropriate standard of care. Jurors will be told to rely on this testimony to decide whether your doctor acted as a competent doctor would have in circumstances similar to those of your case.
Do I Need a Medical Malpractice Attorney in New Mexico?
Though it is possible to pursue a claim on your own, it is better to consult a medical malpractice attorney in New Mexico first before taking any action. The procedural rules and laws surrounding medical malpractice claims are very complex, and working with a New Mexico medical malpractice lawyer will ensure that you meet all of the requirements for filing your case properly and on time.
How Much Can I Recover for a Medical Injury in New Mexico?
Being the victim of medical negligence is not only emotionally taxing but also very expensive. You may have had to pay out-of-pocket medical costs to treat your additional injury or illness and, as a result, find yourself low on funds or in debt. Fortunately, you may be able to receive compensation for some or all of these expenses through compensatory damages.
Compensatory damages cover both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are the direct, out-of-pocket costs associated with your injury or illness, while non-economic damages cover the physical and emotional toll of your injury or illness, such as mental anguish and pain and suffering. Through damages, you may recover for:
- Past medical costs associated with your injury
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
An experienced New Mexico medical malpractice lawyer will be able to explain to you the specifics of the costs you can recover. Afterwards, they will work tirelessly to help you receive maximum compensation on your claim.
Medical Malpractice Recovery Limits
Like some states, New Mexico does place a limit on the amount of damages you may recover in a medical malpractice lawsuit; New Mexico’s Medical Malpractice Act covers the upper limit or “damage cap” on the amount of damages that can be awarded. The total amount that a plaintiff recovers must not exceed $600,000; this limit does not include medical expenses and punitive damages, however. In addition, monetary damages shall not be awarded for future medical expenses in malpractice claims.
The defendant healthcare provider cannot be held personally liable for more than $200,000 for the monetary damages and medical expenses awarded. Nevertheless, this amount may be covered by a private insurance policy. Any amount due from a judgment or settlement in excess of $200,000 is paid from the New Mexico Patient Compensation Fund.