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New Mexico medical malpractice award cap expanded

The New Mexico legal system provides options for patients who have been victims of medical errors. From lack of informed consent to misdiagnosis and beyond, doctor errors do sadly occur at times. While certainly preventing such problems is the number one priority, ensuring that injured victims or their families have recourse when needed is also of importance to New Mexico residents.

The state of New Mexico has had a cap of $600,000 on medical malpractice awards per lawsuit since 1992 and a recent ruling by the State Supreme Court now expands the reach of that cap. Prior to the court's decision, professional corporations that are formed and owned by physicians were not included in the damage cap but now will be. Essentially, such corporations were not originally identified as "health care providers".

The ruling comes in response to medical malpractice lawsuits from San Miguel, Albuquerque and Santa Fe counties. The three lawsuits covered claims that included a failure to diagnose a condition, a surgical error and a missed diagnosis that resulted in a death. A legislative bill that proposed the expanded definition of "health care provider" was vetoed by the governor in 2011 because of a clause that would have raised the cap from $600,000 to $1 million per event.

Doctor negligence can take many forms and have long-term impact for patients and their family members. If you believe that you have been affected by a medical mistake, you may wish to talk to an attorney to learn your rights and understand the best course of action for you.

Source: Albuquerque Journal, "Court rules doctor groups covered by liability cap," Scott Sandlin, September 7, 2013

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