How To Sue a Doctor in Albuquerque

If your doctor has harmed you through medical negligence, you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit against them seeking monetary damages. If the malpractice occurred in Albuquerque, New Mexico state law will govern your claim. 

Be careful, though, as New Mexico medical malpractice law is quite complex – you’ll almost certainly need an attorney to help you. 

Step 1: Identify the Nature of Your Claim

Try to reduce your claim to one or more simple terms, such as:

  • Failure to diagnose
  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
  • Surgical error
  • Prescription error
  • Failure to treat
  • Birth injuries

This is not a complete list. Depending on the circumstances, there are dozens of claims that you might assert against your doctor. 

Step 2: Talk to an Albuquerque Medical Malpractice Attorney

It is true that for certain personal injury cases, you might be better off handling the case on your own instead of hiring a lawyer. A New Mexico medical malpractice claim is not such a case. 

Although you have a legal right to represent yourself, you probably shouldn’t exercise that right. Just about any Albuquerque medical malpractice lawyer will offer you a free initial consultation.  

Step 3. Obtain Medical Records

Collect all medical records that are relevant to your injury. Don’t forget to include your medical bills because they are relevant to the amount of your claim.

Step 4: Obtain a Certificate of Review

You need permission from the New Mexico Medical Review Commission (MRC) to file a lawsuit against your doctor. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that your claim is not frivolous. Here are the steps you need to take to obtain this certificate:

  • Find a Qualified Medical Expert

Find a medical expert qualified in the same specialty as the defendant (cardiology, for example). This expert must review your medical records and the facts of your case to determine if you have a reasonable basis to file a malpractice lawsuit.

  • Prepare an Affidavit

An affidavit is a sworn statement. The affidavit must state that the expert has reviewed the relevant medical records and that there is a reasonable basis for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. The affidavit should include information about the expert’s qualifications and experience, a summary of the expert’s review of the medical records;

an explanation of how the defendant breached the standard of care, and the expert’s opinion on how this breach caused your injury.

  • Submit the Affidavit

Submit the affidavit and any supporting documents to the New Mexico Medical Review Commission (MRC). The MRC is responsible for reviewing medical malpractice claims before they can proceed to court. You might have to pay a filing fee.

  • Attend the MRC hearing, if any:  

The MRC may or may not schedule a hearing.

  • Obtain the Certificate of Review

If the MRC finds a reasonable basis for your claim, they will issue a Certificate of Review. This will help you file a lawsuit, but you might be able to file even without it.

Not all cases will necessarily involve all of these steps exactly, depending on the facts involved in the situation.

Step 5: File a Lawsuit Complaint

Draft a formal complaint outlining your allegations and file it with the appropriate court. Your lawyer can help you draft this document. Turn it into the court clerk along with the proper filing fee. This is the document that initiates your lawsuit.

Step 6. Serve the Complaint on the Defendant

Deliver the complaint, and a court summons to the defendant. You must comply with New Mexico’s rules for service of process.

Step 7. Conduct Pretrial Discovery

Engage in the pretrial discovery process, where both parties exchange information and gather evidence. 

Step 8. File and Answer Pretrial Motions

Before trial, you might need to file or answer several pretrial motions, such as a motion for summary judgment.

Step 9. Try To Negotiate a Settlement

Negotiating a settlement should be easier once you have completed pretrial discovery. If you’re still deadlocked, try mediation. The testimony of an expert witness could tip the scales in your favor.

Step 10: Trial

Trial should be an absolute last resort when negotiations and mediation fail. Trials typically last a few days, but some of them go on for months. Some doctors will fight to the bitter end against what they see is an attack on their reputation.

You Only Pay Attorney’s Fees if You Win

You don’t need to worry that you can’t afford to pay your lawyer. Since most medical malpractice attorneys charge legal fees as a percentage of the amount you win, you can wait until you win your case and deduct your attorney’s fees from that amount. Set up a free case review to learn about your next steps.

Contact the Albuquerque Personal Injury Lawyers at Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers Today

If you were injured due to other’s negligence in Albuquerque, NM, and need legal help, contact our Albuquerque personal injury attorneys at Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free case review today.

Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers
400 Gold Avenue SW, Suite 650
Albuquerque, NM 87102
(505) 594-3621