Is it hard to prove medical malpractice?
Going to the hospital for a surgical procedure or to receive treatment for a serious medical condition can be scary enough without adding the possibility of medical malpractice to the mix. We trust healthcare providers to fix what ails us – not cause us more pain and suffering. Unfortunately, sometimes doctors and nurses make mistakes. When those mistakes lead to injury, a medical malpractice lawsuit may be in order.
Medical malpractice is the legal term used to define any time a healthcare professional or facility causes injury to a patient through a negligent act or omission. Errors in diagnosis, after-procedure care, or mismanagement of a medical condition are all causes of medical malpractice.
What are the 4 elements of medical malpractice law in New Mexico?
Even when an injury occurs at the hands of a trusted medical provider, medical malpractice is tricky to prove. Injured patients must demonstrate a medical practitioner acted negligently and that their carelessness caused the injury. A qualified New Mexico medical malpractice attorney like Bill Russell can help victims navigate complicated malpractice laws.
There are four elements of New Mexico state law for consideration when filing a medical malpractice claim.
- Medical Review Commission. Before victims can file a medical malpractice lawsuit in New Mexico, they must make an application for review with the commission. Victims should authorize the commission to obtain their medical records. They also should provide information about dates of care and details about the actions or inactions that led to the injury.
- Statute of limitations. Like other types of lawsuits filed in the state, there is a statute of limitations for filing medical malpractice claims. New Mexico requires the filing of a medical malpractice lawsuit within 3 years after the incident.
- Comparative negligence. When medical malpractice victims are partly responsible for their injuries, they can still file a lawsuit. The number of damages they can recover is reduced based on the percentage of the fault that lies with the victim. An example where comparative negligence applies is a patient who fails to take prescribed medication or goes against a medical professional’s advice for the treatment of a condition and suffers further injury or illness.
- Statutory damage caps. Lost wages, lost ability to work, and other non-economic damages like pain and suffering are capped in New Mexico. The maximum amount a victim can receive for statutory damages is $600,000. Excluded from this cap are medical care and related benefits, as well as medical bills incurred due to the alleged malpractice.
How to prove medical malpractice in New Mexico
Proving medical malpractice in New Mexico is difficult, but not impossible. When you work with a personal injury lawyer who specializes in medical malpractice law, you will be advised of the following requirements for providing your case.
- You must prove a relationship existed
This is straightforward. Before you can sue a medical provider or facility for malpractice, you must first prove you had a relationship with them. This means you agreed to be treated by the healthcare practitioner or facility and they agreed to administer the treatment.
- You must prove the healthcare provider or facility was negligent
This is the hard part. Sometimes patients are unhappy with the outcome of a procedure or treatment plan and want to sue for medical malpractice. The law distinguishes between medical malpractice and a patient that is simply unhappy with results.
- You must prove negligence caused your injury
The onus is on the victim to prove an action – or inaction – of a healthcare provider or facility caused their injuries. Many medical malpractice cases involve victims who already were ill or injured due to other conditions and causes. It is up to the victim to prove the injury for which they are claiming malpractice is the result of negligent care from healthcare providers and not an extension of their current condition or illness.
- You must prove damages
Even when a medical professional performs below expected standards, a patient cannot sue for malpractice if they did not suffer any harm. Victims of medical malpractice must prove they suffered physical pain, mental anguish, accrued additional medical bills, or have lost the ability to work.
What are the chances of a medical malpractice settlement?
Most medical malpractice lawsuits settle out of court. This is best for the victims, who will be spared the trauma of recounting their experience. It also is in the best interest of medical providers and healthcare facilities who otherwise would endure a public trial that could hurt their bottom lines. Whether you opt to agree to a settlement or pursue a trial, it is important you work with a medical malpractice attorney who can get you a fair settlement.
Finding the best medical malpractice lawyer in Alburquerque
Malpractice laws in New Mexico are complex. Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer can help increase your chances of winning your case. Bill Russell has represented injured people and their families for many years throughout the state of New Mexico. Before he transitioned to personal injury law, Bill Russell worked at an insurance defense firm as a law clerk. That insider knowledge of how the “other side” thinks during a medical malpractice lawsuit works to his advantage.
Do not wait if you think you or a loved one are the victims of medical malpractice. The sooner you consult with a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney, the better your chances of securing fair compensation. Give Bill Russell a call at 505-218-7844 or contact him online to schedule your no-obligation consultation today.