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Court Rules Against Plaintiff in Medical Malpractice Case Due to Statute of Limitations

Posted in Firm News

An appellate court released an opinion in a medical malpractice claim brought by the estate of an individual who died while in the care of a hospital. In the case, a man was admitted into the hospital after complaining of severe right side pain. He was given narcotic pain medication but had a bad reaction to it, and it was discontinued. About two days later, another doctor at the hospital prescribed a different pain medication. When the nurses arrived in the morning, the man was found lying across his bed and was unresponsive.

Unfortunately, attempts to rescue him were unsuccessful, and he passed away. The hospital contacted the family, and the man’s wife claimed that the hospital improperly obtained her consent to perform a private autopsy. The family brought a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital and claimed that the hospital failed to notify the medical examiner. However, this claim was brought three years after the death. A jury did not find against the hospital on the medical malpractice claim but did find that the hospital improperly obtained consent.

The lower courts all concluded that the autopsy claims were not health care claims, and thus the statute of limitations did not bar that lawsuit, but the medical malpractice claim was past the statute of limitations.

Important Considerations in New Mexico Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

It is crucial that individuals who have been injured because of the negligence of a health care provider seek further treatment for their condition and contact an attorney in a timely manner. A statute of limitations provides the length of time individuals or their representatives have to file a lawsuit. If parties do not bring their claims within the appropriate time, they will be barred from pursuing a lawsuit.

In New Mexico, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is three years from the date of the injury. However, there are certain limited exceptions to this general rule. First, the three-year statute of limitations for a medical malpractice claim does not begin to toll until the injury is discovered or should have been discovered. In some circumstances, a patient may not realize that anything went awry until some time after the injury.

Additionally, in New Mexico, a defendant in these lawsuits must be considered a “qualified health care provider.” Not all doctors are considered qualified under the New Mexico medical malpractice law. The doctors must pay into the system and have proof of liability insurance.

It is important that injured parties and their loved ones bring a lawsuit as soon as they discover an injury that was caused by a health care provider, since if they do not, and the case is dismissed, they will not have any recourse.

Have You Been Injured Because of the Negligence of a New Mexico Medical Provider?

If you believe you or a loved one suffered injuries because of the negligent care of a medical professional, it is important that you do not delay but instead contact one of the dedicated attorneys at the Fine Law Firm as soon as possible. An attorney at the Fine Law Firm can assist you in developing your claim and ensuring that deadlines are met. If you are successful, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you suffered. Contact an attorney at the Fine Law Firm today at 800-640-6590 to schedule your free initial consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Foreseeability as an Element of a New Mexico Negligence Claim, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, June 3, 2016.

State Court Holds Recreational Immunity Does Not Apply to Hot-Air Balloon Company Providing Free Rides on Another’s Property, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, May 4, 2016.