When patients seek medical treatment from a medical provider, they fully trust their knowledge and expertise.
Unfortunately, in some instances, providers make grave mistakes, leaving patients injured and facing immeasurable difficulties.
In these situations, patients may have the option of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Nevertheless, it is crucial to understand what qualifies as medical malpractice.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider or other entity commits a negligent act or omission that leads to patient injury or even death.
Malpractice occurs in a variety of different ways and settings but often leaves a patient worse off than they were before being treated by that physician.
Medical malpractice does not only occur with doctors; nurses, hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and other medical entities can all be liable for medical malpractice.
It is important to note, however, that just because a patient’s condition worsens or happens to be untreatable, it does not automatically mean medical malpractice is at issue.
When malpractice has occurred, the patient may be able to file a lawsuit for medical malpractice against the treating physician.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice claims often arise for one of two reasons: medical negligence or recklessness
Healthcare professionals are held to a high standard, owing their patients a duty of care.
When a medical provider has breached this duty of care, and the breach causes injury to the patient, medical negligence has likely occurred.
Medical negligence can happen for a variety of reasons, typically including:
- Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis;
- Surgical error;
- Failure to accurately take a patient’s medical history;
- Improper treatment;
- Failure to warn a patient of risks;
- Inaccurate dosages; or
- Failure to accurately interpret test results.
Doctors are humans, and humans make mistakes. Nonetheless, doctors must adhere to a strict standard of care.
When medical negligence occurs, there will need to be a determination of whether the treating physician deviated from this high standard of care and what a reasonable healthcare provider would have done in that situation.
While negligence is the most common form of medical malpractice, a medical provider may also act recklessly.
When a physician acts recklessly, they act with conscious disregard for the risks their actions pose to their patients.
A provider can also act recklessly when they fail to act in a situation that requires action. A surgeon performing surgery under the influence of drugs or alcohol is an example of recklessness.
Time Is Limited to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
If you believe you have suffered harm at the hands of a healthcare provider, you may consider filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you wish to do so, it is crucial to note there is a limited amount of time to file your claim.
Statutes of limitations exist to limit the amount of time an individual has to file a lawsuit.
In New Mexico, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is three years from the date the malpractice occurred.
For young children, the statute of limitations is a little different. If a small child is harmed by a doctor’s negligence, they—or their parents—have until the child’s ninth birthday to file the claim.
Therefore, if, for example, a child suffers an injury by medical negligence at age three, they will have almost six years to file their lawsuit.
If you fail to file your lawsuit within the specified time, you are unlikely to recover for your injuries.
Do not risk losing your right to financial compensation—consult with a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.
Speak to a Qualified New Mexico Medical Malpractice Attorney
Since 2002, Polous & Coates, LLP, has been helping clients who have suffered as a result of medical malpractice seek financial recovery.
Our firm specializes in medical malpractice cases, and we understand the difficulties our clients face.
We never back down from a challenge and go the extra mile for every client. Contact our office today, and let’s discuss your case.