Nevada

Nevada Medical Malpractice Laws

Medical malpractice cases in Nevada follow rules and procedures that are similar to many other states possessing relatively straightforward laws with few restrictions or encumbrances on the injured party to retain compensation for damages and other associated losses. Plaintiffs in Nevada who adhere to the applicable laws, rules, procedures, statutes, and other claims case filings requirements during their Nevada medical malpractice stand an above average chance comparable to the national average in obtaining a favorable outcome, whether by settlement or by verdict at civil trial.

Statutes of Limitations Under Nevada Medical Malpractice Law

Per the state of Nevada’s statutes of limitations on medical negligence torts, medical malpractice lawsuits in Nevada must be filed within three (3) years of the occurrence of the medical malpractice error or one year after discovery of the injury that was caused by that error.

While this statement of Nevada’s statute of limitations law may seem apparent initially, but in practice, applications of statutes of limitations in medical malpractice cases are rarely straightforward and are always fact-specific relevant to a legally-contested date of occurrence or discovery, whether in Nevada or elsewhere.

Patients Should Not Underestimate the Stringency Associated with Statute of Limitations Periods Tolling

An inherent danger in any medical malpractice case is the failure to meet legal deadlines, however, originally filing a suit in a given jurisdiction is usually sufficiently ample to stop the statutes of limitations period during the pending malpractice case. However, in practice, the criticality of adhering to statutes of limitations deadlines in Nevada, as well as other states, is illustrated by the facts described in Winn v. Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center, in which a Nevada resident’s daughter suffered brain injuries that stemmed from the defendant’s medical malpractice.

The plaintiff filed the case more than a year after his daughter’s injuries became apparent, leading to the dismissal of the case by the trial court. The Nevada Supreme Court partially vacated the decision by the potential concealment of the injuries by the defendant hospital. Thus, in certain cases, claims in Nevada may incur an extended one (1) year period of viability after the resulting injury was discovered or could have been discovered through the patient’s reasonable exercise of diligence in his or her follow-up care. However, it is strongly advised that both legal and medical counsel being involved in any post treatment assessment to determine whether or not negligence did in fact occur, as well as gather a preliminary picture of the extent of the damages facing a patient as the result of the professional medical negligence.

Any Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Is Subject to Case-specific Factors in Light of Relevant State-Specific Medical Negligence Statutes

While this statement of Nevada’s statute of limitations law may seem apparent initially, but in practice, applications of statutes of limitations in medical malpractice cases are rarely straightforward and are always fact-specific relevant to a legally-contested date of occurrence or discovery, whether in Nevada or elsewhere.
Medical Malpractice Laws in Nevada Rely on the Several Liability Standard

Nevada holds defendants severally liable for the damages if a defendant is found to have proportionally caused in a medical malpractice case. Several Liability Standards under Nevada medical malpractice law dictate that a given defendant shall only be liable for his or her individual degree or percentage of fault when applied to the total value of the extant damages awarded to the plaintiff. Ultimately, only the portion of the damage that the trier of fact determines each defendant caused will result in financial liability for a given individual defendant under Nevada’s medical malpractice statutes.

Medical Malpractice Claims in Nevada Adhere to a Comparative Negligence Framework

Like many states, Nevada follows the doctrine of comparative negligence, which holds that a plaintiff’s negligence must not be greater than the negligence of all defendants combined, or else the plaintiff will be barred from any recovery in totality following the resolution of a claims case trial.

Nevada Caps Non-Economic Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases at $350,000

Nevada voters approved a $350,000 cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases in 2004, with injuries and damages such as pain, suffering, diminished quality of life, loss of consortium, emotional turmoil, and other non-quantifiable harms being included as those non-economic losses subject to the strict $350,000 statutory damage cap. The Nevada Supreme Court upheld a challenge to the constitutionality of the state’s noneconomic damage cap in 2015, and to date, while a non-economic damages cap is in place, the state of Nevada does not place a cap on economic damages related to a medical malpractice injury.

Relevant Nevada Medical Tort Damage Caps in Medical Malpractice Cases Nevada’s $350,000 Cap

While a noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases has very recently been upheld by the Nevada Supreme Court. That court disagreed with a lower court’s ruling that declared the cap unconstitutional. The Nevada Supreme Court also clarified that the cap does not apply separately to each plaintiff or defendant, but is instead an aggregate cap. The import of this ruling is that even if a Nevada jury awards an amount above $350,000 to a person whose injuries stem from medical malpractice, the court can reduce those damages to bring them in line with the statute. Although noneconomic damages are capped in Nevada medical malpractice cases, the state imposes no other caps on actual damages, which always will include items such as medical expenses, lost income from decreased employability, prospective future medical expenses, and other numerically-quantifiable losses sustained by a victim of medical negligence

The State of Nevada Mandates a Settlement Conference for All Medical Malpractice Cases

Nevada does not have a formal arbitration process for medical malpractice cases. However, all parties to a medical malpractice case are required to participate in a settlement conference in good faith before a district judge other than the judge assigned to the case.

Requirements in Nevada for Expert Testimony and Verification of Claims before Filing Medical Malpractice Lawsuits:

Like many other states, Nevada requires a medical malpractice plaintiff to file an affidavit of merit to verify that the defendant failed to meet applicable standards and that the failure to respond to these standards resulted in the injury. The affidavit should be filed with the medical malpractice complaint and must be supported by a medical opinion from an expert who maintains a medical practice in the same field as the prospective defendant.

Like many other states, Nevada requires a medical malpractice plaintiff to file an affidavit of merit to verify that the defendant failed to meet applicable standards and that the failure to meet those standards resulted in the injury. The affidavit should be filed with the medical malpractice complaint and must be supported by a medical opinion from an expert who maintains a medical practice in the same field as the prospective defendant.

Medical Malpractice May Fall Under the State of Nevada’s Wrongful Death Statute

Death as a result of medical malpractice in the state of Nevada may also be subject to the state’s wrongful death statute. A wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of a person’s death. The personal representative, spouse, or parents of the deceased are eligible to file a wrongful death claim under the statute, though other dependents may also be able to file a lawsuit. Damages available in a wrongful death case in Nevada include funeral costs, medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of companionship.

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