When seeking medical treatment, all patients have a right to expect that physicians, nurses, and other health care providers will treat them in accordance to the accepted standard of care. This means that medical professionals assess, evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients as any reasonable medical professional would under similar circumstances. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, especially when a medical care provider is negligent in any phase of treating a patient. In fact, medical negligence causes thousands of preventable injuries and deaths every year, according to a recent study from the U.S. Inspector General.
Although there are risks to seeking medical treatment, negligence in medical settings should never be tolerated. This is why there are medical malpractice laws in place in the state of Nevada. Not only do these laws ensure that negligent medical professionals are held accountable when they provide substandard care, they also enable victims and families to seek a recovery of the damages they incurred as a result of this negligence.
At Shook & Stone, our Las Vegas medical malpractice attorneys are passionate about guiding injured victims and their loved ones through what can be challenging cases. Physicians, hospitals, and their insurance providers typically fight medical malpractice claims aggressively, which is why it is critical to have a proven lawyer on your side. It is also important to understand the laws in place and how they provide you with rights when you have been harmed by a medical professional.
Here are few things to consider when initiating a medical malpractice claim:
- Physicians are respected – Medical professionals are generally held in high regard. After all, they provide a critical service treating patients in pain or patients who have serious conditions. This can create difficulties in medical malpractice cases, especially when juries have to set aside their respect for medical professionals to objectively review the facts of a case and determine if a doctor, nurse, or other professional acted negligently when treating a patient.
- There are risks – As mentioned above, there are inherent risks to seeking medical care, especially when it comes to more serious conditions and procedures. Surgery has risks, medications have risks, and other forms of treatment come with potential risks as well. Not only should medical professionals inform patients of these risks, they should treat them in accordance to acceptable methods that reduce these risks as much as possible. When care is provided in a way that is substandard or otherwise negligent, these risks can be exacerbated to a point where they are no longer reasonable. Failures in identifying potential risks and complications, as well as failures to properly address those risks can also arise to medical malpractice in some cases. Because there are inherent risks, however, it takes a careful review of the facts to determine if a victim has grounds to pursue a case.
- Aggressive defense – There is no doubt that medical malpractice claims are defended aggressively by medical professionals and their insurance providers. Often, these insurance companies are large corporations with financial interests in paying victims as little as possible. By working with attorneys who can clearly and convincingly show how doctors and hospitals failed to uphold their legal duty of providing reasonable care, and who have the insight and resources to level the playing field with large insurers that put profits over people, victims can gain the support needed to negate their defense strategies.
- Documentation – Evidence is critical to any medical malpractice case, which is why it is important for victims and families to organize and collect all information and records related to their treatment. Doing so can provide the foundation for a claim, and can aid your attorney in supporting and illustrating arguments as to how medical professionals provided substandard care. In some cases, especially those with technical medical terminology and information, our legal team works with medical experts to support the documentation and evidence.
- Caps may be in place – If you follow the news, you are probably well aware of tort reform efforts to place caps on medical malpractice awards. These caps are typically motivated by corporate powers that have financial stakes in limiting the amount of compensation victims are paid by insurers and hospitals. Those types of caps do exist in Nevada, and they include caps on noneconomic damages (which include emotional injuries suffered by victims and families) and punitive damages (awarded in cases involving egregious acts of negligence). There are also Nevada laws that can affect compensation awards in cases involving several liability (the liability of each party that contributed to a victim’s damages) and ostensible agency (cases involving medical professionals who are not actually employees of a hospital).
- Serious injuries are common – Due to the nature of medical malpractice, and the difficulties of these cases, medical malpractice claims typically involve serious injuries, often resulting in substantial damages or permanent impairment or disabilities for victims and their loved ones. In many cases, they may involve tragic consequences of wrongful death. Our attorneys carefully vet medical malpractice cases to ensure they have merit to stand up in a court of law.
- Act now – Nevada medical malpractice laws create time limits for when victims can bring legal action over injuries or illnesses sustained as a result of medical negligence. In most cases, medical malpractice claims in Nevada must be filed within three years of the date an injury occurred, or within one year that a victim discovers that negligence played a role in their injury. Because the statute of limitation may vary depending on the facts of a case, it is always wise to seek an evaluation with an attorney as soon as possible. Acting fast can also provide your attorney with the time to build a strong and effective claim.
Medical malpractice cases are always unique, which is why we encourage victims to discuss the individual facts of their case personally with a member of our legal team. Our attorneys are backed by decades of collective experience, and have a proven record of success handling all types of medical malpractice cases. To learn more about medical malpractice laws in Nevada, your rights, and how Shook & Stone may be able to fight for the compensation you deserve, contact us for a free consultation.