| Read Time: 3 minutes | Medical Malpractice
Medical Standard of Care

While you may know what a medical malpractice case is, you might not be familiar with how the phrase “standard of care” relates to these cases.

Standard of care is an integral part of a medical malpractice case.

It is important to understand that “standard of care” is a legal phrase and not a medical one.

In general, the standard of care usually means the level of care and skill of an average medical provider practicing in that particular specialty. 

Establishing the Standard of Care for Medical Malpractice

As discussed, because the medical malpractice standard of care is a legal concept, you will primarily discuss a healthcare provider’s standard of care in medical malpractice cases. 

For medical malpractice cases, the standard of care is usually established by an expert medical witness.

This expert witness will testify as to what the appropriate standard of care would be for a physician practicing in that specialty under those circumstances, and how the doctor in the case contributed to the plaintiff’s injury.

The expert witness is typically another physician practicing in the same specialty, giving them unique knowledge and insight.

Proving Deviation from Standard of Care in Medical Malpractice Cases

Generally, to have a valid medical malpractice case, the plaintiff must establish that the medical provider’s deviation from the medical standards of care caused them harm.

In particular, they must establish the following elements:

  • The physician owed the plaintiff a duty of care;
  • The physician breached their duty;
  • The breach caused the plaintiff injury; and
  • The plaintiff suffered damages.

Establishing negligence can be challenging in some cases, but your medical malpractice attorney can review the details of your case to hold the at-fault party responsible.

New Mexico Medical Review Commission

Certain states handle medical malpractice cases differently, New Mexico being one of them. In New Mexico, a plaintiff cannot simply file a medical malpractice lawsuit against a medical provider. By law, the plaintiff must fill out an application to have their case reviewed by a panel on the Medical Review Commission.

The plaintiff’s application must include:

  • Specific details regarding the plaintiff’s medical care; and
  • Authorization to obtain the plaintiff’s medical records for the panel’s review.

The panel will hold a hearing within 60 days, giving both sides the opportunity to make introductory statements, have witnesses testify, and provide evidence and documentation for consideration.

Following the hearing, the panel will deliberate and answer two questions:

  • Is there “substantial evidence” that medical malpractice occurred in this case?
  • Is there a “reasonable medical probability” that the patient’s injuries resulted from the malpractice?

New Mexico handles medical malpractice cases in a unique way. However, it is all done with the intention of determining whether a healthcare provider negligently breached the standard of care.

If the panel finds there is evidence that the medical provider breached the standard of care, a negligence claim can move forward and the plaintiff will have the opportunity to seek compensation for their injuries.

Discuss Your Case with a Knowledgeable New Mexico Medical Malpractice Attorney

For almost two decades, Poulos & Coates, LLP, has been helping victims of medical malpractice seek financial recovery for their injuries.

Our firm of experienced trial lawyers is dedicated to providing exceptional legal representation.

We understand the difficulties a medical malpractice lawsuit can bring, and we’re committed to helping you get the compensation you need. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Author Photo

Greig Coates, M.D., J.D.

Over the last thirty years, Dr. Coates has successfully represented plaintiffs in every conceivable type of medical malpractice lawsuit–from single-physician cases to complex litigation involving over a dozen doctors and several hospitals. Dr. Coates has taken several thousand physician depositions in his career involving every known physician specialty and sub-specialty, and almost as many depositions involving hospital personnel such as nurses, techs, and administrators. He has tried several dozen cases to successful verdicts.

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