It might come as no surprise to you that doctors often fail patients who seek treatment when suffering from a serious illness or injury. Whether helping clients in the aftermath of a misdiagnosis or while recovering from a serious error during surgery, the Carlsbad medical malpractice lawyers at Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm aim to support those who have been harmed by the medical community.
We know that all it takes is one bad interaction with a physician to leave you with serious injuries. If your medical condition was worsened because of a medical provider’s actions, or you developed new illnesses or injuries as the result of negligence, we invite you to schedule a free consultation with a Carlsbad medical malpractice lawyer.
Medical Malpractice at a Glance
A 2016 study from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine determined that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in America, following heart disease and cancer. The study calculated the annual total deaths caused by medical errors to be 251,454.
Medical Malpractice Cases We Handle
At Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm, our Carlsbad medical malpractice lawyers have experience successfully representing clients in a wide range of medical malpractice cases. This includes some of the following examples.
Diagnostic errors are the direct cause of as many as 17% of adverse events in hospital settings. It is also the most cited error in medical malpractice claims. The problem is so widespread that most people will be the victim of at least one diagnostic error over the course of their lifetime. There are two main types of diagnostic errors:
- A missed diagnosis occurs when a treating physician does not diagnose a patient with a health condition despite the presence of symptoms, test results, or other indications of an illness, injury, or disease.
- A misdiagnosis is when a doctor wrongly diagnoses one health condition as another. A patient suffering from stomach cancer who was told they only have anxiety would be the victim of a misdiagnosis.
While any type of medical error has the potential for serious harm, injuries related to surgical errors tend to be much more severe. Patients who suffer surgical errors frequently require additional surgeries to not only treat the resulting harm, but may still need the initial surgery needed to treat their original health condition.
Current estimates put the number of annual surgical errors at 4,000, but as medical malpractice attorneys we know that medical malpractice often goes unreported. Surgical errors that cause only minor injuries are still serious matters, especially as they may be precursors to a negligent surgeon’s subsequent larger mistakes.
No matter how serious you may think your surgical error was, contact us as soon as possible if you suffered any of the following errors when going under the knife:
- Wrong-site surgery (operating on the wrong body part)
- Retained foreign object (surgical tools, instruments, or other material left inside a patient)
- Inappropriate or unnecessary surgeries
- Anesthesia errors
- Organ perforation
- Post-op mistakes
Your doctor’s job is not done when you wake up from surgery, either. If you did not receive proper care instructions or adequate follow-up care from your doctor and later suffered a serious injury as a result, you may be owed compensation for your damages. Speak with a Carlsbad medical malpractice lawyer to determine what compensation you need.
Prescription medications play an important role in the management of many different health conditions. As patients, we trust our doctors to prescribe the right medication and in the correct dosage. A medication error may occur when:
- A doctor prescribes the incorrect medication
- A nurse administers the incorrect dosage
- A pharmacist fills the incorrect medication
The proper monitoring of both mothers and babies during the birth process is one of the most effective ways to prevent trauma and oxygen deprivation, the most common causes of birth injuries. Despite this, some obstetricians in Carlsbad, NM continually fail their pregnant patients by failing to properly monitor them while in labor.
The medical malpractice lawyers at our law firm have helped secure compensation for patients and families whose children are suffering from many different birth injuries, including:
- Cerebral palsy
- Brachial plexus injuries
- Facial nerve paralysis
- Collarbone fractures
- Head trauma
Birth injuries typically require life-long medical attention and care. Many victims require the support of mobility devices such as wheelchairs, crutches, leg braces, and canes, which can be costly to maintain and upgrade.
What Causes Medical Malpractice?
Every case of medical malpractice is different, requiring its own unique approach. However, in our years spent representing victims who have been harmed by the health care establishment, we have identified the following issues as some of the most common causes of medical malpractice:
- Inadequate education or training
- Gaps in communication between health care staff
- On-the-clock drug or alcohol use
- Long shifts
- Digital device distractions
- Failure to obtain informed consent
- Insufficient staffing
- Medical record errors
Doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals do not get a “free pass” because they work long hours or are scheduled to see a high volume of patients. People’s health and lives are on the line when they go to the doctor, and they deserve to be treated with care, dignity, and respect.
Any time that a medical professional misinterprets test results, makes a surgical error, or brushes off a patient’s concerns, they are causing real and lasting harm. Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm holds these men and women accountable for their actions.
Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations and Exceptions
Every state sets its own laws governing medical malpractice. New Mexico state law allows for only three years from the date the malpractice took place to file your medical malpractice lawsuit. This is not a long period of time, especially when you realize that you will not be able to devote your full attention to filing your claim.
Victims of medical malpractice often spend the next several years focusing on their health and the recovery process. While you are focused on seeking second opinions and undergoing additional surgeries, your time to seek compensation will be running out.
Do not give up your right to file a claim against the negligent doctor who harmed you, contact a Carlsbad medical malpractice lawyer who can help ensure you meet all necessary deadlines. An attorney can also advise you of the one exception that New Mexico state law allows.
If your child was younger than six years old when they were harmed by a doctor’s incompetence, you have until their ninth birthday to file a medical malpractice claim.
Compensation in a Medical Malpractice Case
Medical malpractice claims seek to recover compensation for damages that victims have incurred as a result of medical errors or negligence. There are three main types of damages for which you may receive compensation:
- Economic damages
- Noneconomic damages
- Punitive damages
Punitive damages are exceptionally rare and generally do not come into play at all during medical malpractice claims. These types of damages are not meant to cover the cost of damages suffered by the victim, but to punish the at-fault party for particularly heinous or egregious behavior. Your attorney will advise you of what compensation you may be owed, including:
Your economic damages are the direct financial losses you’ve suffered as a result of your injury or illness. As your Carlsbad medical malpractice attorneys, we’ll correctly calculate how much you are owed for losses such as:
- Lost wages and reduced earning capacity
- Medical bills
- Medical equipment
- The cost of home or vehicle renovations to accommodate a new disability
As of 2022, the cap on compensatory damages in New Mexico are as follows:
- $750,000 for independent providers
- $750,000 for outpatient facilities that are not controlled or owned by a hospital
- $4,000,000 for hospitals and outpatient facilities that are controlled or owned by a hospital
These caps do not apply to economic damages like medical bills and ongoing treatments, and are instead used to limit how much a victim may receive in noneconomic damages and non-applicable economic damages.
Not all hardships you suffer have a direct monetary value. However, New Mexico state law recognizes that any significant impact on your life that is the direct or indirect result of medical malpractice may still necessitate compensation:
- Mental anguish or trauma, including PTSD
- Unmanageable pain and suffering
- Disability or permanent disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Loss of companionship or consortium
Noneconomic damages are much more challenging to calculate than economic damages, so you should be sure to work with an attorney who understands the many different nuances that go into this calculation.
Why Work With a Carlsbad Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
In all that we do, we bring dignity, care, and respect to the table to ensure our clients feel that their voices are heard and uplifted. We are tireless advocates for those who have been harmed by the health care industry, and we will take the following actions in your medical malpractice case:
- Thoroughly investigate the claim to establish a patient-doctor relationship and uncover any negligence that occurred.
- Collect relevant information from medical records and other important documents.
- Hire medical experts to determine what should have been done differently.
- Analyze your damages and correctly value how much compensation you are owed.
- Aim to settle outside of court but prepare for trial.
Experienced Lawyers Representing Medical Malpractice Victims in New Mexico
An act of medical malpractice can leave you in worse physical, mental, and financial conditions than before. While we cannot undo the harm that a negligent doctor caused, the attorneys at Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm pride themselves on being part of the solution.
Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation. You’ll have the opportunity to talk one-on-one with a Carlsbad medical malpractice attorney about your legal options.