New Mexico Medical Malpractice: Laws, Claims and Damages
UPDATED: March 7, 2012
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NEW MEXICO MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
When a New Mexico health care provider uses a standard of care in treating a patient that falls below the standard of care in their industry, resulting in injury to the patient, the patient may file a New Mexico medical malpractice suit against the health care provider. The standard of care is determined by how other similarly experienced health care professionals in the same field would treat a patient. Failure to treat a patient with this standard of care leads to medical negligence if the health care provider then injures the patient as a result. New Mexico medical malpractice law allows the injured patient to have recourse for injuries obtained by the negligent health care provider. The following are common situations in which a suit for medical malpractice arises:
- Mistakes in prescribing medicine;
- Injuries suffered during birth;
- Inadequate or failed diagnosis or treatment of a condition;
- Mistakes in diagnosis of a condition (in particular incorrect cancer or heart attack diagnoses).
A New Mexico medical malpractice attorney should be consulted immediately if you believe that you have incurred an injury as a result of a health care provider’s medical negligence.
Who Can Be Sued in a New Mexico Medical Malpractice Case?
In New Mexico, any individual or entity that is defined as a “health care provider” can be held liable for medical malpractice. To fall within this definition, a health care provider must be licensed to perform medical services on patients in New Mexico. This includes, but is not limited to, medical groups, physicians, doctors, surgeons, hospitals, midwives, nurses, nursing homes, and clinics. If you are unsure whether your injury was caused by an individual or entity qualifying as a health care provider, a medical malpractice attorney will be able to help you with this inquiry.
New Mexico Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is the allowable time limit within which an injured party can file a suit against the negligent health care provider. In New Mexico, the patient has three years from the date of the negligent action (or inaction) to file a suit against the health care provider. However, if the injured party is a minor under the age of six, they have up until their ninth birthday to file a claim for medical malpractice.
Because your claim will be barred if it is not brought within the statute of limitations, it is in your best interest to contact a New Mexico attorney immediately if a negligent health care provider has injured you.
Caps on Medical Malpractice Claims in New Mexico
A patient can recover both compensatory and punitive damages in a New Mexico medical malpractice suit. Compensatory damages include economic damages (all financial losses) and noneconomic damages (pain and suffering, loss of companionship, or disfigurement). New Mexico limits the total amount of these damages to $600,000, not including damages for medical care. The health care provider only need pay a maximum of $200,000 out of this amount, and the rest is paid through the New Mexico Patient’s Compensation Fund. Punitive damages are not limited. However, these damages are rare, and only awarded to punish a malicious, fraudulent, willful, or wanton health care provider.
Damages are calculated based on the individual circumstances of your case. To determine what type and how much recoverable damages are available to you, you should consult a New Mexico medical malpractice attorney today.
Filing a New Mexico Medical Malpractice Claim
A patient that wants to recover damages for their injuries should contact a New Mexico medical malpractice attorney before filing their claim. Medical malpractice suits are difficult to negotiate and litigate, and because expert witness testimony is almost always needed to prove your case, the litigation can get very expensive. Further, depositions must often be taken, deadlines must be met, and there will generally be more than a few court appearances. The defense will usually be made up of accomplished and experienced insurance attorneys who have been specially trained to defend health care providers against medical malpractice claims.
Also, since there may be several defendants in one medical malpractice suit, such as the health care provider, their employer, or the manufacturer of defective medical equipment, there may be several teams of defense lawyers you will be up against. Hiring a New Mexico medical malpractice attorney to navigate your claim for you while protecting you from making any dire mistakes along the way will ensure the best recovery possible for your injuries.
New Mexico Medical Malpractice Laws
- Torts: Medical Malpractice Act: Definitions: Chp. 41, Art. 5, §3.
- Torts: Medical Malpractice Act: Limitations: Chp. 41, Art. 5, §13.
- Torts: Medical Malpractice Act: Limitation of recovery; Future medical expenses: Chp. 41, Art. 5, §§6-7.