Tag: medical malpractice lawyers

Top 5 Most Common Medical Malpractice Claims

Medical malpractice lawyers handle all kinds of cases in which a medical practitioner or facility caused harm to one of their patients. Medical science continues to advance. As such, patients put their trust in healthcare professionals hoping they can diagnose, treat, and care for them with the utmost diligence.

Most healthcare providers meet or exceed these expectations. However, there are instances where things go wrong. The consequences can be life-altering.

When a healthcare provider deviates from the standard of care, causing harm, you have the right to seek fair compensation for your injuries. Medical malpractice lawyers can help.

In this blog, we explore the 5 most common medical malpractice claims. If any of these situations has happened to you, consult with an attorney right away.

1 – Misdiagnosis and Delayed Diagnosis

Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis are common forms of medical malpractice.

A 2022 study from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality discovered that more than 7 million incorrect diagnoses are made in U.S. emergency rooms alone each year.

Misdiagnosis happens when a healthcare provider inaccurately identifies a patient’s medical condition. They can diagnose them with a different ailment than they have, or may fail to identify the medical condition, leading to inappropriate treatment and unnecessary procedures that can cause harm or make the condition worse.

A delayed diagnosis happens when a healthcare provider eventually makes the correct diagnosis but does so later than they reasonably should have connected the dots to properly identify a condition. Making a patient wait too long for appropriate treatment can worsen a condition or, in some cases, cause death.

Factors in misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis

Several factors contribute to a medical professional misdiagnosing a condition or delivering a delayed diagnosis. Among the most common include:

  • Errors interpreting diagnostic tests.
  • Failure to order the appropriate tests.
  • Inadequate patient medical history.
  • Overlooking or dismissing symptoms.

Medical malpractice lawyers must prove the healthcare practitioner deviated from the standard of care to win a medical malpractice suit.

Surgeons perform a procedure on a patient in the operating room.

2 – Surgical Errors

Surgical errors are another common reason for medical malpractice claims in New Mexico and across the U.S. Proving your surgeon made a grave error in judgment during a procedure is challenging at times. It requires a strong cause built by your attorney through a thorough investigation.

To establish surgical malpractice, your medical malpractice lawyer may rely on the following types of evidence to support your case.

  • Standard of care. The first step in providing a surgical error is to establish the standard of care that should have been provided in your specific situation. Demonstrating what a competent surgeon with similar training and experience would have done often requires an opinion from experts with the same skillset.
  • Deviation from standard of care. Next, you must show how the surgeon deviated from the standard of care. It’s not enough to uncover the deviation. You must demonstrate it occurred because of negligence or carelessness.
  • Causation. Finding a direct link between the surgical error and your injuries or harm is the next step. An expert’s evaluation may again be necessary for this step.
  • Documentation of injury or harm. Your attorney must gather and present comprehensive documentation and evidence that proves your injury or other harm was from the surgeon’s actions (or inactions).

Once all pieces of your case are in place, your attorney can file a medical malpractice claim on your behalf.

3 – Medication Errors

More than 100,000 reports of medication errors flood the offices of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration each year. These errors cause the deaths of between 7,000 and 9,000 people.

The steps for proving medication errors are like those of establishing a surgical error caused your injuries or other harm.

First and foremost, your attorney must establish that a duty of care existed between you and the healthcare provider who made the medication error. Whether it’s a doctor, a nurse, or a pharmacist, there must be a direct correlation between their involvement and the wrong medication being prescribed or dispensed.

Next comes establishing a standard of care and the deviation from that norm. An expert from a similar medical field is usually required for this stage of the process.

Finally, your attorney must prove causation between the medication error and your injuries.  

A pregnant woman is hooked up to a monitoring device during labor and delivery.

4 – Birth Injuries

Newborns are among the youngest clients of medical malpractice attorneys. Labor and delivery mistakes are unfortunately common in the U.S.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the injury rate per 1,000 births is 33. Among the most common types of birth injury is brain damage from a lack of oxygen during delivery.

Proving a birth injury is complex and requires a thorough investigation that includes reliance on experts with extensive experience in the birthing process, including prenatal, delivery, and post-natal care of both mothers and their babies.

Medical malpractice lawyers proceed with the utmost care when newborns are involved. They may try to settle the case outside of court with the healthcare provider’s insurance company. If negotiations are unsuccessful, then a medical malpractice trial is the next step.

5 – Failure to Obtain Informed Consent

Obtaining informed consent from patients before performing invasive medical procedures is a legal obligation of healthcare providers and facilities. When you’re not properly educated about the risks, benefits, and alternatives associated with a medical procedure or treatment, the medical provider has violated your rights.

Informed consent acknowledges your autonomy and the right to make educated decisions about your healthcare options.

Here’s how it’s supposed to work.

A medical practitioner explains the treatment or procedure in layman’s terms, so you understand what happens if you agree to go through with it. They also must outline any side effects and alternative treatments (often less invasive) and provide expected outcomes for both.

After you’ve received the information and had the opportunity to ask questions, your physician or the healthcare facility may ask you to sign forms indicating you were informed about your choice before you made it.

Physicians who skip this step can find themselves facing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Medical malpractice lawyers you can trust

Choosing medical malpractice lawyers to represent you is an important decision that can affect the outcome of your case. Work with attorneys with a proven history of success for their medical malpractice clients.

Ready to schedule a no-obligation consultation to discuss your case? Give us call today to get started.

Want to Win Your Medical Malpractice Lawsuit? Evidence Matters.

Medical malpractice lawyers skilled in their craft advise their clients on the importance of gathering the right kind of evidence to support their cases.

Providing effective proof of your claims can mean the difference between a fair settlement or judgement and one that leaves you without adequate compensation for your injuries.

Evidence matters. In this blog, we answer some of the most common questions about which kind of documentation can help your case, including:

How does early documentation help your case?

Documenting events, injuries, treatments, and conversations about your case as soon as they occur helps medical malpractice lawyers build a strong case.

Early documentation helps to establish a clear timeline, ensuring all relevant information is recorded accurately and preserved for use in your case.

Gathering eyewitness testimony while the events are still fresh in their minds yields the best results. The longer you wait to get this information, the more likely it is that memory lapses or inaccuracies creep in, tainting your claim.

Most medical malpractice attorneys advise their clients on the importance of gaining access to all relevant information early in their cases.

Doing so preserves the evidence, establishes a timeline, ensures accuracy, and supports the legal process. Not to mention, it plays a pivotal role in determining the strength of your case and can significantly impact the outcome.

An expert witness testifies at the request of medical malpractice lawyers to prove their client's case.

What are the most effective types of evidence?

Knowing it’s important to secure documents early in your case is different than knowing which types of evidence are the most effective at supporting your claims.

If you want to bolster your medical malpractice claim, your attorney is likely to suggest focusing on certain types of evidence. They include:

  • Medical records and documents. Comprehensive and accurate medical records serve as the backbone of any medical malpractice case. They include patient charts, treatment plans, test results, surgical notes, and other documentation related to your injuries. Medical records can provide crucial evidence about your condition, treatment, and any deviations from the standard of care.
  • Eyewitness testimony. Statements from anyone who witnesses the events in question or were present during medical procedures provide powerful evidence. Nurses, healthcare providers, and even family members who were in the room at the time of the alleged malpractice can add weight to your claim.
  • Expert witness testimony. Expert witnesses, often medical professionals with expertise in the same field as the defendant, can provide invaluable testimony. They can evaluate your medical records, explain complex medical issues to juries, and offer opinions on whether the healthcare provider’s actions deviated from the standard of care and whether that nonconformity caused harm.
  • Physical evidence. If there are physical objects related to the case – medical devices, surgical instruments, biological samples – preserving them for presentation can help you prove your claim.
  • Previous lawsuits or disciplinary actions. Medical malpractice lawyers investigate whether the medical provider or healthcare facility received previous disciplinary action or were the defendants of similar lawsuits. If they were, you can use it to show a pattern of behavior that puts patients at risk.
  • Informed consent documentation. Your informed consent is required before you receive any medical treatment or surgical procedures. If you were not made aware of the potential risks associated with your care, your attorney can use that information to prove a breach of duty of care.

How do you secure medical records and documents?

Securing your medical records to support a medical malpractice case builds a strong legal argument. You have a right to request your information from medical practitioners and healthcare facilities. Be advised they can charge you fees for making copies of the items before handing them over.

One of the smartest moves you can make to help the process go more smoothly is to consult a medical malpractice attorney. They can guide you through the process and make sure you understand which documents bolster your case.

Your attorney, with your permission, can request your medical records on your behalf. Sometimes, it’s easier to get them promptly when a lawyer is asking for the information.

Steps involved in the process include:

  • Notifying relevant parties in writing. Request copies of your medical records and other related documents, keeping a copy of your communication with the healthcare provider or facility. If you’re going through your attorney to get the information, they will submit their request on legal letterhead or from their official practice email account.
  • Sign authorization forms. Your attorney requires you to fill out authorization forms that allow them to access your medical records and communicate with healthcare providers and facilities on your behalf.
  • Identify relevant records. Work with your medical malpractice lawyer to identify which medical records and documents bolster your case. Some of the most common include doctor’s notes, charts, test results, treatment plans, billing records, and any correspondence from the medical providers involved in the medical malpractice claim.
  • Gather and organize documentation. Once you have the requested information, organize it systemically. Create digital and physical filing systems to ensure easy access. Make sure you have backups to prevent loss or damage.
  • Maintain the chain of custody. It’s important to establish the authenticity of the documents in court, so you’ll need to keep track of them. Note who has access to the physical copies and when.
  • Preserve confidentiality. Ensure that you and your medical malpractice lawyers treat all medial records and documents with the utmost confidentiality to protect your privacy and comply with healthcare privacy laws.

What role do expert testimonies and opinions play?

Securing expert testimonies and opinions plays a crucial role in the success of your medical malpractice case. Typically provided by medical experts with specialized knowledge and experience in the relevant medical field, they can help establish a standard of care and whether a breach of that care occurred.

Besides evaluating the actions of the healthcare provider or facility in question, experts can also:

  • Providing causation by establishing a direct link between the healthcare provider’s or facility’s actions (or lack thereof) and your injuries. They can explain how the breach of care led to your harm.
  • Educating the jury about complex medical terminology and procedures by breaking them down into simpler terms to help the jury grasp key issues and make informed decisions.
  • Rebutting defense arguments from legal experts testifying on behalf of the medical practitioner or facility responsible for your injuries.
  • Influencing settlement negotiations by providing strong opinions that favor your case and make the defendant’s medical malpractice insurance company eager to avoid a court trial.
  • Supporting damages claims that justify the amount you’re requesting to settle the case in or out of the courtroom.
Before and after photos of a man's hand. The after photo has a rash.

How can photos and video support your claim?

Photos and videos are powerful tools to support your medical malpractice claim. They visually illustrate your condition, any treatment you receive, and any resulting injuries or complications.

Some of the most effective ways to use photos and videos include:

  • Documenting your condition before and after treatment. Photos or videos taken before medical treatment can establish your baseline condition. This is vital if your medical issue is a visible physical condition.
  • Illustrating medical procedures and errors. If the alleged malpractice happened during a surgical procedure, photos or videos taken during the surgery (if available) can provide insight into what happened. Visual evidence also can show whether medical devices and equipment were used incorrectly or deficiently.
  • Counteracting denials and defenses. Attorneys for medical providers and facilities sometimes claim a patient’s condition was pre-existing. Photos and videos can disprove that defense tactic.

It’s important to verify that any photos or videos used as evidence are accurate, properly labeled, and legally obtained.

What’s the best way to preserve communication records?

Preserving communication records for a medical malpractice lawsuit is essential. They provide critical evidence to support your case.

Make sure you work with a medical malpractice lawyer who respects and follows best practices for preserving communication records effectively, including:

  • Identifying relevant communications, including emails, letters, texts, voicemails, and other forms of communication relating to your medical treatment and interaction with healthcare providers.
  • Creating a documentation system that includes a dedicated folder on your computer or external hard drive. Keep a physical file system as well as a back-up. Use clear, descriptive file names or labels for each document.
  • Avoiding alterations or deletions of any communication records, even if you believe they may be harmful to your case. Tampering with evidence has serious legal consequences.
  • Backing up digital records and storing them securely on a separate device such as an external hard drive or the cloud.
  • Preserving metadata associated with electronic communication records to establish authenticity and a timeline for the communications.
  • Taking screenshots of text messages or exporting them from your mobile device to preserve the conversation thread. Be sure to save both sides of the conversation if possible.
  • Complying with preservation orders from the defense if you receive a preservation order or court subpoena for the records.

Your medical malpractice attorney can guide you through each of these steps to ensure you follow best practices to the letter.

How do you find medical malpractice lawyers to represent you?

Finding medical malpractice lawyers to represent you can feel like a daunting task. However, it’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make about your medical malpractice claim.

Research and compile a list of possible attorneys based on personal recommendations, online searches, and information from the local or state bar association. Compare their qualifications and experience, ensuring they specialize in medical malpractice cases and have a proven track record of success.

Then, schedule consultations with your top choices. During your session, evaluate communication and rapport. You’ll also want to consider fee structures and ask to see a standard client contract before deciding on an attorney.

Above all else, trust your gut. Choose an attorney who best fits your case and with whom you feel the most comfortable.

How Medical Malpractice Lawyers Negotiate with Insurance

Medical malpractice lawyers are a valuable resource for navigating through the complexities of a medical malpractice claim in New Mexico. One of the biggest headaches you might encounter if you need to sue a medical provider or healthcare facility is their insurance company.

Insurance companies play a significant role in handling medical negligence cases for their customers. Their involvement is typically tied to a healthcare provider’s professional liability insurance. It’s designed to cover individual practitioners and healthcare facilities in the event they’re sued for malpractice.

It’s the duty of an insurance company to provide financial protection, claim evaluation, negotiation, and settlement offers for their clients. They may even have to provide support if a medical malpractice claim ends up in the courts.

In our latest blog, we explore the ways in which medical malpractice lawyers negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you get fair compensation for your injuries. We answer some of the most common questions, including:

How do medical malpractice lawyers engage with insurance companies?

Medical malpractice lawyers are your first line of defense against insurance companies for medical providers and healthcare facilities. When you’re injured because of medical negligence, you have a right to fair compensation.

Insurance companies for doctors and hospitals can quickly become roadblocks in your pursuit of adequate reparations for your injuries. If you try to engage them yourself, they’re likely to exploit your inexperience in such matters.

Medical malpractice lawyers ensure your rights are protected by engaging with insurance companies in several ways.

  • Consulting on the case. One of the first things you should do upon discovering you’re a victim of medical malpractice is to consult with an attorney with experience and expertise in these kinds of cases. Never talk to the insurance company or another representative of the at-fault medical provider without first consulting a medical malpractice lawyer.
  • Gathering evidence. Once you hire an attorney for your case, they’ll begin collecting all relevant medical records, documentation, and other evidence that supports your claim of negligence. They may consult with medical experts to review your case and provide opinions on whether malpractice occurred.
  • Preparing a demand letter. If the evidence supports your claims, the next step is for your attorney to send a demand letter to the at-fault party’s legal counsel. The document outlines your injuries, damages, and alleged negligence of the healthcare provider or facility. Sometimes your attorney may include supporting evidence to encourage a speedy settlement.
  • Negotiating a settlement. Most medical malpractice lawyers push for a settlement because it’s easier on their clients than enduring a trial.
  • Representing you in court. If negotiating a settlement is unsuccessful, your attorney begins preparing for trial.
A man sits in a wheelchair looking out a patio door. He's waiting to consult with medical malpractice lawyers.

What factors influence negotiations with insurance companies?

Negotiating with insurance companies in medical malpractice cases is a complex process. Several factors influence the outcome of any talks between your medical malpractice lawyer and representatives for the at-fault party.

Both sides consider these variables when working toward a settlement (or ending up in a courtroom).

  • The strength of liability evidence. Medical malpractice cases are built on the clarity and strength of evidence that supports your claim of medical negligence. Medical records, expert opinions, and documented breaches of standard of care put pressure on the at-fault party to settle.
  • The severity of injuries and damages. The extent and seriousness of your injuries impacts negotiations significantly. Severe injuries that require ongoing medical treatment and cause substantial pain and suffering often lead to higher settlement demands.
  • The potential jury verdict. Sometimes insurance companies for at-fault parties go to court, only to decide the risk outweighs the reward once the trial gets underway. It’s not uncommon for insurance company representatives to offer a settlement after a trial has begun if they think the court is likely to award more in damages than your attorney requested.
  • The costs of litigation. Insurance companies may decide it’s less costly to meet your settlement demands than endure a medical malpractice trial.
  • The insurance policy limits. The limits of the healthcare provider’s liability insurance policy impact the maximum amount you can receive in a settlement. If the damages exceed the policy limit, it can complicate negotiations and potentially lead to a lawsuit against the provider personally.

Other factors influence negotiations, but these are the most pressing. Your medical malpractice lawyer can explain all the considerations during your consultation.

How do lawyers determine the value of a medical malpractice claim?

Determining the value of a medical malpractice claim is a complex process that requires the thorough analysis of several factors. Medical malpractice lawyers use their expertise to assess the potential damages and losses you’ve suffered because of medical negligence.

Here’s how New Mexico medical malpractice attorneys typically determine the value of your claim.

  • Medical expenses. Your attorney calculates your past, current, and future medical expenses from your injuries. They include the costs for hospital stays, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, therapy, and any ongoing medical care for temporary or permanent disabilities.
  • Lost wages and earning capacity. Your attorney evaluates how your injuries impact your current and future ability to earn income. Some injuries may prevent you from returning to your normal duties at work, which can affect your hourly or annual wage potential.
  • Pain and suffering. A subjective assessment, your attorney determines the physical, emotional, and mental anguish caused by your injuries based on their severity.
  • Economic and non-economic damages. Lawyers differentiate between economic damages (tangible financial losses) and non-economic damages (pain and suffering). They then combine the two types of damages to reach a comprehensive value for your claim.

Other factors come into play, but these are among the most influential. Your attorney can explain everything they use to determine the value of your claim during your consultation in more detail.

A woman gets ready to sign a settlement document for her medical malpractice lawsuit.

Do insurance companies always offer settlements?

No. Insurance companies don’t always offer settlements in medical malpractice cases. They consider the strength of your case, the evidence presented with your demand letter, and the potential costs of litigation.

Some of the other factors that influence a decision about a settlement include:

  • Damages and injuries. Insurance companies weigh the extent and seriousness of your injuries before deciding whether a settlement offer is appropriate.
  • Disputes over liability. If liability is disputable, the insurance company might feel less motivated to settle. They may want to fight the case in court if they believe they have a strong defense.
  • Policy limits. The limits of the healthcare provider’s liability insurance policy play a significant role in any settlement offers. If the potential damages exceed the policy limits, the insurance company might offer a settlement within the limits to avoid personal liability for the healthcare practitioner.

What strategies do attorneys use to maximize settlements?

Medical malpractice lawyers use several strategies to maximize settlements in cases involving medical negligence. Their goal is to use the strengths of your case, present compelling evidence, and demonstrate the potential risks for the at-fault party if the case goes to trial.

Thorough case preparation is the most important part of a medical malpractice lawsuit. Your attorney conducts meticulous research and gathers all relevant evidence, including medical records, expert opinions, and witness statements. They use their findings to build a comprehensive case that clearly establishes negligence.

Some of the other strategies they use to support your case include:

  • Conduct comparative case analysis. Attorneys examine other similar medical malpractice cases that resulted in substantial settlements or favorable trial outcomes. They use that information to establish precedent for the value of your claim.
  • Engage medical experts. Medical malpractice lawyers know the value of seeking out opinions from medical experts familiar with the kinds of injuries you suffered. They can establish whether a standard of care was breached and how negligence caused the injuries. Expert testimony adds weight to your case and strengthens negotiation positions.
  • Practice strategic timing. Timing their negotiation efforts after building a strong case and gathering compelling evidence to support your claim can lead to a more successful outcome.
Lawyers and insurance company representatives sit around an office table to negotiate a medical malpractice lawsuit settlement.

How long does the negotiation process take?

The short answer to this question is it depends. The duration of medical malpractice negotiations varies significantly based on the complexity of your case, the willingness of both parties to negotiate, and the strength of the evidence.

On average, the negotiation process can take several months to a year or more. Here’s a breakdown of some of the other factors that influence the timeline.

  • Insurance company’s approach. Some insurance companies are more motivated to settle than others. If the supporting evidence provided in the demand letter is strong, it may prompt the insurance company to avoid the expense and hassle of a trial it knows it likely will lose.  
  • Mediation or alternative dispute resolution. If both parties choose to engage in mediation or an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process, it might expedite the negotiation process. A third party facilities the discussions between parties, which may speed things up.
  • Legal deadlines. Statutes of limitations and other legal deadlines can affect negotiation timelines. Parties might expedite the process if deadlines are fast approaching to avoid potential legal complications.

If negotiations aren’t successful, your attorney then asks if you wish to pursue the claim in court.

What should you look for in a medical malpractice lawyer?

When choosing a medical malpractice lawyer, it’s important to find someone with experience and expertise. Make sure your lawyer specializes in medical malpractice cases and has a proven track record of handling such cases successfully.

It’s OK to favor an attorney with strong negotiation skills and a penchant for settling medical malpractice cases outside the courtroom. Just be sure your attorney also has trial experience in case you end up before a judge and jury.

Another critical factor is a positive reputation in the legal community and with past clients. Read reviews and testimonials. Ask for references to gauge their professionalism and the quality of their services.

Verify your attorney is a member in good standing with the State Bar New Mexico. You can use the public tools on the bar’s website to check whether your lawyer is a member and if they’ve had any complaints or disciplinary action taken against them.

Lastly, make sure they have a transparent fees structure. You can discuss this during the initial consultation. Ensure you’re comfortable with whatever method the attorney uses before signing a contract for services.

Have additional questions? Our team is always happy to assist. Give us a call today to schedule your complimentary consultation with one of our medical malpractice legal experts.

Everything to Know About Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Medical malpractice lawyers hear about some of the worst medical procedure outcomes from their clients.

They sit in consultations with individuals who put their trust in the hands of skilled healthcare professionals, only to find themselves the victims of unfortunate incidents or outright negligence.

These kinds of experiences are never easy to hear. However, medical malpractice lawyers have dedicated their lives to helping patients hold healthcare professionals and facilities accountable for their actions.

In this comprehensive guide, we answer some of the most common questions about medical malpractice lawsuits, including:

What is medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice is the legal term for harm or injury a medical professional or facility causes to a patient. When their actions or omissions fall below the duty of care expected from the medical community, medical malpractice attorneys can seek fair compensation on your behalf.

You must meet 4 criteria before an incident is considered medical malpractice by the courts in New Mexico:

  • Duty of care. Healthcare practitioners must have a legal obligation or duty to provide medical care and treatment to you. This duty is established when a patient-physician relationship forms.
  • Breach of duty. Healthcare providers must have failed to meet the standard of care that a reasonably competent and skilled professional in the same field would have provided under similar circumstances.
  • Causation. The breach of duty must directly cause the patient’s injury or death. Medical malpractice attorneys must prove that negligent actions or omissions played a substantial role in your negative outcome.
  • Damages. Patients must suffer significant harm or damages because of the healthcare provider’s negligence. Physical pain, emotional distress, medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses qualify.
Two prescription medication bottles sit next to each other on a table. Some of the medication is spilling out of one of them.

Common examples of medical malpractice

Medical malpractice can take many forms. If you’re not sure whether your situation falls under this category, it’s best to consult with medical malpractice attorneys who can evaluate your case and make recommendations for proceeding.

Some examples of medical malpractice include:

  • Medication errors. Medication mistakes can involve prescribing the wrong medication or dosage or failing to consider a patient’s allergies or potential drug interactions. Errors of this magnitude can worsen medical conditions, cause adverse reactions, or even life-threatening complications.
  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. Healthcare providers who fail to accurately diagnose a patient’s medical condition or take too long to discover the issue can delay treatment or prescribe the wrong treatment, causing further harm.
  • Surgical errors. Surgical mistakes can include operating on the wrong body part, leaving surgical instruments inside a patient, or making errors in performing the procedure. These types of mistakes cause serious complications, infections, and the need for additional surgeries.

What is the process for filing a medical malpractice claim?

You must follow a specific process for filing a medical malpractice claim in New Mexico. The first and most important step you can take is to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after the incident.

Medical malpractice cases are complex. Seeking the expert counsel of a medical malpractice lawyer can mean the difference between a successful and unsuccessful outcome.

Medical malpractice attorneys evaluate your case to determine if you have a valid claim. Then, they guide you through the rest of the process.

If your attorney validates your medical malpractice claim, the next steps include:

  • Gathering supportive evidence such as medical records relating to your treatments. This includes doctor’s notes, initial diagnosis of your condition, imaging scans, and test results.
  • Filing the complaint in the appropriate New Mexico court system is the next step. Your attorney handles this part of the case. The defendants are served with your complaint and given a specific timeframe to respond.
  • Conducting the discovery phase follows once the defendants respond to your claim. Attorneys for both parties share information and evidence.
  • Discussing a possible settlement sometimes happens after the discovery phase, especially if you have a strong case and the defendants want to avoid public embarrassment in the courts. Most medical malpractice cases are settled.

If you’re unable to reach a settlement, then a court date is set and both parties make their arguments before the court.

What is the medical malpractice statute of limitations?

One of the most important reasons to consult with a medical malpractice attorney is to ensure you don’t miss the deadline for filing a claim.

In New Mexico, victims of medical malpractice have three years from the date of the alleged malpractice (or from the date the patient first discovered it) to file their claim.

As with every other aspect of a medical malpractice lawsuit, the statute of limitations is complex. Some exceptions to the rule apply under certain conditions. A qualified medical malpractice attorney can provide the best guidance in these situations.

A medical professional fills in a patient chart. In the background is a patient sitting on an exam table.

Who has the burden of proof in medical malpractice cases?

Medical malpractice attorneys must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that their clients have a case. They must demonstrate through ample evidence that the defendant’s actions or omissions rise to the level of negligence or malpractice.

To meet the burden of proof in medical malpractice cases, most New Mexico medical malpractice attorneys rely on the testimony of expert witnesses with relevant experience in the same medical field as the defendant. Experts can establish the appropriate level of care and offer their opinion on whether the defendant’s breach of that care caused your injuries.

Defense attorneys can call on their own expert witnesses to provide a rebuttal or opposing viewpoint that supports their clients.

What kind of damages can medical malpractice lawyers seek?

Medical malpractice attorneys in New Mexico can seek various types of damages for their clients depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Damages aim to compensate you for your losses and harm from medical negligence.

Some examples of the types of damages your attorney may seek include:

  • Compensatory damages cover your actual financial losses for things such as future medical treatment, surgeries, therapies, and other related costs. They also cover lost wages for time off to recover and any future lost earning capacity if your injuries caused a permanent disability.
  • Punitive damages are rare but intended to further punish a defendant whose actions were so egregious the courts didn’t feel like compensatory damages were enough.
  • Wrongful death damages are appropriate if the medical professional’s actions caused the death of the patient. Surviving family members may be entitled to damages to cover funeral expenses, loss of financial support, loss of companionship, and other related losses.

Your attorney can discuss which damages are appropriate to pursue in your case during your initial consultation.

A judge in the background listens to an expert witness provide testimony in a courtroom.

Do all medical malpractice cases go to court?

No. In fact, most medical malpractices cases are settled before they ever see the inside of a courtroom in New Mexico. Going to court is expensive, time-consuming, and can cause undue emotional stress for victims.

Most medical malpractice attorneys understand the value of pursuing a settlement. Attorneys for the plaintiffs often agree because having a medical malpractice case play out in court can draw unwanted attention to their clients.

Settlements are possible at any stage of the medical malpractice claims process. They’re most common after the discovery phase, when defense attorneys have a chance to review the evidence against their clients.

How do you find medical malpractice lawyers?

Medical malpractice lawyers have a specific skillset. It’s important to find an attorney with the right experience and expertise to achieve a favorable outcome in your case.

Ask for recommendations from colleagues, family, and friends. Check out reviews for local medical malpractice attorneys. You also can reach out to the New Mexico Bar Association to request a list of qualified lawyers in your area.

Look for an attorney that provides a free consultation. The initial meeting gives you the opportunity to determine if the lawyer is a good fit for your needs.

Call Cameron & Russell for a Free Case Evaluation

Bill Russell and Marcus Cameron are the faces behind Cameron & Russell. We go the extra mile for our clients to pursue personal injury claims and provide criminal defense. We approach every case with a fresh eye to detail and the determination to represent our clients to the fullest extent the law allows. We passionately defend clients facing criminal charges, and relentlessly seek out fair compensation for personal injury claims. No matter your situation, we promise to tirelessly represent your legal needs. 

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