Nevada has several laws on the books that apply specifically to medical malpractice cases. In this article, we’ll look at several of these laws, starting with the time limits for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Nevada. We’ll also look at how Nevada handles damages in medical malpractice cases and examine a few key procedural rules that apply specifically to medical malpractice cases.
To read the full text of many of these laws, visit Nevada's official code online: Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 41A: Actions for Medical or Dental Malpractice.
Nevada sets a time limit on filing medical malpractice claims in its civil court system. This kind of law is called a "statute of limitations."
In Nevada, a medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within three years of the date the injury was inflicted or within one year of the date the injury was discovered, or should reasonably have been discovered, whichever is sooner (this is for any injury occurring after 2002). If an injury involves brain damage or birth defects to a child, the time limit is extended until the child’s 10th birthday.
Because several factors can affect the running of the statute of limitations, you might want to speak to a Nevada attorney who handles medical malpractice cases in order to determine exactly how the time limits apply in your case. You don't want to let the statute of limitations pass without getting your medical malpractice complaint filed. If you try to file the lawsuit after the deadline has passed, the health care provider you're trying to sue will ask the court to dismiss your case, and the court will almost certainly grant the request.
Nevada caps non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases at $350,000. That is the maximum amount that each plaintiff may receive from each defendant as compensation for non-economic damages. You can find this law codified at Nevada Revised Statutes section 41A.035.
So, what are non-economic damages? They are meant to compensate the plaintiff for the negative effects of medical malpractice that aren't easily calculable; losses that are more subjective from plaintiff to plaintiff. These include damages for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, anxiety, and similar losses stemming from the malpractice.
Keep in mind that Nevada has no cap on economic damages resulting from malpractice, so a plaintiff can recover the full amount for losses like the cost of medical treatment (past and ongoing), lost income, reduced earning capacity, and other easily quantifiable damages.
Nevada requires an affidavit of merit to be filed along with a medical malpractice complaint (the court filing that gets the case started). The affidavit must contain the opinion of an expert medical witness stating that the plaintiff's injuries were caused by a serious mistake or omission by a health care provider, and the expert must practice in the same field of medicine as the potential defendant (or at least in a similar field.)