At the Cogburn Law Offices, an experienced Las Vegas medical malpractice lawyer will represent patients injured through negligent or reckless care and gross incompetence by medical professionals. The process of recovering against a doctor or hospital is complicated and can be overwhelming, but we understand this area of law and can help you through the process.
The financial hardships from your injury are crippling enough. With lost wages and medical expenses draining the resources you have, the last thing you need to worry about is the cost of an attorney. At the Cogburn Law Offices, our Las Vegas personal injury lawyers do not collect any personal injury fees unless we collect on your behalf.
Medical Malpractice Resources:
- What is medical malpractice?
- What are the different types of medical malpractice?
- What is a doctors duty of care?
- What are the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice suit in Nevada?
- How do I file a medical malpractice claim in Nevada?
- What do I need in order to file a medical malpractice claim in Nevada?
- Who is liable in a medical malpractice suit?
- What damages can I recover from a medical malpractice suit?
- When should I contact a medical malpractice lawyer?
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Nevada civil law defines medical malpractice as the failure of a health care provider to use the reasonable care, skill, or knowledge in rendering services that a similarly trained and experienced professional would normally use under similar circumstances.
Health care providers include doctors, dentists, nurses, therapists, psychologists, surgeons, and all other medical professionals. Medical malpractice falls under personal injury law if it causes harm to a patient in Nevada. Medical malpractice can refer to any action or failure to act that falls outside of accepted standards of care.
Types of Malpractice
There are many ways in which a doctor can potentially harm a patient, but there are four very broad categories a personal injury attorney uses when discussing a potential malpractice lawsuit.
- Misdiagnosis—When gross negligence causes a misdiagnosis, there are grounds for a lawsuit. A personal injury attorney must show that a reasonable and competent doctor, with the same set of evidence, would have arrived at a different and appropriate course of treatment for the patient. The attorney must also show that the misdiagnosis caused direct harm or caused the patient to miss an opportunity for treatment.
- Surgical Errors—There are three different ways a patient can claim surgical errors. First, the surgeon made a mistake, like cutting an organ or leaving an instrument inside the body. Second, the surgeon operated with negligence, such as attempting surgery while drunk. Finally, nurses can be held liable for poor post-operative care that leads to complications.
- Birth Injuries—A child is extremely vulnerable during birth, and doctors who do not take the appropriate measure of care can harm the newborn. Brain injuries, nerve damage, and broken bones are the result of rough handling, and can lead to a lifetime of pain.
- Medication Errors—Doctors who prescribe the wrong drug or the wrong dose commit malpractice. Additionally, doctors who fail to get a complete medical history or list of drugs currently taken by the patient may be liable for adverse reactions to the medication.
Most medical malpractice claims will fall into one of the four major categories, but if your injury claim falls outside of these categories, you may still have a malpractice claim.
What is a Doctors Duty of Care?
Doctors have a sacred duty to protect the health and well-being of their patients. Most doctors follow their oath without fail, but some doctors put their patients at risk through negligence or poor decisions.
When a doctor harms a patient, the patient may be eligible for compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit. In order for a Las Vegas medical malpractice lawyer prove malpractice, the plaintiff must show the four elements of malpractice were present for the patient.
- Duty—The doctor was responsible for providing care to the patient. Failure to meet the “standard of care” is a violation of the doctor’s duty, and grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
- Breach—A breach occurs when the doctor failed to meet the standard of care. There are two ways to show a breach: either the doctor’s actions fell below the acceptable standards, or the doctor deviated from normal treatment procedures.
- Causation—The plaintiff must demonstrate that the doctor’s action, or inaction, caused some type of harm to the patient.
- Damages—Damages must be clearly defined and specific for the patient to claim malpractice.
If the attorney can show all four elements were present in the plaintiff’s situation, the doctor can be held liable for his or her actions.
Nevada Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries from alleged medical malpractice, you have three years from the date of the incident or one year from the date you discover injuries to file your lawsuit in Nevada. You will follow the three-year timeline if you knew about your injuries the day of, such as if you took a medication and immediately had a serious allergic reaction. If you discover your injuries days or months after the physician commits medical malpractice, you will follow the one-year deadline. You must meet the statute of limitations for the courts to agree to hear your medical malpractice case.
How to File a Medical Malpractice Complaint in Nevada
Once you identify your personal injury case as a medical malpractice claim, discuss your specific deadline for filing with a Las Vegas attorney. Then, continue onto the claims process. Visit the civil court in the county in which your incident occurred. Explain that you wish to file a medical malpractice claim. You will receive the paperwork you must fill out to bring your claim.
You will need to describe the incident and your injuries, give the defendant’s name and contact information, and include other details. You will also need to fulfill a few other requirements specific to Nevada, such as an affidavit of merit. A lawyer can help you with all these processes.
What You Need to File a Complaint for Medical Malpractice
Filing a medical malpractice claim is not as easy as requesting recovery from the defendant. You must prove you have grounds for a claim through a few different documents and certificates before the courts will even consider your case. Hiring a lawyer can ensure you don’t miss any important filing requirements in Nevada. You need the following if you wish to file a medical malpractice complaint in Las Vegas:
- Proof of negligence. First and foremost, you need proof that the defendant in question owed you a breach of duty, breached this duty, and caused your injuries. Proof may come in the form of medical records, witness statements, or expert testimony.
- Certificate of merit. The certificate (affidavit) of merit is a document containing the signed opinion of an expert medical witness, stating he or she believes the claimant’s injuries occurred from a serious mistake by a health care provider.
- A medical malpractice attorney. Medical malpractice claims are especially complex types of personal injury cases. Patients need attorneys for the best odds of filing and winning their cases in Nevada.
Gather information about your case, review the filing requirements, and take the first step toward compensation with help from an attorney. Our Las Vegas lawyers have everything you need for a strong medical malpractice claim in Nevada. We can help you with everything necessary to file this type of claim and fight for compensation.
Who is Liable in a Medical Malpractice Suit?
Most doctors are not hospital employees; instead, they work as independent contractors who have staff privileges within a medical institution. For this reason, hospitals typically cannot be held responsible for the actions of the doctor. In Nevada, there are some exceptions to the rule, that will allow you to pursue damages from both the doctor and the hospital.
- Ostensible Agency—The idea of ostensible agency is that when you went to the hospital, and the hospital assigned a doctor, you reasonably assumed the doctor was an employee of the hospital.
- Negligent Credentialing—Hospitals have the responsibility to vet anyone who practices at their facilities. If an unqualified doctor performs medical services in the hospital, the hospital can be held liable for failure to check the doctor’s credentials.
- Negligence—Doctors with a history of malpractice or substance abuse pose a danger to patients at the hospital. If the hospital knew about the doctor’s history, and still granted privileges, the hospital is responsible for the doctor’s actions.
What Damages Can I Recover in Medical Malpractice Cases?
Your medical malpractice case could result in financial compensation for your incident-related damages, including:
The amount you receive for your case will depend on how serious your injuries are, as well as how much they will impact your future. The skill of your attorney can also determine the final value of your case.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Las Vegas
Cogburn Law Offices represents clients who have grounds for medical malpractice claims in Las Vegas, Nevada. We know how to handle and litigate these claims in alignment with our clients’ best interests. If you wish to find out whether you have a case and much you could receive with our assistance, contact us for a free case evaluation.