medication error lawyer

Medical malpractice is a significant problem in the United States and can take many different forms, including surgical errors, misdiagnosis, and neglect.

However, one of the most prevalent forms of medical malpractice is medication error. When properly prescribed and administered, medications can make a huge positive difference in the life of the recipient.

Sadly, too much, too little or the wrong medication altogether can be devastating and sometimes fatal. 

If you or a loved one has experienced serious harm because of a medication error, you may be entitled to compensation.

It is important to seek counsel from a New Mexico medication error lawyer who can help you understand your rights and the best way to pursue justice for what you have been through. 

To get started, please contact our team right away.

What Is a Medication Error?

Medication errors are preventable events that comprise a wide range of mistakes related to prescribing, administering, dispensing, or monitoring a patient’s medication.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there are over 20,000 different prescription drug products available to consumers.

Each year, 1.5 million people are harmed as a result of a medication error. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of other patients experience, but often do not report, an adverse reaction or other medication-related complications.

Medication errors give way to medical malpractice, which is a subset of personal injury law. Though there are countless New Mexico personal injury attorneys, Poulos & Coates is the only law firm in the state that exclusively handles medical malpractice cases.

Our medication error lawyers understand your rights and how to help you seek meaningful compensation through the state’s legal system. 

Common Types of Medication Errors

There are countless ways mistakes can occur in the healthcare industry, and while not all medication errors constitute malpractice, a lot of them do. Here are a few of the most common medication errors:

  • Prescribing the wrong medication,
  • Prescribing the wrong dose of the right medication (too high or low),
  • Administering the wrong dose to a patient,
  • Administering the medication at the wrong time or inconsistently,
  • Failing to review a patient’s medical history when prescribing medication,
  • Failing to warn a patient of risks associated with a medication,
  • Record-keeping errors resulting in the wrong information in a patient’s chart,
  • Negligently prescribing a medication that interacts with another medication the patient is taking,
  • Negligently prescribing a medication containing a substance that the patient has a known allergy to,
  • Pharmaceutical errors in filling the prescription, and 
  • Manufacturer failure to warn of side effects.

It is important to consult with skilled medication error attorneys to understand the cause of the mistake and how to hold the correct party liable. 

Who Is Liable for Medication Errors?

Depending on the circumstances of the error, many different parties could be held individually responsible for the harm that occurred. In some cases, there may even be multiple parties that share responsibility.

It is important to bring your claim against the correct party in order to receive the compensation you deserve. Your medication error lawyer can help you determine who is liable, based on the facts of your case and available evidence. These are some of the parties that may be liable for medication errors. 

Pharmaceutical Company

In some cases, the healthcare professional may do everything correctly, but it does not matter if the pharmaceutical company was negligent in manufacturing the drug.

Drugs and other consumer goods that are improperly manufactured, tested, or marketed often fall under product liability rather than medical malpractice, though this type of law is still under the umbrella of product liability.

Prescribing Doctor

It is the doctor’s responsibility to ensure the medication they are prescribing is appropriate for the condition, taking into consideration unique factors pertaining to the patient, such as other medications they are taking and whether they have allergies.

Prescribing a dose that is too high or too low can have a big impact on the patient’s well-being. Doctors are expected to make decisions about medications according to an accepted standard of care. 

Administering Nurse

Nurses are often the ones who are actually administering medications to patients according to the doctor’s orders when the patient is in a medical facility such as a hospital or urgent care facility.

They are responsible for ensuring they have the correct medication, dosage and timing for every patient. Most patients trust that the nurse is doing everything possible in their best interest and do not second guess the medications they are provided. 


A pharmacy or individual pharmacist may be held liable for harm to a patient if they make an error when preparing the drugs for the patient.

The error could be typing the wrong dosage on the label, incorrectly filling the prescription bottle, misinterpreting the doctor’s orders, or confusing one patient’s medication with another’s. 

Hospitals and Health Care Facilities

If a patient is harmed due to a medication error that occurred during their stay at a hospital or other healthcare facility, they may have the right to file a claim against the facility. As a business, hospitals may be held vicariously liable for the actions of their employees.

They can also be held liable if they are found to have been negligent in their hiring practices, disciplinary actions, or staff requirements leading to the medication error. 

Comparative Negligence

Under New Mexico’s comparative negligence law, you can still file a lawsuit for medical malpractice even if you were partially responsible for the injury.

In the case of medication errors, you could be partially liable for things like failing to disclose pertinent medical history or taking another substance that you did not tell your prescribing doctor about. 

The amount you can recover will be reduced by your percentage at fault. For example, if you were awarded $100,000 but found 40% at fault, you would still receive $60,000. 

Filing a Claim for Medical Malpractice Due to Medication Error

To file a claim for medical malpractice in New Mexico, there are several steps you will need to take. It is important to have a medication error lawyer to guide you through the process. 

Application for Review

Before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, an application for review must be made to the New Mexico Medical Review Commission.

This is a panel composed of three members of the state bar and three medical professionals. The application must contain authorization to obtain your medical records and details of your care. 


Generally, a hearing is held within 60 days after the application is submitted. Similar to court, each side will make an opening statement and present evidence. The panel will determine if there is substantial evidence for a case and reasonable probability that medical malpractice caused the harm. 

File a Lawsuit

If the Medical Review Commission decides that you may have a valid cause of action, you can file your lawsuit. In New Mexico, your lawsuit must be filed within three years of when the injury occurred, even if it was not discovered until later. There are some exceptions, depending on the liable party. 

Hiring a New Mexico Medication Error Lawyer

Poulos & Coates is a firm of trial lawyers and skilled negotiators with over 70 years of experience representing victims of medical malpractice, including medication errors.

We are focused on helping our clients navigate the complex legal system while giving them the space to heal and recover from what they have been through.

We have a doctor and nurse on staff to ensure we are making the best possible decisions for the well-being and legal success of our clients. Contact us to schedule a case consultation.