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FAQs About Malpractice Cases

Get the answers to your medical malpractice FAQs

Revo Smith Law was established 37 years ago in Albuquerque and represents injured patients throughout New Mexico, including in the communities of Rio Rancho, Los Lunas, Belen, Bernallilo and Santa Fe. Our firm has established a reputation for giving excellent customer service that helps us achieve successful results for our clients.

Below, our lawyers answer frequently asked questions about filing a medical malpractice claim in New Mexico. After reading the FAQs, we invite you to contact our office to schedule your free initial consultation to discuss your rights in detail.

1. To prevail in a medical malpractice claim against my doctor, what do I need to prove?

The Medical Malpractice Act is contained in Article 5 of New Mexico Statutes 41-5-1 through 41-5-29. To prevail, you must prove:

  • You had a doctor-patient relationship that established the doctor's duty of care
  • The doctor deviated from the accepted standard of care
  • You were harmed because of the doctor's actions
  • You suffered harm as a result

2. Is there a time limit for filing a medical malpractice claim in New Mexico?

You must file your medical malpractice claim within three years of the health care provider's action or omission. Your minor child has until her or his ninth birthday to sue for negligent conduct that occurred any time before the age of six. You forfeit your rights to compensation if you fail to initiate your case before the deadline.

3. Who may be liable for medical malpractice?

Any healthcare practitioner or facility that owed you a duty of care may be liable for malpractice, including:

  • Doctors
  • Surgeons
  • Medical specialists
  • Plastic surgeons
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Pharmacists
  • Psychologists and counselors
  • Nurses
  • Dentists
  • Physical therapists
  • Dieticians
  • Lab technicians
  • Paramedics
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Laboratories

4. What types of actions may be considered medical malpractice?

Anything your medical practitioner or healthcare establishment does or fails to do in deviation from the accepted norm may be considered medical malpractice. For example:

  • Surgical errors
  • Overdose or inadequate anesthesia
  • Misdiagnosis of a medical condition
  • Delayed or improper treatment
  • Pharmaceutical mistakes
  • Wrong prescription drug or dosage
  • Nursing home abuse or negligence
  • Failure to warn patients about risks and adverse effects

5. If my doctor made a mistake but I was not injured, is this considered medical malpractice?

No. Legally, you must prove that you suffered damage because of the mistake. However, you may have a valid claim if you suffered emotional or psychological injuries.

6. What does “informed consent” mean?

Your doctor has a duty to disclose potential risks and adverse effects of surgical procedures. Your agreement to accept the risks is called informed consent depending on the circumstances. This can be a very tricky, complicated situation. However, an exception exists in an emergency situation when the patient is not able to provide informed consent.

7. What medical malpractice damages am I entitled to receive?

Depending on the facts of your individual case, our lawyers may pursue:

  • Lost income
  • Diminished future earning capacity
  • Medical bills
  • Anticipated medical treatments
  • Punative damages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Emotional trauma and distress

8. Can I sue if my family member was killed because of a doctor's mistake?

You may have a wrongful death claim. Depending on your individual circumstances, you may be entitled to:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Lost wages and income opportunity
  • Lost benefits — such as health insurance, Social Security and veterans benefits
  • Lost household services — for example, child care, accounting, cooking, landscaping, home repair and security
  • Loss of love, affection, companionship, support, friendship and moral guidance
  • Your emotional suffering and distress

9. Do I have the right to compensation for the implantation of a defective medical device or implantation failure?

You may have a valid cause of action against the medical device manufacturer for producing a defective product, mislabeling the device or failing to warn the public about potential risks. Implantation failures in the case of medical devices such as artificial hip replacements can cause injury, pain and the need for additional surgeries for which you may have a cause of action against the doctor and /or the device manufacturer.

10. How do I know whether I have a valid claim, and how can I afford to pay an attorney anyway?

Revo Smith Law can conduct a complete analysis of your case to determine whether you have a valid claim. Because your initial consultation is free, there is no risk in learning about your options. In addition, we handle your claim on a contingency fee basis — meaning you do not pay our attorneys' fees until we recover damages in your case.