| Read Time: 5 minutes | Medical Malpractice
sepsis malpractice settlements

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to an infection causes inflammation throughout the body.

Prompt and proper treatment of sepsis is crucial to prevent serious complications and improve outcomes for patients.

However, when sepsis occurs due to medical negligence, patients and their families may have legal options to pursue compensation for damages.

Seeking help from an experienced medical malpractice attorney, such as the attorneys at Poulos & Coates, can be essential in ensuring that your rights are protected, and they receive the compensation they deserve.

In this article, we will explore sepsis malpractice settlements and the other legal options available to those affected in New Mexico.

If you have questions related to sepsis malpractice settlements, please contact our team right away.

Can Medical Negligence Cause Sepsis?

Sepsis typically occurs when an infection, if not promptly and effectively treated, triggers a chain reaction throughout the body. This can lead to organ failure and, in severe cases, death.

Medical negligence can play a role in the development of sepsis when healthcare providers fail to diagnose and treat infections in a timely and appropriate manner. Some examples of medical errors that can contribute to sepsis development include:

  • Failure to properly clean and dress wounds that lead to infection,
  • Delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis of infections,
  • Failure to prescribe appropriate antibiotics or other treatments for infections and
  • Surgical errors, such as leaving a foreign object inside a patient’s body.

Patients or their families may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim if sepsis is caused or exacerbated by medical negligence.

Legal Grounds for Sepsis Compensation Claims in New Mexico

In New Mexico, medical malpractice laws are designed to hold healthcare providers accountable for negligence that leads to patient harm. However, like other states, New Mexico’s medical malpractice laws are complex and place additional requirements on plaintiffs to be successful.

Patients seeking to file a malpractice claim must adhere to strict procedural rules, including providing pre-litigation notice to healthcare providers. This notice must include a detailed factual basis for the claim and the standard of care that was allegedly breached.

Additionally, New Mexico law requires the plaintiff to obtain a “certificate of merit” from a qualified medical expert, stating that there is a reasonable basis for the malpractice claim. To succeed in a malpractice claim involving sepsis, the plaintiff must establish that:

  • The healthcare provider breached the standard of care, failing to provide the level of care expected from a competent professional;
  • The breach directly caused or worsened the patient’s sepsis; and
  • Provide evidence from a qualified healthcare professional to demonstrate the standard of care violation.

Sepsis malpractice settlements in the US typically amount to approximately $250,000. However, it’s important to note that jury verdicts for sepsis cases often exceed this average, averaging around $400,000. Particularly in cases involving fatalities, sepsis settlements tend to be even higher.

Navigating the legal complexities of a sepsis malpractice claim in New Mexico can be challenging, which is why seeking guidance from an attorney is essential.

Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum amount of time after an event within which legal proceedings can be initiated. Once the statute of limitations has expired, a claim can no longer be filed in court.

In New Mexico, medical malpractice claims must be filed within three years from the date of the alleged malpractice or one year from the date of discovery, whichever occurs first.

However, there are some situations that can pause a statute of limitations from running. For instance, if the victim is a minor, the statute of limitations is typically tolled (paused) until the child reaches the age of eighteen. From there, the victim has three years to file a claim. 

Wrongful Death Lawsuits and Sepsis Claims

Should the worst happen and the patient loses their life to sepsis, certain family members can bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party as outlined by state law.

These include the spouse of the deceased, children or stepchildren of the deceased, parents or siblings of the deceased (if there is no surviving spouse or children), or the personal representative of the deceased’s estate.

Each of these parties may have standing to bring a wrongful death claim, depending on their relationship to the deceased. To collect damages, a plaintiff must show that:

  • The death of a person resulted from the negligence or wrongful act of another party;
  • The surviving family members or beneficiaries suffered measurable damages as a result of the death; and
  • The suit is filed by a designated family member or a personal representative brings the lawsuit on behalf of the deceased person’s estate.

So, if you’re wondering if can you sue a hospital for a sepsis death, it is entirely possible, depending on the relationship with the patient. Talk to an attorney to learn more about New Mexico’s wrongful death requirements and what legal options you and your family have.

Damages for Sepsis Medical Malpractice Claims

It’s important to note that New Mexico law caps medical malpractice damages, like many other states. This cap is updated yearly based on inflation, and in 2024 is set at $1 million.

Despite this cap, medical malpractice cases involving sepsis can result in various types of damages. The first and most common category is compensatory damages, which are intended to compensate the victim or their family for losses and can be further divided into:

  • Economic damages, which cover quantifiable financial losses such as medical expenses, lost income, and future medical costs related to the sepsis; and
  • Noneconomic damages, including intangible losses like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Finally, victims of medical malpractice may be able to seek punitive damages, which are awarded in cases of extreme negligence or misconduct. Punitive damages are rarely awarded and are intended to punish the defendant and deter others from similar actions.

Unlike other damages, they are not capped under New Mexico law. To determine how much compensation to seek after your sepsis injury, be sure to call an experienced attorney to go over your case.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer at Poulos & Coates for your Sepsis Case

Sepsis is a serious condition that can affect the rest of a patient’s life and, in some sad situations, even end it. If you’ve suffered sepsis due to a doctor, nurse, surgeon, or other medical professional’s negligence, you may be able to file a claim to seek the damages you deserve.

With decades of combined legal experience, our team has the expertise and the resources to help injured patients recover from medical malpractice, either through verdict or settlement.

We have a medical professional on staff to help evaluate your case and ensure it has the best possible chance of success. Call us today to schedule a consultation, or fill out our online claim form to get in touch with us.

Author Photo

Victor Poulos

Vic Poulos & Greig Coates became law partners in April of 2002, when the two medical malpractice litigators merged their offices, combining what is now over seventy years of litigation experience, to form Poulos & Coates, LLP. Licensed to practice before all State Courts of Texas, New Mexico, Iowa, and Kansas. Licensed to practice before the United States District Courts of Kansas, Iowa, New Mexico, and Texas (Western, Eastern, Southern, and Northern Districts of Texas), as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the U.X. Ax Court.

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