Do You Need to Hire a Medical MalpracticeiLawyer in Reno?
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What Is Medical Malpractice?
The American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys defines medical malpractice as an instance when a hospital, doctor, specialist, or other healthcare professional, through negligence or omission, causes an injury to a patient. Not all medical mistakes are considered medical malpractice, however. And not all adverse outcomes are grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Medical professionals owe a duty to provide you with care that meets the standards expected of healthcare professionals with similar credentials facing similar situations. When a medical professional deviates from that standard of care and a patient suffers injuries or a worsening condition that would not have occurred but for the negligent act or omission, medical malpractice has likely occurred.
Examples of Medical Malpractice
Modern Healthcare reports that diagnostic errors are the most common source of medical malpractice claims in the United States. Any breach or violation of the standards of care that cause harm to you may constitute medical negligence, however. Medical malpractice lawyer Stephen Osborne has seen a wide range of claims against healthcare providers in Nevada. Some of the more common involve:
Failure to Diagnose
Wrong Site Surgery
Emergency room errors
Inadequate Followup or Aftercare
In most Nevada medical malpractice cases, negligence must be proven for a claim to be successful. Sometimes, however, negligence is presumed. Examples include:
Cases involving a foreign object that was left inside your body after surgery
A substance used in your medical treatment caused an explosion or fire
Heat, radiation, or chemicals caused an unintended burn
A part of your body was injured other than the part the doctor was treating
Wrong site or wrong patient surgery
Where Does Medical
Patients lose their lives to negligence
- 9Doctor Offices
- 9Medical Clinics
- 9Urgent Care Clinics
- 9Surgical Centers
- 9Birthing Centers
- 9Psychological Treatment Centers
- 9Urgent Care Clinics
- 9Nursing Homes
Find Out Who May Be Liable in Your Medical Malpractice Case. Call: (775) 789-4944
Who Can Be Held Liable for Medical Malpractice?
Any medical professional who deviates from the standard of care and causes harm to a patient can be held liable for medical malpractice. This could be your family doctor, an attending physician in the hospital, a radiologist, the person who processes or interprets your medical test results, your nurse or midwife, or even your pharmacist. To determine whether a negligent party can be held liable for medical malpractice, your medical malpractice lawyer must establish which parties owed you a duty of care and who played a role in causing your injuries.
In medical malpractice cases in Reno, it is not uncommon for multiple parties to be held liable for injuries. In some cases, medical facilities and healthcare agencies can be held liable for the negligent acts committed by their employees as well. Since physicians are usually not employed by the facilities in which they work, hospitals are not generally responsible for the negligent acts or omissions committed by the doctors who work there. There are exceptions to the rule, however.
If any of the following circumstances apply to your case, we may be able to help you file a lawsuit against the hospital and doctor simultaneously.
If a reasonable patient in your position would have believed that the doctor was an employee of the hospital, the hospital may be vicariously liable for the physician’s actions under the doctrine of ostensible agency.
If the hospital knew that the doctor had a history of substance abuse or medical malpractice, the facility may be able to be held liable for any of the doctor’s acts or omissions that caused you harm.
Additionally, if a doctor was contracted with an outside agency (like a medical group) to provide services at the hospital, the agency may be able to
be held liable for the physician’s negligence.
What Damages Are Available in Reno Medical Malpractice Cases?
The damages that are available to medical malpractice victims in Reno depend on various factors. These include, but are not limited to:
- 9The severity of your injuries or illness
- 9What caused you harm
- 9Who played a role in causing your injuries
Economic Damages in Nevada Medical Malpractice Cases
Economic damages, also known as “special damages”, are the financial losses you suffer because of medical negligence. If is fairly easy to assign a monetary value to your economic damages, since you will have medical bills and other types of statements to demonstrate your costs. In Nevada, there is no limit to the economic damages you may recover. Examples of economic damages include, but are not limited to:
- 9Current and future medical bills
- 9Prescription costs
- 9Medical equipment expenses
- 9Lost wages
- 9Lost earning capacity
- 9Lost benefits
- 9Modifications to your home or vehicle
Non-Economic Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases
Non-economic damages, or “general damages”, are meant to compensate you for your subjective losses. Since these types of losses vary significantly from plaintiff to plaintiff, they are more difficult to quantify. Typically, the amount of non-economic damages you receive will be based on the amount of economic damages you are awarded. Nevada places a $350,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. This is the limit to the amount you may receive from each defendant name in your lawsuit. Common non-economic damages include:
- 9Physical pain and suffering
- 9Loss of consortium
- 9Emotional trauma
- 9Loss of companionship
- 9Loss of enjoyment of life
Punitive Damages in Medical Negligence Cases
Performing surgery while intoxicated
How Nevada’s Statute of Limitations Applies to Your Medical Malpractice Case
The statute of limitations to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in civil court is typically three years from the date of the injury, or one year from the date the patient discovers the injury. Exceptions may apply to your case, however.
If the healthcare provider concealed the negligent act or omission upon which your medical malpractice claim is based, the statute of limitations may be extended.
Additionally, if the patient is a child who suffered a brain injury because of medical malpractice during childbirth, a case can be brought any time before the child reaches the age of ten.
If medical malpractice caused your loved one to die, your case will fall under Nevada’s wrongful death statute. If you are the personal representative or eligible relative of the decedent, you will have up to two years from the date of your loved one’s death to file a wrongful death claim against the negligent healthcare provider.
Call medical malpractice lawyer Stephen Osborne to determine how the statute of limitations may apply to your case.
How to File a Medical Malpractice Claim in Reno
In Nevada, various procedural rules, referred to as “tort reform,” have been put in place to curb the filing of meritless, or even frivolous, medical malpractice lawsuits. When these rules are not followed, a medical malpractice case can be dismissed by the court.
The Affidavit of Merit Requirement for Nevada Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
When you file a medical malpractice case in a Nevada court, your claim must include an “affidavit of merit.” Without an accompanying affidavit that complies with Nevada law, the court may dismiss your case “without prejudice.” This gives you the opportunity to re-file your case after you have obtained the affidavit.
To meet the requirements, the affidavit must be submitted by a qualified medical expert who:
- 9Supports your allegations stated in your complaint
- 9Identifies each medical professional or facility that allegedly committed medical negligence
- 9Describes in simple, concise, and direct terms, the negligent acts or omissions
Medical Expert Qualifications for Medical Malpractice Lawsuits in Nevada
Nevada also sets stringent rules about the qualifications required of the medical expert who submits the affidavit of merit in your case. In a Nevada medical malpractice lawsuit, the medical expert must be one who practices, or has previously practiced medicine in an area of practice that is substantially similar to the area described in your lawsuit. A dentist, for example, would not be an ideal medical expert in a medical malpractice case involving birth injuries like neonatal sepsis.
These same qualifications apply to medical experts giving testimony in court to prove that the negligent healthcare provider deviated from the accepted standard of care when your injuries occurred.
Settlement Conference Requirement for Nevada Medical Malpractice Cases
Under Nevada law, all parties to a medical malpractice or dental malpractice action, the parties’ attorneys, and the respective insurers are required to attend and participate in a settlement conference. The settlement conference must be held before a district judge other than the judge who is assigned to the case. Its purpose is to determine whether the case can be settled before proceeding to trial.
Although the judge may waive the appearance of any party for good cause, the failure of any party to attend the conference without a waiver is grounds for sanctions, including monetary sanctions.
At the conference, the judge decides the value of the claim. If the defendant rejects the judge’s settlement suggestion, and you are ultimately awarded a larger amount, the defendant will be responsible for paying your costs and attorney fees. If you reject the suggested settlement amount, however, and you are awarded a smaller amount, you could be responsible for paying the defendant’s costs.
You may benefit from the settlement conference requirement because it can eliminate the months-long wait for a trial date, providing a speedier resolution to your case. If a settlement agreement cannot be reached, however, your case will proceed to trial.
How to Prove Medical Malpractice in Reno
Your medical malpractice lawyer must prove four elements for your negligence case to be successful.
Duty of Care
For a viable medical malpractice case to exist, your attorney must establish that the defendant owed you a duty to provide treatment with the reasonable care, knowledge, and skill expected, based on the accepted standards of care.
Breach of Duty
Your medical malpractice lawyer will need to show that the healthcare professional deviated from the standard of care expected of similarly trained and experienced healthcare providers in the same or similar circumstances.
An adverse outcome in a medial setting is not enough to constitute medical malpractice. We will need to demonstrate that the medical provider’s deviation from the standard of care, through negligent act or omission, proximately caused your injuries.
Likewise, the mere fact that a medical mistake was made is not enough to sue for medical malpractice. For your case to be successful, we must be able to show that you suffered some type of injury because of the negligent act or omission.
Types of Cases Medical Malpractice Lawyer Stephen Osborne Handles
Medical malpractice lawyer Stephen Osborne handles all types of malpractice cases. Whether you suffered temporary injuries, catastrophic injuries, or your loved one died because of medical malpractice, our law firm will provide personalized attention to your case.
Call Now to Find Out if You Have a Medical Malpractice Case.
Emergency Room Errors
Hospital emergency rooms are often filled with patients who have life-threatening illnesses or injuries. In an environment where every second counts, there is no room for medical error. Although emergency room practitioners take on an extraordinary burden in providing lifesaving treatment to patients, you should not be forced to suffer the consequences of substandard care. While some emergency room mistakes are fairly minor, others like misdiagnosing or delaying the treatment of a heart attack or stroke can be fatal. If you or a loved one suffered an injury, or your condition worsened, and you believe that an emergency room error is to blame, you may be entitled to compensation.
Surgical errors can cause severe infections, internal bleeding and organ damage, disfigurement, nerve injuries, and even death. In many cases, victims must undergo additional surgeries and ongoing medical treatments for months, and even years after a surgical mistake. Sometimes, the damage is permanent, and patients must live with amputations, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, or paralysis. If you suffered serious injuries or your loved one died on the operating table, a surgical error may be to blame. Call our office for a free case evaluation to discuss the details of your case.
Medical Malpractice in Nursing Homes
Medical malpractice is not the same as nursing home negligence. For a nursing home resident to have a medical malpractice case in Nevada, he or she must have been receiving medical care that caused the injury or illness. Common examples of medical malpractice in nursing homes include, but are not limited to: medication errors, failure to diagnose, failure to obtain informed consent, and failure to treat or act upon the symptoms of a medical condition.
Why File a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Approximately 1 in 6 patients in hospitals in the United States are victims of some type of medical malpractice. Unfortunately, only about 3% of victims take legal action by filing a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit. As a result, many negligent medical care providers are never held accountable for the harm they cause. They go on to make the same, or similar, mistakes when treating other patients. And hundreds of thousands of injured patients are forced to shoulder the emotional, physical, and financial consequences of medical mistakes.
Filing a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit can:
Ensure medical professionals are held to the standards expected of similarly qualified healthcare providers in their field
Hold healthcare professionals accountable for their reckless acts or omissions
Prevent additional patients from suffering the same fate
Provide financial relief to you and your family members
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FAQs About Medical Malpractice
Lawsuits in Reno
Can I Sue an ER Doctor for Medical Malpractice?
You can file a lawsuit against an emergency room doctor for medical malpractice if the physician deviates from the accepted standards of care, and you are injured as a result. If the ER doctor was an employee of the hospital where the injury occurred, the facility may be liable for your losses as well.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Reno?
Most medical malpractice lawyers in Reno accept cases on a contingency fee basis. Under this model, the attorney will file the claim, negotiate with the other side, gather and evaluate evidence, and front reasonable litigation costs. There are usually no up-front costs to you, and the attorney’s fees and advanced costs are reimbursed when your case is resolved.
Can I Sue If I Got an Infection While I was in the Hospital?
If you contracted an infection while you were a patient in the hospital, you may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit to recover compensation. For your claim to be successful, you must be able to prove that your medical provider’s negligence caused the infection. If surgical instruments were not properly sterilized, your urinary catheter was not cleaned properly, or your surgical dressings were not changed like they should have been, for example, you may have a case.