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Medical malpractice suits can be complex and emotionally draining for those involved. It is a serious matter which can have lasting health, emotional, and financial implications that should never be overlooked. Fortunately, those injured due to medical malpractice have legal recourse in the form of filing an insurance claim or a medical malpractice lawsuit. Understanding your rights as a patient is essential for obtaining just compensation from negligent healthcare professionals or medical facilities. If you or someone close to you has suffered due to potential malpractice, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other healthcare professional fails to provide an acceptable standard of care. This means that if a doctor makes a mistake in diagnosis, treatment, or management of care that deviates from accepted standards in the medical community, they may be found liable for any resulting damages.
It’s important to note that not all bad outcomes are caused by medical malpractice; some are just unfortunate but unavoidable risks associated with certain treatments. It’s always best to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney before making any claims against a healthcare provider.
While there are many types of medical malpractice claims that can be made, here are some of the most common ones that you may encounter.
This occurs when a doctor fails to diagnose an illness correctly or in a timely manner, which can result in serious injury or even death for the patient. For example, if your loved one is brought to the hospital with chest pain but the doctor fails to diagnose it as a heart attack until it’s too late, this could be considered misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis.
Another type of medical malpractice claim is related to medication errors. For example, when a doctor prescribes the wrong dosage of medication or the wrong medication altogether. This can lead to serious side effects such as organ damage or even death.
This occurs when a surgeon makes an error during surgery which results in personal injury or wrongful death for the patient. Examples include improper sterilization techniques leading to infection, operating on the wrong part of the body, leaving instruments inside a patient after surgery, performing unnecessary surgery on a patient, and anesthesia errors.
Medical malpractice claims can be complicated, and it is important to understand all your options before taking legal action against a healthcare provider or hospital. It is also important to know what types of damages are available and how much money one can expect to recover if successful.
Economic damages refer to any out-of-pocket expenses that result from medical malpractice, such as medical bills, lost income, and related costs. In New Mexico, providers and hospitals must have insurance to pay the first $200,000 of any medical malpractice claim, with the remaining payment coming from the Patient’s Compensation Fund. There is no cap on the amount of damages you can collect for medical expenses.
Future medical expenses can be awarded, but these funds will be paid as the expenses are incurred.
Non-economic damages refer to intangible losses such as pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life due to physical or emotional injury caused by medical malpractice. These types of damages are typically more difficult to quantify than economic ones because they involve subjective factors like mental anguish or emotional trauma.
In New Mexico, non-economic damages and damages other than medical expenses are capped at $750,000 (as of 2023). This means for lost income and non-economic damages, you cannot be awarded more than $750,000 (in addition to your award for medical expenses).
Punitive damages can be awarded in a medical malpractice case as a way to punish the defendant and deter them and others from engaging in similar types of behavior in the future. To be awarded punitive damages, the defendant’s behavior must meet a certain level of culpability; the behavior must malicious, willful, reckless, or wanton.
In New Mexico, medical malpractice victims have three years from the date of the malpractice to file a claim. In limited circumstances, there are exceptions. For example, victims who were under six years old at the time of the incident have until their 9th birthday to bring forth legal action if necessary.
While three years may sound like a long time, it’s important to reach out to a Albuquerque personal injury lawyer as soon as possible once you suspect malpractice. This will allow your medical malpractice attorney to begin gathering evidence and building your case, which can be harder to do the more time passes. The longer you wait, the less likely you are to find witnesses who remember the event.
At the Davis Kelin Law Firm, we have the experience and dedication to delivering the best service for our clients. Here’s what sets us apart from the rest:
For help with a medical malpractice claim, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
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