New Mexico Medical Malpractice Attorney
The last thing any person should ever have to endure is an injury or illness caused by the negligent actions of a medical provider. Unfortunately, medical mistakes are not uncommon in New Mexico or throughout the U.S. At Liles White, our team is here to help if you need a New Mexico medical malpractice attorney by your side. The New Mexico personal injury attorneys at Liles White have the resources and experience necessary to take on negligent medical professionals and healthcare systems as we work to secure the compensation you are entitled to for what happened.
Why Choose Liles White for Your Case?
- The attorneys at Liles White have built a reputation for success, and we regularly receive referrals from other attorneys and former clients throughout the U.S.
- Our law firm provides a personalized approach to every single personal injury case that we take, which means we take the time to get to know our clients’ goals and needs.
- Our personal injury attorneys prepare every medical malpractice case that we take for trial to ensure that we are ready for every possible outcome while working to secure the compensation our clients need.
Why Do You Need a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in New Mexico?
Medical malpractice lawsuits are some of the most complex types of litigation that a person can be involved in. It is nearly impossible for any individual to handle every aspect of these claims without assistance from a skilled medical malpractice attorney.
A medical malpractice attorney can use their resources and legal expertise to conduct a complete investigation into the case. The role of an attorney will be to obtain all evidence needed to prove liability, which can include medical records, statements from other medical professionals involved, medical experts who can testify in court, and more. Additionally, an attorney will also handle all negotiations and communication with other parties involved in an attempt to reach a fair out-of-court settlement on behalf of their client. If necessary, an attorney will fully prepare to take a case to trial to ensure their client is treated fairly.
Understanding Medical Mistakes That Occur in New Mexico
Unfortunately, medical mistakes can occur in a wide variety of ways. According to researchers from Johns Hopkins University, preventable medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. However, we know that thousands of others survive significant injuries or illnesses as a result of these mistakes and are left dealing with the consequences.
At Liles White, our New Mexico medical malpractice attorneys have experience helping clients who have been injured due to the following types of medical mistakes:
- Failure to treat
- Failure to diagnose
- Surgical mistakes
- Anesthesia mistakes
- Failure to follow fall prevention protocols
- Failing to obtain informed consent
- Prescription medication mistakes
- Obstetrical errors/birth errors
- Healthcare-acquired infections
This is certainly not an all-inclusive list of the ways that medical errors can occur, and we strongly encourage you to reach out to one of our attorneys so we can investigate what happened in your case.
New Mexico’s Medical Malpractice Laws
The New Mexico Medical Malpractice Act governs medical malpractice in New Mexico. The Act provides a limited amount of liability along with other protections for physicians and other healthcare providers who purchase insurance required by the Act.
Only those providers who purchase this insurance are “qualified healthcare providers” under the Act. A provider who is not a qualified healthcare provider does not receive the Act’s limitations on liability and procedural protections. The medical review commission has a list of healthcare providers covered by the Act.
If a healthcare provider is not listed, then a medical malpractice case can proceed against that provider without special caps on damages or procedural requirements.
What if a Healthcare Provider is Qualified Under the Act?
A qualified healthcare provider under the Act has purchased malpractice liability insurance of at least two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) per occurrence. They also pay an annual surcharge to a patient compensation fund that is available for malpractice claims against qualified healthcare providers.
Damages Caps on Qualified Healthcare Providers
Qualified healthcare providers are afforded a maximum $600,000 per occurrence cap on the amount recoverable by all persons for or arising from any injury or death to a patient due to malpractice. Therefore, the maximum dollar amount a patient and their family members can recover for a claim is $600,000. The $600,000 cap does not apply to punitive damages, medical care, or related benefits.
Future medical expenses are not recoverable as part of the medical malpractice claim. Instead, future medical care is paid by the medical provider’s $200,000 insurance coverage or by the patient compensation fund when that is exhausted.
When a healthcare provider purchases the $200,000 insurance authorized by the Act, then the healthcare provider’s personal liability is capped at that $200,000. Any judgment or settlement over the $200,000 is to be paid by a Patient Compensation Fund set up by the Act.
The Patient Compensation Fund
The Patient Compensation Fund comprises surcharges paid by qualified healthcare providers every year as part of compliance with the Act. The fund’s purpose is to pay for settlements and judgments of medical malpractice claims that exceed the provider’s personal liability insurance limit of $200,000.
It is collected and received by the superintendent, and the fund and income’s only use is satisfying settlements and judgments against qualified healthcare providers.
The Medical Review Commission
Before filing any lawsuit against a qualified healthcare provider, the claimant must submit a written application to the medical review commission outlining the alleged malpractice. A panel of three members from the health care provider’s profession and three members from the state bar association will conduct a hearing regarding the claim. The claimant and the healthcare provider may attend the hearing and provide any relevant evidence.
After the hearing, the panel will decide:
- Whether there is substantial evidence that the acts complained of occurred; and
- That they constitute malpractice; and
- Whether there is a reasonable medical probability that the patient was injured thereby.
The panel’s decision is non-binding and not admissible in evidence. However, it is a strong starting point for settlement negotiations or can lead to the dismissal of a weak claim.
Statute of Limitations for a Medical Malpractice Claim in New Mexico
In New Mexico, there is a time limit or statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. The time limit to file a medical malpractice claim is three years from the date of alleged malpractice. Under the Act, there are no tolling provisions for claims against qualified healthcare providers.
The Act also allows minors under six until their ninth birthday to file a lawsuit.
Types of Compensation Available for a Medical Malpractice Claim
There may be various types of economic and non-economic compensation available to victims of medical malpractice in New Mexico. At Liles White, our team of medical malpractice attorneys work diligently to secure the following types of compensation for our clients:
- Economic damages. This refers to the type of compensation that can be calculated fairly easily by adding up medical bills, pay stubs, and receipts. This can include coverage of the following:
- Medical expenses
- Prescription medication costs
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Lost income
- General household out-of-pocket expenses
- Non-economic damages. This refers to the type of compensation that is a bit more difficult to calculate because there are no bills or receipts to add up. Often, you will hear these damages referred to as a medical malpractice victim’s “pain and suffering,” and this can include a person’s:
- Physical pain
- Mental suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Physical impairment
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Loss of sexual function
- Emotional distress
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
There is no set amount of money paid to victims of medical malpractice claims in New Mexico. Rather, the total compensation amount will depend on the various circumstances related to each particular medical malpractice lawsuit. This can include the severity of the injury or illness caused by the mistake, the length of a victim’s recovery time, the overall medical bills, and the level of pain and suffering involved.
How Can You Afford a Medical Malpractice Attorney in New Mexico?
At Liles White, we want you to know that we take New Mexico medical malpractice cases on a contingency fee basis. If we take your case, this means that you will pay no upfront or out-of-pocket costs. You will only pay legal fees after we obtain the compensation you are entitled to through a favorable settlement or verdict.
Contact a New Mexico Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been injured or becomes ill due to the careless or negligent actions of a medical provider, contact the team at Liles White as soon as possible. Our New Mexico medical malpractice lawyers have extensive experience handling these claims, and we know what it takes to secure the compensation that our clients need to make them whole again. We are not afraid to take on well-funded insurance carriers or medical institutions as we work to get you through this. You can contact us for a free consultation of your case or by calling (361) 826-0100.