Most people will need to receive medical procedures at some point in their lives. But one thing you hope you never have to experience is medical malpractice. If you have been the victim of medical malpractice in Nevada, you have rights. Read on to learn more about your rights, and what you should do next if you or a loved one has experienced medical malpractice in the state of Nevada.
What is Medical Malpractice in Nevada?
Nevada patients expect their physicians and healthcare providers to be qualified, ethical, and provide the highest standard of care. Unfortunately, medical care is not always up to the standards we have come to expect. Many physicians seem to have forgotten the Hippocratic Oath, which they swore to when they first became healthcare professionals.
Medical malpractice is a general term used to describe unethical, inappropriate, negligent, or substandard care by a physician, hospital, or other healthcare provider. However, this definition can vary depending on where you live. In fact, each state has its own specific definition of medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice in Nevada is defined as “the failure of a physician, hospital, or employee of a hospital, in rendering services, to use the reasonable care, skill, or knowledge ordinarily used under similar circumstances” (NRS 41A.009).
This means that, even though you put your faith—and quite literally your life—in a healthcare provider’s hands, you did not receive adequate medical care. In some cases, it means that the healthcare provider set out to deliberately harm you.
When to File a Medical Malpractice Claim
The state of Nevada imposes a statute of limitations for filing medical malpractice lawsuits. If you have experienced medical malpractice in Nevada, you will need to complete your claim within three years of the date that you became injured, or within one year of the date you discovered your injury.
If a child incurred brain damage in your medical malpractice case, the state of Nevada extends the time limit up until the child is 10 years old. Nevada will also allow an exception if it can be proven that the physician or healthcare provider involved in your procedure concealed their error when you should have been informed.
If for some reason you decide to file your claim after the deadline has already passed, your case will most likely be dismissed, and you will no longer be able to seek compensation for your injuries. It is imperative that you look into filing your claim as soon as possible.
Tort Reform and Damage Caps for Medical Malpractice in Nevada
Through something called the tort reform, Nevada restricts the amount of financial compensation you can receive for non-economic damages in a medical malpractice claim. Approved in 2004, this law was put into place to prevent doctors from leaving Nevada due to high medical malpractice insurance rates. The tort reform rules that medical malpractice victims can receive at most $350,000 for non-economic damages.
Non-economic damages are defined as compensation for things like pain and suffering and the loss of ability to enjoy life. Nevada caps compensation for these negative effects because they are not very easy to measure; thus, they are more difficult to pay out.
This is not to say that you can only receive up to $350,000 in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Depending on your case, you may be eligible for millions of dollars in financial compensation for economic damages like past and future medical bills and loss of income. These damages are more easily measured, so you are more likely to receive higher compensation.
Nevada Medical Malpractice Affidavit of Merit
Nevada requires that your medical malpractice claim must include an “affidavit of merit.” Simply put, this is a document asserting the validity of your injuries, signed by a qualified healthcare professional. In this case, the affidavit must show that, in the opinion of a physician who is not associated with your medical malpractice claim, you were the victim of medical negligence.
This requirement may seem straightforward, but it is key to remember that you have a time limit of one to three years to file your case. It is extremely important to secure this affidavit well within time provided by the Nevada statute of limitations.
When to Contact a Nevada Medical Malpractice Attorney
Navigating Nevada’s stringent laws and statute of limitations can be very challenging. The last thing you want to do is file your claim outside of your time limit, or have your case dismissed because it was not prepared properly.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice in Nevada, it is often in your best interest to work with an attorney who specializes in medical malpractice. With their expertise, you may be more likely to receive fair compensation for both economic and noneconomic damages.
Various exceptions and/or qualifications apply to not only this rule, but to other Nevada medical malpractice laws. An experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorney can provide you with the guidance you need to understand the laws and make a well-informed decision concerning your situation.
At Shook & Stone, our knowledgeable Nevada medical malpractice lawyers have successfully pursued compensation on behalf of victims of medical malpractice. To learn more about your legal rights and to ask any questions you may have, please contact us today for a free consultation.