Nevada law puts into place strict guidelines for how to file a claim for a hospital injury. These guidelines specify filing deadlines that must be met, requirements for expert testimony, rules about comparative negligence, and more. If you fail to follow the correct procedures, or miss critical steps when filing your medical malpractice claim, your case could be dismissed. 

Hiring a Reno medical malpractice lawyer to help you navigate the claims filing process for hospital injuries will ensure you retain your right to recover compensation for your losses.

Steps for Filing a Claim for Hospital Injuries in Nevada

Following these steps can help make sure that your hospital negligence claim is successful and that you recover fair compensation for your losses.

Determining Whether You Have a Viable Nevada Hospital Injury Claim

If you are a victim of a medical error, your medical malpractice attorney will need to determine whether you have a viable case against the defendant before you file your hospital injury claim. Your medical malpractice lawyer will need to establish that:

  1. The doctor or medical staff owed you a duty to provide treatment based on established standards of care. A duty of care is established when a doctor/hospital-patient relationship exists.
  2. The medical provider breached the duty of care. We will need to show that the medical provider failed to perform in the same way that a reasonable medical professional would have performed in a similar situation. 
  3. The healthcare provider’s actions, or failure to act, caused you harm. Your medical malpractice lawyer may use your medical records and expert testimony to demonstrate that you would not have suffered an injury if the medical provider was not negligent.
  4. You suffered some type of harm because of the medical provider’s actions or failure to act. To recover compensation in a hospital injury claim, you must have suffered physical or emotional harm that required medical treatment or impacted you financially.

Reviewing Statutory Time Limits for Hospital Injury Claims

Nevada enforces strict deadlines for filing medical malpractice claims. In most cases, victims must take legal action within three years of the date the injury occurred, or within one year from when it was discovered or should have been discovered. If you wait too long to file a lawsuit, the courts will likely dismiss your case. 

Filing an Affidavit of Merit

You must file an affidavit of merit to verify that the medical provider failed to provide treatment that met the applicable standards for his or her profession, and that the failure caused your injuries. The affidavit, which is filed with your medical malpractice complaint, must be supported by the expert opinion of a medical professional who practices in the same field as the negligent party.

Passing a Panel Review

The law requires that a screening panel review your medical malpractice case before it proceeds any further. The panel determines whether there is reasonable cause to believe that medical negligence occurred, and that the negligent act or omission caused your injuries.

Participating in a Settlement Conference

Nevada requires that all parties to a medical malpractice case participate in a settlement conference that is held before a district judge other than the one who is assigned to the case. 

Determining How the Several Liability Standard Applies to Your Hospital Injury Claim

In Nevada, defendants are severally liable for damages they are found to have proportionally caused to victims. Several Liability Standards dictate that each defendant’s degree of fault should be considered when determining the party’s percentage of liability. If a doctor was 40% responsible for your injuries, for instance, he or she will only be legally liable for 40% of your total damages.

When Can a Malpractice Victim File a Claim Against the Hospital?

If your medical malpractice lawyer can demonstrate that the hospital was responsible for the negligent party’s actions, you can file a claim against the facility to recover compensation for your injuries and financial losses. For example, under the doctrine of “respondeat superior”, the hospital is responsible for the actions of the medical professionals they employ as long as the employees were acting within the scope of their employment when the incident occurred. Nurses and medical staff are typically employees of the hospital. Doctors, however, may be hospital employees or independent contractors. Hospitals are not generally responsible for the actions of doctors who are independent contractors. The hospital may be held liable, however, if they did not investigate the credentials of an attending physician before granting privileges at the facility, or if they allowed a doctor who they knew, or should have known, to be incompetent to provide treatment to patients in the hospital. 

A hospital might also be liable for its own negligence. If, for example, the hospital fails to ensure that there is an adequate number of licensed nurses on duty to ensure patients have access to the care they need, or if they don’t implement proper procedures to prevent infections like sepsis, injured victims can file a claim against the hospital.