Clovis Medical Malpractice Attorney
When you or a loved one suffer injury or death at the hands of a healthcare professional, you may be entitled to collect damages. The medical malpractice attorneys at The Fine Law Firm are available to evaluate your claim and help you pursue the compensation you are due.
The professionals at The Fine Law Firm are:
- Experienced Albuquerque medical malpractice lawyers well-versed in personal injury law;
- Highly accomplished and recognized both nationally and locally for legal excellence; and
- Hard-working and ethical attorneys who offer clients honest opinions and case assessments.
Having served New Mexico for over forty years, The Fine Law Firm has the resources and knowledge to help you or your loved one get the legal and financial satisfaction you deserve. Your consultation is free, so call our medical malpractice attorneys today.
How a Clovis Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help You
Healthcare professionals generally mean well. However, mistakes sometimes happen that leave patients to deal with serious medical consequences. When your doctor, hospital, or medical provider causes you injuries, they should be held accountable for any costs of recovery and pain and suffering they inflict.
Hiring an attorney to handle your medical malpractice claim allows you to focus on your health and well-being and increases your chances of compensation exponentially. The Clovis medical malpractice attorneys at The Fine Law Firm will aid your claim by:
- Investigating the circumstances surrounding your injury;
- Determining the cause of your injury and any liable parties;
- Working closely with medical experts to build a strong case for your compensation;
- Demanding full compensation from any insurance companies and healthcare professionals liable for your injuries; and
- If negotiations fail, taking your claim to court before a judge and jury.
Call our law firm to discuss your medical malpractice claim today. If you are unable to come to our office, one of our Clovis medical malpractice attorneys will visit you.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when any medical professional deviates from the established and accepted standards of the medical community. The medical professional can be an organization, a single provider, or any of the following:
- Diagnostic imaging technicians;
- EMTs; and
- Medical device manufacturing companies.
Not all medical mistakes qualify as medical malpractice. A successful medical malpractice claim must show the following:
- A medical provider had a duty to provide care to the victim at the time of treatment;
- That care did not meet acceptable standards of the medical community for a medical provider with similar training and experience in the same or a similar situation; and
- The failure of the medical provider to provide acceptable care caused the patient’s injury and related medical complications.
If you aren’t sure whether you have been a victim of medical malpractice, you can consult with an attorney at The Fine Law Firm to find out. We will listen to your story for free and let you know if your case has merit. If so, we can help you pursue justice with a tort claim.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice
Medical errors are more frequent than many patients realize. While many mistakes are harmless, others are serious, incapacitating, or even deadly. Some of the most common types of medical malpractice are:
- Birth injuries: injuries caused to a mother or child during pregnancy, labor, delivery or shortly after delivery due to medical malpractice. Examples include brain damage, cerebral palsy, brachial plexus injuries, broken bones and nerve damage.
- Delayed or missed diagnosis: making a prompt and accurate diagnosis is one of the most important tasks a doctor has. Failing to diagnose a patient or negligently delaying a diagnosis can have serious consequences, such as the patient not receiving necessary treatment.
- Misdiagnosis: negligently diagnosing a patient with the wrong illness or condition, resulting in unnecessary treatments and/or the failure to receive required care.
- Failure to treat: failing to adequately treat a patient based on the standards of required care, including providing treatment too slowly, refusing to see a patient based on inability to pay or discharging a patient prematurely.
- Faulty medical devices: problems or defects with a medical product, such as a medication or life-saving device, that interfere with patient care or cause harm. The three types of product defects are design, manufacturing and marketing flaws.
- Prescription errors: mistakes made when prescribing a medication to a patient, such as the incorrect drug or dosage. It can also refer to pharmacy errors, such as administering drugs to the wrong patient.
- Surgical errors: harmful mistakes during a surgery, such as operating on the wrong patient or wrong body part, nicking a nerve or artery, making anesthesia and intubation errors, or leaving a foreign object behind.
Any lapse in judgment, action or omission that a reasonable and prudent doctor would not have made in the same or similar circumstances can constitute medical malpractice. If it causes patient harm or death, the victim or victim’s family can sue for medical malpractice in Clovis.
Do You Have a Medical Malpractice Case?
Medical malpractice is a complicated area of personal injury law. When a patient files this type of claim, he or she becomes the plaintiff. In a civil case, it is the plaintiff’s job to prove the claim that is being made. The burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence, also known as the “more likely than not” standard. This means the plaintiff must establish that the defendant is more likely to have committed malpractice and caused the injury in question than not.
A medical malpractice claim consists of four main elements:
- Doctor-patient relationship: the defendant must have been acting in an official capacity as the plaintiff’s health care provider at the time of the incident. This establishes professional standards of care.
- Negligence: the defendant must be guilty of an act or omission that falls short of the medical standards of care. In other words, the health care provider was negligent in exercising reasonable care when treating the patient.
- Causation: the defendant’s violation of the standard of care must have caused the plaintiff’s injury. There must be proof that the victim would not be injured but for the defendant’s negligence.
- Damages suffered: the victim must have evidence of real, compensable losses or damages suffered because of the medical malpractice. These can include disability, medical costs, lost income, or pain and suffering.
All medical providers have a legal responsibility to act with the level of skill, care and knowledge that a prudent doctor would in similar circumstances. If a doctor, nurse, hospital, surgeon or another practitioner breaches this standard of care and a patient is injured as a result, he or she can be held responsible with a medical malpractice claim.
Compensation in a Medical Malpractice Claim
Compensation for a medical malpractice claim depends on the type and severity of the patient’s injuries and their diagnosis for recovery. Below are frequently awarded damages in medical malpractice cases:
- Reimbursement of medical expenses and award for future medical expenses;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of future earning capacity;
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Mental and emotional trauma;
- Loss of consortium;
- Pain and suffering; and
- Wrongful death.
The court could award punitive damages if a medical provider acted morally reprehensible in injuring their patient. The intent of punitive damages is to punish a defendant and discourage similar behavior in the future. If you want to learn more about compensation in a medical malpractice claim and your legal rights as a patient, contact The Fine Law Firm.
New Mexico Damage Caps
New Mexico has a law known as a damage cap that limits the amount of financial compensation available to a victim during a medical malpractice claim. Damage caps exist in some states to discourage frivolous or fraudulent lawsuits, as well as to protect certain entities from going bankrupt due to the costs of litigation. This often includes hospitals and the government.
In New Mexico, there is a cap on damages of $600,000 for medical malpractice claims. However, this cap does not apply to the victim’s medical care and related costs. Instead, it applies to losses such as pain and suffering, lost wages, and lost future capacity to earn. There is also a limit in New Mexico on how much a single defendant is required to pay in a medical malpractice lawsuit. This maximum is $200,000 per defendant.
If your damages exceed this maximum amount, you can seek further payment through New Mexico’s Patient Compensation Fund. This is a state-established fund that provides financial compensation to cover losses that exceed the coverage available based on state limits. Since the state has this patient fund, special care must be taken to ensure that coverage for a claim is adequate.
When Should I Get a Clovis Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
If you have been injured due to a health care practitioner’s negligence, carelessness or recklessness, it is important to contact a medical malpractice lawyer in Clovis as soon as possible. New Mexico has a strict time limit on the ability to file a claim. In addition, key evidence may be altered, damaged or destroyed if you wait too long to take legal action.
For example, important witnesses may no longer remember what they saw or be able to give accurate accounts during interviews. If your claim involves a dangerous or defective medical device or medication, the item will need to be photographed and examined before it is altered or lost. Time-sensitive medical records must also be collected.
Contacting an attorney early on can help you build a stronger medical malpractice claim. Your lawyer can take prompt action to investigate the incident, preserve and gather evidence, interview witnesses, hire experts, collect records, and take other steps to establish the grounds of your claim. Your lawyer can ensure that all of the correct actions are taken to build a claim with the best odds of success.
New Mexico Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims
All personal injury claims in New Mexico come with statutes of limitations. These are legal time limits for filing. They exist to keep the justice system just for both parties by preventing an injured victim from waiting indefinitely to bring a claim. If you miss your statute of limitations, the courts will most likely refuse to hear your case. This is why it is important to talk to an attorney about a potential claim as soon as possible.
Every state has unique statutes of limitations on medical malpractice claims. New Mexico Statutes Annotated, Section 41-5-13, states that all malpractice claims brought against a health care provider must be filed within three years of the date that the act of malpractice occurred. However, there are some exceptions for unique cases. In a case involving an injured minor, such as in a birth injury lawsuit, or an incapacitated person, the deadline is extended to one year from reaching the age of majority or regaining capacity to commence an action.
There is also an exception for injured parties under the age of six. In this case, the victim has until his or her ninth birthday to file a claim (or have a claim filed on his or her behalf). Finally, there is a discovery rule. This exception states that if the victim does not discover his or her injury or its connection to malpractice right away, the victim will have three years from the date of reasonable discovery to file.
What to Do if You Believe You Have a Medical Malpractice Claim
If you believe you or someone you love has suffered a severe injury as a result of medical malpractice or medical negligence, take the following steps to protect your rights and begin building a claim:
- Write down a detailed description of events while they are still fresh in your mind. Include dates, times and the names of everyone involved.
- Keep an ongoing timeline of events that shows when you suffered your initial injury or illness, when you discovered it, and when it was treated.
- Request official copies of all relevant medical records, bills and documents. This may include doctor’s notes, x-rays and test results.
- Contact an attorney before your deadline to file passes. Consult with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to take legal action before New Mexico’s statute of limitations expires.
An attorney can take over the claims-filing process from there, investigating the case and gathering evidence to support your claim. A law firm can also hire experts and file your lawsuit on time.
Contact a Clovis, New Mexico Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
No one should struggle to pay for preventable medical injuries, call the Albuquerque personal injury lawyers of The Fine Law Firm. New Mexico has strict time limits to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, so do not delay. Medical malpractice lawsuits are complicated and time-consuming, let The Fine Law Firm start yours as soon as possible.