The New Mexico Tort Claims Act creates many obstacles to fair compensation for patients who have suffered harm as a result of medical malpractice by governmental medical providers. There is no good reason for these hurdles other than to shield governmental medical providers from responsibility for the harms they cause.
Deadlines are shorted significantly with the first running in as little as 90 days.The most important and urgent of obstacles is the Tort Claims Notice Requirement. The deadline here runs in only 90 days from the date of the medical negligence in case of personal injury and 6 months in cases involving wrongful death.
Once past these early deadlines, the statute of limitations is greatly shortened. The statute of limitations in claims against private entities for personal injury or wrongful death is 3 years in New Mexico. For claims against the government, it is only 2 years.Limits on compensation serve only to shift the burden from the government for its wrongful behavior to victims and families. The next obstacles is the caps or limits placed on damage awards for claims against the government. Damage awards are compensation for injuries. These are limited to $400,000 for personal injury claims and $750,000 for wrongful death.
Keep in mind that for personal injury claims, an additional $300,000 may be recovered under the Act for past and future medical expense.
In any event, in cases of serious personal injury or wrongful death, these limits will not come close to fully and fairly compensating a victim and his or her family. The limits simply shift the burden of catastrophic medical negligence to the victim and away from the government.
Albuquerque personal injury and wrongful death attorneys, Collins & Collins, P.C. can be reached at (505) 242-5958.