Medical malpractice claims are some of the most challenging cases to pursue, especially if you don’t have a legal background.
There are many reasons for this, including the burden to prove liability, different deadlines and laws, caps on damages, and more.
Understandably, victims want to know what their chances are of winning a medical malpractice suit.
Unfortunately, without reviewing the facts of your individual case, it’s impossible to determine what your chances of winning your case are.
If you or someone you love is the victim of medical malpractice in New Mexico, the best thing you can do is speak with a skilled Las Cruces medical malpractice lawyer.
At Poulos & Coates, LLP., we specialize in assisting medical malpractice victims just like you.
Proving Medical Negligence
Proving negligence is one of the most important elements of a medical malpractice claim. Without negligence, you don’t have a valid malpractice claim.
Unlike other types of personal injury claims, you need to establish the applicable standard of care.
Medical negligence is established by showing the healthcare professional failed to meet the standard of care.
In a medical malpractice claim, the standard of care is the level of care that another reasonable healthcare provider with the same experience and training would’ve administered in a similar situation.
To better understand the standard of care, consider a misdiagnosis involving your family doctor.
You could not hold them liable if they failed to diagnose a rare condition that only someone who specializes in that type of condition would’ve recognized.
Your family doctor doesn’t have the same experience or training as a specialist.
If the provider in question specializes in this type of problem, then misdiagnoses might be malpractice.
You also need to establish that the provider’s action or inaction is what caused your injuries.
If the doctor committed malpractice, but that isn’t what led to your injuries, you haven’t met the burden.
Distinguishing Malpractice from Unwanted Outcome
Another challenge in suing for malpractice is determining what an adverse outcome versus actual malpractice is.
Having a negative result does not mean the provider was guilty of malpractice.
You typically cannot hold a provider accountable for unforeseen complications.
Also, medical staff usually disclose procedural risks and potential complications.
If you received those disclosures, a bad outcome might not rise to the level of medical negligence either.
Medical Damages Caps
New Mexico has a cap on non-medical liability damages in a medical malpractice claim.
The cap applies to general damages, such as your pain and suffering. It does not apply to medical expenses or punitive damages.
Currently, the cap is $600,000.
New Mexico’s Application for Review
Before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must file an application for view with New Mexico’s Medical Review Commission.
In your application, you must detail the circumstances of your medical treatment and why you feel malpractice has been committed.
Include the dates of your treatment, the providers involved, and what action or inaction led to your claim.
You also need to include authorization to obtain your medical records so the panel can review them for the hearing.
Statute of Limitations in a Medical Malpractice Case
The statute of limitations refers to when you must file a lawsuit. In most personal injury cases, it’s three years after the incident.
However, with medical malpractice, the clock on the deadline may not start running until you discover or should’ve reasonably discovered the malpractice.
Not all cases of medical malpractice will be evident immediately.
If the medical provider falls under the list of qualified healthcare providers, you only have three years from the date of the malpractice.
That means if you discover the malpractice two years from the surgery date, you have a year left.
If you find the issue four years later, you cannot bring a successful medical malpractice claim.
Claims involving public entities are even more restrictive.
You must file a notice of claim with the entity within 90 days of the alleged malpractice and within six months if there is a wrongful death.
Also, the statute of limitations is reduced to two years instead of three for public entities.
Contact a New Mexico Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Victims often wonder, What are the chances of winning a medical malpractice suit?
The answer is that no one knows until your case is evaluated by a professional.
And your chances increase dramatically if you contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer who can assess your case and protect your rights.
At Poulos & Coates, LLP., we specialize in these types of cases.
Contact our office today to schedule a consultation to learn more about whether you have a viable medical malpractice claim in New Mexico.