Medical malpractice laws in New Mexico

Medical errors are more common in the United States than previously thought. New Mexico residents should understand the laws that govern medical malpractice cases in the event they become victims of such situations.

The need to understand New Mexico's laws regarding medical malpractice can be highly important to residents in the state. Information published in the Journal of Patient Safety in 2013 indicated that the rate of medical errors in the United States was far higher than previously thought with as many as 440,000 wrongful deaths occurring annually due to such errors.

All people deserve to feel safe when seeking medical care yet the reality of medical malpractice raises the need to understand what is involved in seeking compensation in the event of a problem.

What types of errors are most common?

Medical errors can take many forms. Surgical errors, for example, may find instruments left inside patients' bodies. Newborns can be rendered disabled with cerebral palsy due to errors during birth. Wrongful deaths all-too frequently are the outcomes of missed or incorrect diagnoses.

Any situation in which a general standard of care may be noted to not have been followed could be identified as a case of medical malpractice. This can include the lack of any care as well as inappropriate or negligent care. An article on Yahoo! Health reported that July may be one of the most dangerous times for patients as that is the month when newly graduated doctors flood the system.

What laws govern malpractice in New Mexico?

Two of the most important laws that patients should be aware of pertain to the statute of limitations and to damage caps. Regarding the statute of limitations, New Mexico law indicates that malpractice claims must be initiated within three years of the dates of the injuries. The one exception for this involved victims under the age of six years old. In these situations, claims must be filed before the injured parties turn nine years old.

New Mexico is one of the states in the country that limits the amount of money plaintiffs can be awarded for non-economic awards. Currently, the damage cap in New Mexico is $600,000 and has been at this level since 1995. The New Mexico legislature documentation shows that an unsuccessful effort was made in 2011 to increase this cap to $1 million in 2012 with subsequent increases.

How can patients be protected?

A doctor's article in the Huffington Post urged more people to seek second opinions in order to prevent becoming victims of malpractice. The author discussed his own situation involving finding the right care for his own son.

When errors do occur, it is important to find a legal professional with experience to help seek compensation. Every person has the right to such justice in the face of serious medical errors.

Keywords: medical malpractice, surgical error, injury