Can You Sue a Doctor in Nevada?
Last Updated on September 27,2023
Doctors generally occupy a high position of trust among their patients. However, doctors are not perfect and can make mistakes which cause injuries which alter a patient’s life forever. A patient who has suffered an injury due to their doctor’s error may consider suing their doctor. If a doctor, hospital, or other healthcare provider has been negligent in the state of Nevada, it is possible to file a medical malpractice suit against them.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Under the law, doctors owe a duty of care to their patients, which means from the moment a doctor is engaged in treating the patient, they are obligated to do so to an expected standard of professional care. Medical malpractice is defined as substandard, unethical, or negligent care. If a doctor makes a mistake fitting the legal definition of negligence, and the patient can prove this negligence caused their injury, they can be sued for damages. The basis of a medical malpractice case are the following components of negligence:
- A duty owed to someone;
- A breach of that duty;
- Harm occurs due to the breach of duty, or is approximately caused by the breach.
Should a patient be unsatisfied with the standard of care, or suffer harm which would have happened under normal circumstances, the patient does not have proof of negligence on behalf of the doctor. There must be proof of the doctor’s negligence causing serious harm, such as a permanent disability, chronic pain, and suffering, or a significant loss of income.
What are the Laws About Suing a Doctor in Nevada?
Nevada laws about medical malpractice are defined under Revised Statute 41A.009. 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.”
Examples of medical malpractice in Nevada include:
- The patient has an condition the doctor diagnoses incorrectly, with a harmful delay, or not at all
- The wrong medication or wrong dosage
- Not ordering necessary tests
- Conditions in hospital care resulting in bedsores
- Premature discharge from the hospital
- Infections as a result of being hospitalized
- After surgery, an object was left inside the patient’s body
- The wrong body part being operated on during surgery
- Persistent pain following surgery
All states have a limit on the damages which can be claimed in a medical malpractice lawsuit, to encourage doctors to stay in the state in case they are sued by a patient, and do not exceed the coverage of their medical malpractice insurance. The limit for non-economic damages in Nevada is $350,000, which are effects of an injury that do not necessarily incur medical bills. These include anxiety, loss of enjoyment, or pain and suffering.
For those seeking more detailed information on medical malpractice in Nevada, it’s essential to understand the nuances and specific regulations that govern such cases. For instance, understanding the intricacies of medical malpractice in Nevada can provide clarity on the rights and responsibilities of both patients and practitioners. Similarly, it’s crucial to be aware of the limitations related to wrongful death in the state. For a comprehensive overview and to delve deeper into various aspects of medical malpractice, one can explore the related articles and resources available.
If a patient decides to sue a doctor in Nevada, they should know a medical malpractice lawsuit has a statute of limitations. The suit must be filed either within three years from when the injury occurred, or within one year from when the patient realized they had an injury. There is a statute of limitations of 10 years to sue a doctor if negligent care of a child results in brain damage. If the doctor did not inform the patient of the error which caused the injury at the time it occurred, there is an exception to the statute of limitations.
What are the Steps to Sue a Doctor in Nevada?
There are four main steps to take when a patient wants to sue a doctor for malpractice in Nevada.
- First, it’s important the patient rules out the option of working with the doctor directly. Filing a malpractice claim against a doctor is complex and the patient should communicate with the doctor to see if the problem can be fixed before going down the road of litigation. Most doctors will be willing to treat the injury if the other option is a lawsuit.
- If communicating with the doctor involved with the injury does not yield the desired result, the next step for the patient is to seek advice from the medical licensing board. The board may have the option to issue a disciplinary action to the doctor or provide advice to the patient about how they should proceed.
- To sue a doctor for malpractice in Nevada, the patient needs to secure an affidavit of merit to support their case. This is a document signed by another doctor to confirm the patient’s case that the doctor’s negligence was the cause of their injuries. The affidavit will contain an examination of the patient’s medical records and confirm the injury was caused because their doctor’s treatment did not meet standard medical practices. The patient needs to consult with their attorney about filing the affidavit and be aware of the statute of limitations, which is one to three years. Outside this time frame, the case may not be heard by the court.
- When the patient and their attorney proceed with a medical malpractice lawsuit, the most favorable outcome may be an out-of-court settlement. This is a very common resolution when suing a doctor in Nevada. The state of Nevada has a cap of $350,000 for non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering, but for medical bills and lost income, the patient may claim millions of dollars in compensation.
Deciding to sue a doctor in Nevada is a decision a patient shouldn’t take lightly. However, a healthcare provider who caused an injury due to negligence could be responsible for long-term health problems which incur excess medical bills, lost income, pain, and suffering, and compromise the patient’s quality of life – perhaps for years to come. If you believe you have suffered due to a doctor’s negligence, it is important to consult an expert attorney who can help you to gather the evidence you need and seek the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a consultation and let our expert team help.