Medical malpractice causes untold harm to people and their loved ones. When healthcare providers make mistakes, it can lead to exceedingly high medical expenses, loss of income, and even loss of life.
The Harmonson Law Firm represents patients in Las Cruces, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas. Our dedicated team fights for fair compensation so that victims of medical malpractice and their loved ones can recover from their losses.
In 2021, New Mexico’s governor signed new medical malpractice legislation. In a complicated compromise, the state’s political leaders worked with patient advocates, malpractice insurance carriers, lawyers, and healthcare providers to draft legislation that addressed shortcomings associated with the Medical Malpractice Act.
Issues Leading to the New Medical Malpractice Act
- This new legislation addresses the caps imposed by New Mexico’s Medical Malpractice Act and creates the framework to better manage the Victim’s Compensation Fund.
Patients and trial lawyers were especially concerned with this previous act’s $600,000 cap on damages, along with the mismanagement of state funds. Fearing that this cap was too low to account for extensive medical costs, victims of medical malpractice and attorneys made emotional pleas with the state legislature to amend previous laws.
- In addition to raising these caps, revamping the Medical Malpractice Act involved addressing the need for accessible and affordable malpractice insurance for healthcare providers. Changes to this act include adding coverage to midwives, nurse practitioners, and other healthcare providers.
A major contributor to the need for overhauling legislation was the fact that the Victim’s Compensation Fund was running a deficit of $56 million. In addition to hospitals striking secretive deals with the superintendent of insurance, this deficit increased from $36 million to $56 million between 2017 and 2020.
In light of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, lawmakers, activists, victims, and attorneys realized a very real need to address a growing problem.
- Healthcare providers were seeing staggering increases in their medical malpractice insurance premiums, as well. Physicians reported a 49% increase in their premiums in the last five years.
New Reform Highlights
Striking a balance between the needs of healthcare providers and victims of malpractice involved ample compromise and diligence. The result of this compromise was signed into law by Governor Lujan Grisham in April of 2021.
Highlights of this new legislation include:
- Raising the cap for physicians who work as independent providers to $750,000
- Increasing damages caps for hospitals and clinics to $4 million with successive increases each year that will ultimately reach $6 million
- Including legal coverage to other healthcare providers such as nurse practitioners, chiropractors, podiatrists, and doctors of osteopathy
- Requiring third-party administrators for the Victim’s Compensation Fund
- Creating an advisory board to review malpractice claims
- Establishing annual audits for the Victim’s Compensation Fund
You can read this legislation in its entirety by clicking here.
Consult with a Medical Malpractice Attorney in Las Cruces, New Mexico
If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, it is important to consult with an attorney before taking action. Victims of medical malpractice have rights to seek fair compensation for damages from insurance carriers, through civil suits, and from New Mexico’s Victim’s Compensation Fund.
The Harmonson Law Firm has provided representation for victims of misdiagnoses, surgical errors, birth errors, intentional misconduct, foreign object retention, and complications arising from drug reactions and anesthesia errors.
Navigating your legal options can be overwhelming. Consulting with an experienced medical malpractice attorney can make a world of difference. Our dedicated team takes a compassionate approach to ensuring that our clients get the fairest outcomes possible. Call the Harmonson Law Firm today at (575) 208-2572 to receive a complimentary medical malpractice case evaluation.