Medical Malpractice Law in New Mexico

Medical malpractice law in New Mexico adheres to the strict form of comparative negligence, making New Mexico one of the few states to do so.

Statutes of Limitations in New Mexico

Any malpractice action in New Mexico, whether it is for injury or wrongful death, must be brought within 3 years from the date when the act or omission occurred. A minor under 6 years of age has until his or her 9th birthday to bring the malpractice action.

The state's Supreme Court ruled that the statute might be unconstitutional under some circumstances. The case that prompted this ruling involved a child who had suffered cardiac arrest. 2 years, 280 days after the last treatment, the court ruled that eighty-five days was too short in this case.

 

New Mexico State Malpractice Laws at a Glance:

New Mexico State Tort Law
Statute of Limitations Three years from date of original injury.
Damage Award Limits Limit of $200,000 liability for health care providers, anything in excess to be paid from Patient's Compensation Fund.  Total damages not to exceed $600,000.
Joint Defendant Liability Proportionate liability for defendants.  Exception made in cases of deliberate intent to harm.
Expert Witness No stipulations for witnesses.
Attorney Fees No limits on attorneys fees

Contributory or Comparative Negligence in New Mexico

New Mexico has adopted the pure form of comparative negligence wherein a claimant's negligence can't bar recover but will only reduce the claimant's recovery proportionally to his or her own negligence.

Joint and Several Liability in New Mexico

Where comparative negligence applies, a tortfeasor is only liable for the portion of the judgment equal to his share of fault. Joint tortfeasors are jointly and severally liable for that portion of any judgment equal to their combined share of fault when one tortfeasor's liability may result in the vicarious imposition of liability on the other.

Vicarious Liability in New Mexico

Hospitals are not generally liable for the acts of independent contractors who are members of the medical staff, and in the state of New Mexico are only liable for their employees.  The exception is when a hospital exercises enough managerial control over an employee to make him a de facto employee is a question that must be decided by jury.

Expert Testimony According to New Mexico Law

Expert testimony Is necessary to prove a claim for medical malpractice, unless the alleged negligence is so obvious that it will be within a layman's comprehension.

Damage Caps in New Mexico

The state of New Mexico enforces a cap of to all damages except punitive damages and damages for medical expenses. The limit does not include future medical expenses. If a plaintiff requires future medical care, the expense must be paid as incurred.

Arbitration

The state's medical review commission must review any claim for medical malpractice in the state of New Mexico. The commission's findings are not binding and not admissible in any subsequent court proceedings.

Consult with a malpractice attorney if you would like to get more information.

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