Whether you’re heading to the doctor’s office for a routine exam or you have to go to the hospital for a medical emergency, you expect to receive the proper care and attention you need to maintain or improve your health. When a negligent physician or facility harms you, there are legal actions that can aid in your recovery. The Albuquerque medical malpractice lawyers from Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm can help you file a claim.
Filing a med mal claim can be challenging, which is why it’s best to work with an experienced law firm. Our attorneys have the skills and resources to build a claim on your behalf that proves you were wronged. We’ll do our best to help your claim settle outside of court, but we’re prepared to head to trial if that’s what needs to be done to get you the compensation you deserve.
To present a strong case, we’ll need to prove liability. This involves highlighting how you were injured, why you were injured, and how the doctor should have reacted to your situation. Presenting those elements takes skill, and we have extensive experience representing malpractice victims.
Medical Malpractice in New Mexico
New Mexico health care providers are required to use the standard of care when treating patients. That means they are required to act in a way that the majority of physicians would when it comes to diagnosing and treating. Failure to treat a patient with that standard results in medical negligence if the patient is injured. As a result, the victim can attempt to hold the physician or medical professional legally accountable.
Instances of medical negligence are more common than most people realize. According to a 2016 study from Johns Hopkins, medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States, after heart disease and cancer. In total, it’s estimated that medical errors result in more than 250,000 deaths per year. The study attributes the high figure to a systematic problem. Poorly coordinated care, fragmented insurance networks, and the absences of protocols are the primary contributing factors to the overall issue.
Medical malpractice cases can be difficult to negotiate and litigate because of the proof that’s needed. Expert witness testimony is almost always needed, which is expensive. Depending on the incident that results in harm, the defendant could be a health care provider, a hospital or medical facility, or a manufacturer of medications or medical equipment. The only way to pursue a successful claim is to work with a law firm that has an understanding of this complex area of law.
Potential Medical Errors
If you’ve been harmed by a medical provider, it’s likely the injury is the result of one of the following types of errors:
- Diagnostic Errors. There’s the chance a physician could misdiagnose your condition. This can cause problems, especially if they misdiagnose something involving a major organ or a condition that progresses rapidly. In addition to that, there are cases where doctors fail to diagnose a patient. If someone goes to the emergency room with chest pain, is sent home without a diagnosis, and returns later after having had a heart attack, the patient can take legal action.
- Surgical Mistakes. Surgeons are supposed to be highly trained and skilled when it comes to their specialty. When mistakes are made, the consequences can be deadly. Common errors include wrong-site surgeries, operating on the wrong patient, and leaving tools inside the body. Any one of those mistakes can result in a patient needing additional surgeries, which could significantly delay their recovery.
- Birth Injuries. The mother and child are at risk in the event a medical provider is negligent any time during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. If used improperly, delivery equipment can harm a baby’s spine or head. There’s also the risk of a lack of oxygen if the baby isn’t delivered properly.
- Medication Errors. It’s important for nurses and doctors to be aware of what medications their patients are on, what the dosages are, and the possibility of interactions. If a patient suffers an allergic reaction because the medical provider didn’t read their chart or an incorrect dosage is given, legal action is an option.
- Cross Contamination. It’s challenging to maintain sanitation in a hospital setting, but it’s necessary. In the event surgical tools are inadequately cleaned or a disposable implement gets reused, the patient could suffer a serious infection.
There are other types of negligent mistakes that harm patients. Our lawyers will look into your case and determine what category the malpractice falls under.
How Medical Mistakes Happen
In addition to determining the type of medical error that caused your injuries, we’ll figure out why the mistake happened in the first place. Not only will this help your case, but it can bring attention to common issues in the medical field so they can be addressed and fixed.
Inadequate communication is the leading cause of medical errors. Whether verbal or written, communication issues can happen between physicians, nurses, and healthcare team members. When information isn’t passed down the line properly, any of the mistakes discussed above are possible.
Medical errors also happen as a result of human error. Physicians and medical staff work long hours. If someone is working with a patient while fatigued, they may forget to do something or do something completely wrong. Additionally, the medical field is one of the most stressful fields to work in. As a result, some negligent hospital employees turn to alcohol and other substances to cope with what they’ve experienced. That can seriously impact the standard of care, and it’s illegal.
Drug and medical device manufacturers are supposed to ensure the products they release are safe and come with any necessary warnings. When a defective device is implanted in a patient, for example, the patient will likely need to have it removed at some point to avoid complications. If a manufacturer knowingly released defective products, they can be held accountable.
Proving Physician or Hospital Negligence
No matter how your injury occurred, we’ll fight to prove the physician or facility that treated you did so negligently. When it comes to proving fault, there are a number of elements involved. The first is proving the existence of a doctor/patient relationship. This is essentially an agreement between you and the physician. You sought treatment from them, and they agreed to treat you. This is the easiest part of determining liability.
After the relationship’s been established, your lawyer will prove that your doctor did not meet the medical standard of care. Expert witnesses are often brought in to assist with this part of the claim. Once negligence is established, connections need to be made between the medical error and your injuries.
Finally, your attorney needs to present proof of damages. This refers to the economic and noneconomic suffering you endured as a result of your injuries. Medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering are typically sought. We’ll be sure to calculate all your losses, so the settlement you receive helps you cover all the damages you incurred.
How a Lawyer Can Help Your Case in Albuquerque
As you can see, filing a claim and proving liability is a complex process. When you work with our law firm, we’ll handle the paperwork and conversation for you, so you can focus on your recovery. We’ll keep you up-to-date on everything that happens with your claim and make sure you’re the one making the decisions.
In addition to handling the challenges of filing a claim, we have a comprehensive understanding of the medical malpractice laws in New Mexico. For example, all claims are subject to the statute of limitations. This refers to the timeframe a person has to get a case started in the state’s civil courts. According to New Mexico Statutes Annotated section 41-5-13, claims must be filed within three years of the date of the act of malpractice. If the deadline is missed, the plaintiff renders themselves ineligible for compensation.
Your lawyer will also understand how the Medical Review Commission works. Before an action can be filed in court, a qualified panel has to review the claim to determine if it meets the prerequisites. The panel typically consists of three New Mexico attorneys and three members who work in the same profession as the defendant. For the application to be approved it must contain the details of the patient’s care, and authorization to obtain the patient’s medical records.
If the panel decides malpractice did not occur, it’s dismissed. If, however, they find the patient was harmed as a result of negligence, the panel has to find a medical expert witness physician who will help with the trial.
It’s also important to note that every state has separate compensation limits for medical malpractice lawsuits. We go over those limit caps here.
Contact Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm
Recovering from injuries takes time and can be physically and mentally exhausting—especially when you never should have sustained them in the first place. Instead of dealing with medical bills and lost wages on your own, filing a claim with one of our Albuquerque medical malpractice lawyers will put you on track to receiving the compensation you need to cover your injury-related expenses and losses.
To learn more about the personal injury claims process, or for guidance with your legal issue, schedule a meeting with our law firm. We’ll thoroughly examine what you’ve been through and provide you with the legal guidance you need to protect your future.