When you go to a hospital for medical care, you trust that the staff will care for you. But what happens when things go wrong?
Medical malpractice occurs more often than you think and can turn your life upside down
It can require you to undergo additional treatment, miss work, and spend more money than planned. In some cases, it can even leave you with permanent disabilities.
While you can file a lawsuit to recover the costs of these damages, you may also be interested in suing a hospital for pain and suffering.
At Poulos & Coates, we’re ready to help you get compensation for the physical and emotional distress that comes with medical malpractice. Contact us today to share your story.
What is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering damages include physical pain, emotional distress, mental anguish, and reduced quality of life. This type of compensation goes beyond covering tangible expenses like medical bills and loss of income.
Pain and suffering damages aim to give the plaintiff a sense of justice and financial relief for their non-economic hardships.
Calculating these damages can be complex. They account for factors like the severity of the injuries, long-term effects, and the impact on daily life.
Can You Sue a Hospital for Pain and Suffering?
While you can’t file a lawsuit for pain and suffering, you can file a lawsuit to recover damages due to your distress. Typically, you will file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital.
Under New Mexico law, medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider breaches their duty of care to a patient and causes harm.
A breach occurs when the provider’s actions or decisions fall below the accepted standard of care. As a result of this breach, the patient sustains an injury.
Examples of Medical Malpractice Pain and Suffering
Medical malpractice encompasses various scenarios, each capable of inflicting pain and suffering on patients and their families. Some common incidents of malpractice include:
- Surgical errors. Surgical mishaps include wrong-site surgery, anesthesia administration mistakes, and poor post-operative care. Such errors can result in physical and emotional trauma, post-surgery complications, and extended recovery periods.
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. Diagnostic errors can lead to unnecessary or incorrect treatments and emotional turmoil. The stress of not getting the proper care causes needless suffering.
- Medication errors. Medication-related lapses involve prescribing the wrong drugs, incorrect dosages, and failing to check for complications. These errors can lead to adverse reactions, overdoses, and prolonged discomfort.
- Birth injuries. Errors during childbirth can include brachial plexus injuries or cerebral palsy resulting from birth-related oxygen deprivation. These have profound and life-long effects on the entire family.
- Hospital-acquired infections. Hygiene lapses within healthcare facilities contribute to surgical site and urinary tract infections. These infections cause physical pain, suffering, and extended hospital stays.
Speak with an attorney if you have experienced these situations. You may be able to recover compensation for your physical and emotional suffering.
Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
There are few exceptions to this law. One exception is that children have until their 19th birthday to file a lawsuit for injuries they sustained before turning 18.
Damages Cap on Pain and Suffering
New Mexico does not put a cap on pain and suffering specifically. A jury can award as much pain and suffering damages as it likes. However, the state does cap the maximum you can receive in total compensation.
The statutory cap on compensation depends on when the hospital caused the injury. The following damage caps are based on the year the injury occurred:
- $4,000,000 for injuries that occurred in 2022;
- $4,500,000 for injuries that occurred in 2023;
- $5,000,000 for injuries that occurred in 2024;
- $5,500,000 for injuries that occurred in 2025; and
- $6,000,000 for injuries that occurred in 2026.
These caps do not include punitive damages and past and future medical care and related benefits. Depending on your case, you may be eligible for compensation above these amounts.
How an Attorney Can Help You Sue a Hospital
You want to hire the right attorney before suing a hospital for pain and suffering.
The attorney’s role is crucial for pursuing a medical malpractice claim against a hospital. A skilled attorney will structure your case to maximize your odds of success.
During your first meeting with your lawyer, you will explain all the details regarding your claim. Be prepared to provide medical records, incident reports, and other relevant documentation.
Next, your attorney will explain your rights and discuss potential legal strategies.
Attorneys can usually provide an initial assessment of your case’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, they might say what evidence could strengthen your case or what facts may hinder your claim.
Investigating Your Claim
Your attorney will begin collecting evidence to support your claim. This may include your medical bills, mental health records, and statements from people who have seen the pain and suffering.
The lawyer might also consult with an expert about your treatment and injuries. Once your lawyer has all the evidence, they will analyze it to see what supports your claim.
Your lawyer will try to negotiate with the hospital throughout this process. Sometimes, a lawyer will file a lawsuit while continuing to negotiate.
These negotiations often lead to a settlement, which can require the hospital to compensate you for your damages. Parties prefer settlements before they avoid the cost and stress of going to trial.
Many medical malpractice cases are settled before reaching trial, but not all. Your case may proceed to trial if the hospital doesn’t agree to a fair settlement.
Your attorney will represent you in court, presenting evidence to the jury that supports your claims. If the jury finds in your favor, you may receive compensation for pain and suffering and other damages.
Schedule Your Case Evaluation Today
Speak with the attorneys at Poulos & Coates about suing a hospital for pain and suffering. We are one of the few New Mexico law firms focusing only on medical malpractice claims.
With over 70 years of experience and more than $300 million in compensation awards, our firm delivers exceptional service when you need it most.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation.