Even though hospitals are often thought of as places of healing, they are sometimes places where the unthinkable happens. Some patients are subjected to negligent, reckless, or intentionally harmful care. This substandard care can come in many forms, including failure to diagnose, surgical errors, and medication errors. When this negligent care results in the death of a patient, his or her family can be left facing significant damages that are emotional and financial in nature.

Although surviving family members may be able to recover compensation for their losses through a wrongful death lawsuit, they first must prove that the medical professional in question failed to provide the applicable standard of care. Generally speaking, the applicable standard of care is one that a practiced individual in the field would adhere to when it came to his or her care, expertise, and skill.

There are certain considerations that can be taken into account when determining whether a doctor adhered to the applicable standard of care, though. For example, the community where the doctor practices can play a role. This is because a rural doctor who lacks access to state of the art medical equipment should not be expected to provide the same level of care as a doctor at a new hospital who has such access. Whether the doctor in question was a specialist can also affect the applicable standard of care

Arguing over the standard of care can play an important role in a medical malpractice lawsuit, especially those involving wrongful death. It often requires the questioning of expert witnesses in the field and putting together compelling legal argument that can convince a judge and jury. To find help with this and other legal issues related to wrongful death claims, New Mexico residents can turn to legal professionals they can trust.