Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Las Vegas
When someone thinks of personal injury cases, they often envision drunk motorists behind the wheel, negligent property owners, or workplace injuries. However, they often overlook the idea of a medical professional acting negligently. This isn’t a surprise considering that many people view their healthcare provider as the most trustworthy professional in their lives. This is what makes it so disheartening when medical negligence leads to serious injuries or wrongful death. If you or a loved one have suffered injuries due to the improper actions of a healthcare provider, a medical malpractice lawyer in Las Vegas may be able to help.
At Bernstein & Poisson, we appreciate everything that doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals do for citizens and visitors of our city. In reality, so does everyone else. That’s why doctors and nurses are consistently ranked as the most trusted professionals in America. It’s this level of trust, however, that makes it so important to hold negligent parties accountable. Without accountability, there’s no way for patients to know for sure that they’re receiving the best care possible. If you believe you’ve suffered harm due to negligent medical professionals, contact Bernstein & Poisson today to schedule a free consultation.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
When many people hear the term medical malpractice, they immediately equate it to medical mistakes. While this is a sound assumption, it’s not completely accurate. Yes, mistakes on the part of a healthcare provider could result in successful medical malpractice lawsuits. However, the term is actually much broader than you might imagine. Medical malpractice is when a healthcare professional harms a patient by deviating from the accepted standards of care within the medical community. While this definition would certainly apply to many types of healthcare mistakes, it’s also possible that purposeful actions could cause harm.
For instance, there are some doctors who have beliefs that are unsupported by medical science. These range from the idea that vaccines cause autism to the notion that all-veggie diets can cure cancer. If a physician’s patient ends up harmed because their medical practitioner pushed these beliefs into their treatment, a medical malpractice claim could very well be appropriate. Healthcare professionals can also fail to obtain informed consent and take other purposeful actions that another medical expert would not engage in. By deviating from accepted standards of care in the medical field, a practitioner can cause serious harm.
Do You Have a Valid Medical Malpractice Claim?
While some people have recovered millions following medical injuries, it’s important to know that not all negative outcomes fall under the umbrella of medical malpractice. The simple fact is that bad things happen at times. There are instances where there isn’t much a healthcare professional can do to help a person. There are also times when the best possible treatment could also result in harmful results. Professionals in medical facilities frequently have hard choices to make, and as long as their decisions follow the expected standard of care for their field, they won’t typically be penalized for negative outcomes.
If you suffered an injury or harm due to a healthcare practitioner’s actions, there are a few specific elements that will dictate whether you have a valid medical malpractice claim. These are:
- Doctor-patient relationship: You must receive treatment or agree to treatment by a medical professional. That doesn’t just mean a doctor. Nurses, pharmacists, therapists, and others count as well. This relationship establishes a duty of care on the part of the healthcare worker.
- Violation of duty: Once the doctor-patient relationship is established, patients are owed a duty of care. This means the medical professional must provide a level of care that meets the accepted standards within their field. Failure to do this could cause serious harm.
- Harm and damages: A valid medical malpractice lawsuit requires that harm occurs due to the practitioner’s violation of their duty. There must be a direct causal link, and damages must occur because of it. Damages could include emotional distress, medical bills, lost wages, and more.
If these elements are met, you may have a valid claim that professional negligence occurred. However, there are still some hurdles you’ll have to cross. For instance, it’s not enough for you to just believe that a doctor violated their duty of care. Under Nevada law, you have to obtain an affidavit of merit for the legal process to play out. This is a statement from another qualified healthcare professional that attests to your claim’s validity. There are also other issues regarding liability that could arise, but these will depend upon the circumstances of your case. That’s why it’s so important to speak with a medical malpractice lawyer in Las Vegas.
What Are the Common Types of Medical Errors?
Meeting with medical malpractice attorneys is a great way to understand whether you have a valid legal claim. However, it also doesn’t hurt to recognize the most common types of medical errors. As discussed already, negative outcomes are possible even when medical professionals do everything right. However, there are instances where — if a specific act occurs — it’s almost always due to negligence on the part of the specialist. Again, it’s important to speak with a legal professional to better understand your case. However, the following are among the most common types of medical errors that lead to lawsuits:
- Surgical errors (e.g., damaging healthy organs)
- Anesthesia mistakes
- Birth injuries
- Delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis
- Failure to treat
- Retained surgical bodies (e.g., foreign objects left inside patients)
- Procedural errors
- Failure to obtain informed consent
- Prescription drug errors
If you believe you may have experienced any of these issues, it’s important that you reach out for legal representation. It’s unlikely that a healthcare provider will just outright say that they’ve engaged in professional negligence, and there’s certainly not going to be any large red print in your medical records saying, “We messed up.” With Las Vegas medical malpractice attorneys on your side, though, you’ll have a legal advocate who can investigate your injury and figure out exactly what went wrong.
It’s an unfortunate fact, but medical errors are now one of the leading causes of death in America. The only way to reverse this trend is to demand accountability if a medical professional fails in their duty of care. The legal team at Bernstein & Poisson can assist in this endeavor and provide aid in your quest to recover compensation. And since we work on a contingency-fee basis, you’ll never have to worry about paying for our services if we don’t recover compensation on your behalf.
Who Is Liable in Medical Malpractice Cases?
Like other personal injury cases, a medical malpractice claim must establish liability. Your case must show clear evidence that a person or entity (e.g., healthcare system, clinic) was negligent in providing care. It’s important to point out, though, that it’s not always a doctor who’s at fault. While it may seem as if a physician is the ultimate culpable party when mistakes occur, this is not the case in every situation. The following list includes the most common parties that have or share liability in medical malpractice cases:
- Registered nurses
- Medical facilities
- Nurse practitioners
- Medical technicians
- Physical therapists
This list certainly seems extensive, but when it comes to negligence, it’s far from exhaustive. Any medical provider or healthcare worker has the potential to cause harm through carelessness or failure to abide by best practices. In some cases, there may even be multiple parties responsible for injuries. For instance, a doctor could prescribe a medication that’s harmful to their patient — but the pharmacist could also overlook potentially serious interactions with other prescriptions the individual is taking. Consuming the wrong medicine can cause serious injuries or even wrongful death.
Due to the complexity of liability in these cases, you should consider speaking with a Las Vegas personal injury attorney. This will give you a better idea of who may be liable for your injury and how you can hold them accountable.
What Damages Are Available for Medical Malpractice?
There are a variety of damages available in Las Vegas medical malpractice claims. If you’re eligible for compensation, the most common you’ll be entitled to are known as special damages. These are economic in nature and are meant to reimburse you for monetary losses. The cost of additional treatments, lost time from work, job retraining costs, physical therapy, and other expenses fall into this category. You may also be entitled to general damages. These include non-economic losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment in life.
It’s worth noting that there is a cap on non-economic damages in our state. Thanks to the Keep Our Doctors in Nevada law, non-economic damages are capped at $350,000. This is true even if there are multiple at-fault parties in your case. However, you may be eligible for punitive damages. This is a court award meant to punish the defendant — rather than compensate the victim — for particularly egregious acts of negligence or recklessness. These are typically capped at $300,000 if your compensatory losses are $100,000 or less. If you’ve suffered more than $100,000 in losses, the cap on punitive damages is three times your actual losses.
Is There a Deadline for Filing Medical Malpractice Claims?
If you suffer a personal injury due to medication errors, delayed treatment, or other medical mistakes, you no doubt are feeling overwhelmed. In addition to worrying about lost wages while out of work, medical expenses related to your new injury, ongoing therapy needs, and other losses — you’ll also find yourself at the mercy of professionals who you may believe already failed you. Unfortunately, all these burdens piling up can make it difficult to find time to file a legal claim. However, this is something you need to do. That’s because Nevada has a three-year maximum statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims in certain cases.
The more common deadline, however, is one year after the discovery of the injury. If discovered after three years, lawsuits typically aren’t possible. Either way, this time goes by quickly. You might get caught up scheduling appointments, undergoing the appropriate tests to identify the extent of your injuries, submitting insurance paperwork, and a variety of other necessities. Additionally, you may find that the insurance company you’re dealing with tries to draw out settlement negotiations with the hope of pushing you past the statute of limitations. The important thing to remember is that seeking compensation doesn’t have to add to your burdens.
At Bernstein & Poisson, we can take on these obligations for you. You’re busy dealing with an injury, and there’s a chance you may still be stuck in the hospital. Don’t add settlement negotiations and lawsuits to your plate of tasks to handle on your own. Our legal experience means we can do all the heavy lifting for you. Contact us today for a free initial consultation. We’re ready to help.
Contact Our Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Las Vegas Today
We trust medical professionals with our very lives, and in most cases, this trust is well-placed. Unfortunately, some of these specialists simply don’t live up to the expectations of their profession. If you or a loved one are a victim of medical negligence, it may be difficult to recognize the path forward. You could be confused about whether a medical error rises to the level of negligence, or you may wonder whether you’re entitled to compensation at all. This is why it’s so important to work with a personal injury law firm that has experience in medical malpractice claims and lawsuits. You shouldn’t have to shoulder this burden on your own.And at Bernstein & Poisson, we work hard to make sure you don’t. Our team legal team has over 60 years of combined experience, and they’ve served Clark County and the surrounding areas for four decades. Medical malpractice cases are rarely straightforward, but this doesn’t mean financial compensation isn’t on the horizon. If you’ve suffered harm due to healthcare negligence, you can schedule a free consultation at Bernstein & Poisson today to get a better understanding of your rights. Contact us now by calling (702) 707-5934. If you end up retaining our services, our medical malpractice lawyers in Las Vegas will work diligently to get the justice you deserve.
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By Scott L. Poisson
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Dealing With The Insurance Company
When a Lawsuit Is Filed
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Special Considerations in Specific Types of Cases