Medical malpractice cases arise when doctors and other health care professionals fail to uphold their professional duty to their patients and the patients suffer harm as a result. More specifically, there are four things that need to be established in a personal injury claim. First, it needs to be shown that a professional duty was owed to the patient. Second, it needs to be supported that there was an actual breach of this duty that was owed to the patient. Third, the breach of the duty must have been the cause of the injury or harm suffered by the patient. Fourth, the injury must have caused damages. What damages, however, are available in a medical malpractice claim? There are several kinds of damages a medical malpractice injury victim can claim to seek compensation from a variety of harm incurred due to medical negligence.
Damages Available in a Medical Malpractice Claims
In a medical malpractice claim, the victim can seek both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those that are more easily calculable and quantifiable. For instance, the cost of medical treatment, cost of prescription medication, nursing costs, and physical therapy costs can all be quantified simply by looking at the outstanding medical bills. With regard to economic damages, it is important to note something somewhat unique about the way New Mexico handles these kinds of damage awards. In New Mexico, there is no limit on the amount of economic damages a plaintiff may receive. The state does, however, limit these damages to those that have actually been incurred by the plaintiff. A medical malpractice plaintiff can only receive damage award payments for bills that have already been received. Future medical expenses that involve speculating on the amount that will cover these future costs will not be paid until they have actually been incurred by the victim.
While non-economic damages still represent very real harm suffered by a medical malpractice claimant, they are much trickier to calculate as there are not really any concrete numbers to base them on. Non-economic damages include things such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, emotional stress, and loss of enjoyment of life. With this list you can easily see why it is difficult to place a number value on non-economic damages.
In recent years, New Mexico’s medical malpractice cap on non-economic damages has come under fire. The cap essentially means that victims could only receive up to $600,000 in compensation for non-economic damages. In April of 2018, a state court ruled the cap to be unconstitutional and the issue has made its way all the way up to the state supreme court.
Personal Injury Attorney
You go to your doctors trusting them to give you the care you need. Unfortunately, when medical providers fail to take the necessary level of care in treating patients, the consequences can be devastating. The Hunt Law Firm will help you recover the compensation you need to get back on your feet, pay the medical bills that have likely piled up all too quickly, and start your life anew. Contact us today.