A Nevada medical malpractice lawsuit has a one-year time limitation from the date of the malpractice, which may be extended up to three years from the date of the discovery of the malpractice, whichever happens first. The court is likely to dismiss a lawsuit filed past the three-year deadline.
Time Limit for Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim in Nevada
Nevada requires anyone intending to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit in its civil court system to adhere to a specific deadline. This type of law that sets a deadline for filing a claim is known as a “statute of limitations.”
In Nevada, filing a medical malpractice claim involves more than just filing the initial complaint. Victims must file an affidavit of merit from a licensed and recognized medical practitioner that is the same or in a similar field as the defendant. In this affidavit document, the medical practitioner states that he or she has examined and supported the claims in your complaint. If you fail to include the affidavit from a medical expert, the court is likely to dismiss your case, unless it falls within some very narrow exceptions.
In Nevada, you usually must file a medical malpractice claim within one year from the date the negligence or error caused your injury, or three years from the date you discovered or should have reasonably discovered your injury, whichever occurs first. Nevada’s time limit for medical malpractice claims is available in Nevada Revised Statutes.
Statute of limitations laws and application of laws can be very complex and riddled with exceptions and time extenders and shorteners. Therefore, if you are interested in pursuing a malpractice action, then seek immediate legal consultation. Do not delay as you can lose your rights to pursue your claim. If you attempt to file the lawsuit past the deadlines, the accused medical provider will most likely bring a motion to have your case dismissed. You may lose your right to pursue compensation for losses or damages arising from your malpractice-related injury.
Working with a medical malpractice lawyer from the moment you sustain a medical malpractice injury or suspect you are a medical malpractice victim can help protect your rights. The lawyer can investigate the incident and determine how the deadline applies to your case. The lawyer can also guide you on how to file a claim for a hospital injury.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in Nevada Medical Malpractice Claims
The following exceptions apply to the Nevada medical malpractice statute of limitations:
Deliberate Concealment of the Malpractice
An exception applies to the Nevada medical malpractice time limit when your medical provider deliberately conceals the medical error, omission, or negligence that resulted in your injury. In such a situation, the court pauses the statute of limitations for the period that you cannot recognize the provider’s malpractice due to concealment.
Birth Defect or Brain Damage to a Child
If a child sustains a birth defect or brain damage due to medical malpractice, the parents would have until the child reaches 10 years of age to bring a medical malpractice claim against the liable medical provider. The extension gives the parents time to identify and determine the full extent of their child’s injuries before filing a lawsuit.
A child can suffer a birth defect or brain damage because of neonatal sepsis caused by an untreated infection. Failure to diagnose or treat infectious diseases in a newborn by hospital staff may amount to medical negligence or malpractice. This is especially true if the medical staff failed to take appropriate steps to prevent or treat the infection.
Pausing or extending the time limit might happen in some extenuating situations, such as if criminal litigation is going on against the defendant concurrently. In 2020, Nevada temporarily stayed the statute of limitations because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
What Is the Purpose of the Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations offers a plaintiff enough time to investigate the cause and extent of an injury. It also allows the plaintiff to get legal support, file a claim with the liable party, and try to resolve the issue before going to court.
The statute of limitations ensures certainty and conclusiveness. It allows lawsuits to start and proceed to trial within a reasonable timeline when relevant evidence is available for inspection and witnesses are alive, easy to find, and can recall details of the incident well. That way, the involved parties, and insurance companies can anticipate the conclusion of lawsuits and their possible implications.
Statutes of limitations also protect potential defendants from harassment and unreasonable prosecution. They prevent plaintiffs from filing dragged-out court cases on irrelevant claims just to harass the defendant.
Medical Malpractice Damages Limit in Nevada
Nevada has a law that sets a cap on non-economic damages available in a medical malpractice lawsuit. This law limits the settlement amount you can collect for your intangible losses, even after winning a medical malpractice case. The limit on non-economic damages in Nevada’s medical malpractice lawsuits is $350,000.
Non-economic damages seek to compensate the plaintiff for the subjective, non-monetary costs or losses arising from the medical malpractice injury. These damages include physical pain and suffering, emotional trauma, loss of consortium, and loss of quality of life.
The damages cap on Nevada’s medical malpractice lawsuits does not extend to economic damages. Economic damages compensate the plaintiff for objective and measurable monetary losses, including medical bills, future medical bills, lost wages, and other verifiable losses stemming from the defendant’s malpractice.
Nevada Medical Malpractice Examples
A misdiagnosis could lead to unnecessary or delayed treatments and medications. Prolonged use of unwarranted medicines or treatment regimens could adversely affect your overall health. A misdiagnosis arises when your healthcare provider fails to recognize signs and symptoms, loses test findings, and makes medical blunders.
Incorrect drug administration or prescription occurs frequently in hospital settings. Prescription errors arise when a patient gets the wrong medication for his or her illness. It also occurs when a patient receives the wrong dosage of medicines or drugs belonging to another patient. Pharmacists, pharmaceutical companies, and medical officers responsible for prescribing medication could be potentially liable for prescription errors.
Surgical errors that occur in operating rooms may amount to medical malpractice. Surgical mistakes can happen during the surgery itself or during post-surgery care. The surgeon may, for instance, leave surgical tools inside the patient’s body or injure another organ during the operation. The surgeon or other hospital staff may fail to take proper steps to prevent an infection after surgery.
Anesthesia Administration Errors
Anesthesia administration mistakes include failure to consider a patient’s medical history, administering excessive anesthesia, or using defective equipment. These mistakes can result in brain damage, spinal cord injuries, and even death.
How Can Hospitals Minimize Medical Malpractice Cases?
Hospitals need to implement evidence-based interventions to reduce medical errors significantly. A training program designed to foster teamwork among hospital staff is an example of evidence-based intervention.
Another effective evidence-based intervention is creating and implementing effective procedures for handoffs. A handoff is the transfer of patient care from one caregiver to another. Medical errors are so rampant during this transfer. Effective handoff training and protocol can significantly reduce medical errors and improve patient outcomes.
Implementing a tool to detect medical malpractice is another example of evidence-based intervention. The Global Trigger Tool, for instance, scans medical records to identify adverse events based on “triggers” or “cues.” Hospitals can investigate the adverse event to determine if it stemmed from a medical error. They can then make the necessary adjustments to prevent further harm to the patient.