In medical care, there are often numerous different providers, employees, staff, contractors and so on involved in patient care. There are times when each is negligent in his, her or its own right. However, due to the high requirements for punitive damages, none of the individual negligence arises to the level that would support a punitive damages claim.
However, New Mexico has recognized that collectively, the conduct can amount to “malicious, willful, reckless, or wanton conduct” required by the New Mexico jury instructions. As such, in cases of serious injury or wrongful death caused by medical malpractice, it is necessary to look at the whole to determine if and how punitive damages might come into play.