Even the healthiest and luckiest among us sometimes have to go to the doctor. When we do, we have a reasonable and understandable expectation that we will get the very best from our medical professionals as they apply years of training and experience to help us get better. Unfortunately, not all people in health care carry out their duties to the same level of absolute responsibility to the patient — and things can go wrong. If this has happened to you, you may be wondering about the process of filing medical malpractice claims in Nevada and what to expect if you decide to seek compensation for your injuries or pain and suffering.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
You can’t sue for malpractice simply because you experienced discomfort or are unhappy with the outcome of medical treatment. All treatments come with risks and the potential for serious side effects beyond a doctor’s control. The actions of a healthcare provider only rise to the level of medical malpractice under certain specific circumstances as established under state law.
Under Nevada law, medical malpractice is defined as “the failure of a physician, hospital or team member of a hospital, in rendering services, to use the reasonable care, skill or knowledge ordinarily used under similar circumstances.” The key is in showing that your doctor acted with negligence or made a significant mistake.
More specifically, the elements of medical malpractice claims require proof that:
- Your doctors owed you a professional duty based on established standards of care.
- The doctors breached that duty, either by making negligent decisions or failing to take specific actions.
- The breach of care caused an injury.
- That injury led directly to damages.
Proving a violation of a standard of care is not simple. Standards of care vary from specialty to specialty and are generally established by profession itself. Claiming medical malpractice requires extensive investigation, including gathering and examining records and comparing them to the experiences of other patients and expert testimony to put the procedures into context. The concept of a duty of care is well-established in history, with precedent indications dating back to ancient Rome.
Common Claims Under Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice is a broad term that encompasses many patient treatment scenarios. The most common allegation involves errors in diagnosis, according to an analysis by CRICO, a medical professional liability firm associated with Harvard University. Those cases resulted in more than $550 million in claims. The other common reasons for medical malpractice claims include errors in medical treatment, medication, surgery, or patient monitoring. Studies estimate that over 250,000 people annually die from medical mistakes and negligence alone.
New York records the most medical malpractice claims of any state at about 85 claims per 100,000 people, according to TrueCostofHealthcare.org. Nevada’s shares are in the lower half of states, at about 31 claims per 100,000 people.
According to the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys, the claims can take on many forms, including:
- Errors in diagnosis, including omissions.
- Wrong interpretations of lab results.
- Unnecessary surgery.
- Too early discharge.
- Failure to order proper testing.
- Failure to recognize symptoms.
- Failure to take an accurate medical history.
These items require careful consideration as a potential part of any medical malpractice claim. Let the personal injury attorneys at De Castroverde Law help guide you in developing documentation and deciding on the best course of legal action to take.
Medical Malpractice Claim Caps
Under medical malpractice law, a plaintiff can sue for financial losses due to their injuries. These may consist of items such as the cost of treatments, including time in the hospital, and medications or other non-pharmaceutical treatments such as a wheelchair or other things. Out-of-pocket losses also include time missed from work to attend doctor appointments or if your injuries prevent you from working altogether.
The law also allows a plaintiff to sue for “non-economic damages.” These typically fall under the category of “pain and suffering,” such as emotional anguish, humiliation, inability to take part in certain enjoyable activities, harm to one’s reputation, and other items.
In Nevada and many other states, these non-economic damages are often limited by medical malpractice claim caps which put a maximum on the amounts you can collect. Currently, in Nevada, you are limited to recovering $350,000 in non-economic damages in connection with medical malpractice claims. Voters approved the caps in a 2004 ballot initiative.
It’s important to note that Nevada includes the concept of comparative negligence in its implementation of medical malpractice personal injury liability. That means that you, as the plaintiff, might be assigned a percentage of the blame and your damages award would be reduced accordingly.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims?
It’s important to consult an experienced medical malpractice attorney right away if you feel medical negligence or omissions have injured you. Nevada’s statute of limitation on medical malpractice claims has two sections. You must file either within three years of the date of the injury or within one year after you discover (or should have discovered) the injury — whichever date is sooner. A court may dismiss your claim if you file too late. De Castroverde Law and its medical malpractice attorneys and staff can help make sure you meet these critical deadlines.
Get Effective Legal Counsel for Your Medical Malpractice Claim
Have you been injured following a medical procedure or treatment? If so, you may have a medical malpractice claim. Let the experienced attorneys at De Castroverde Law work with you to understand the circumstances of your case and recommend the proper way forward. Our bilingual team is made up of veteran personal injury attorneys who will fight hard for just compensation for your injuries. We have experience in many personal injury cases, ranging from slip-and-falls to injuries at nightclubs, premises liability, product liability, car accidents, taxi cab accidents, casino incidents, and much more. We will provide aggressive, dependable legal representation. Call us or contact us online today for a no-obligation consultation.