New Mexico Medical Malpractice Lawyer

New Mexico Medical Malpractice Lawyer

New Mexico medical malpractice laws

New Mexico is one of the few states that follows the theory of comparative negligence in medical malpractice cases. This means that even if a plaintiff contributed to his own injuries, he can still collect damages from other parties who are also at fault. Any awards the plaintiff receives, however, are reduced by the degree for which he is responsible for his injuries.

Comparative Negligence

When a judgment is placed against multiple defendants in a medical malpractice case, New Mexico law holds them liable only a share of the damages equal to their degree of fault. An exception is made in the case of a medical practitioner who is working under an independent contract at a hospital but is subject to enough managerial control by the hospital that a jury can consider him to be a de facto employee of the hospital.

Under this theory of vicarious liability, co-defendants in a medical malpractice lawsuit are held jointly and severally liable for the damages.

Statute of Limitations

New Mexico’s statute of limitations stipulates that all medical malpractice suits must be filed within three years of the action or omission that caused the injury or death. In one exception, the parents of children under 6 years old have until their child’s ninth birthday to initiate a lawsuit.

In order to win a medical malpractice suit, all plaintiffs must call upon expert witnesses to prove their claim, unless the negligence was so obvious that a layman could understand it. State law does not currently set any qualifications that expert witnesses must have.

Damage Caps

Currently New Mexico law dictates that total damages cannot exceed $600,000, and health care practitioners themselves can only be held responsible for damages up to $200,000. The remainder of damages higher than that is paid from the state’s Patient’s Compensation Fund.

Attorneys’ fees are not limited. All claims of medical malpractice are reviewed by New Mexico’s medical review commission. However, the commission’s decisions have no legal weight and cannot be admitted in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

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