Does Nevada Have a Medical Malpractice Cap?

medical-malpractice-caps-in-nevadaIn one word, yes. Nevada has a state law that limits the amount of non-economic damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice cases. According to Nolo.com, Nevada Revised Statutes section 41A.035 sets the cap at $350,000. This is the maximum a plaintiff can receive for non-economic damages.

What Are Non-Economic Damages?

Non-economic damages refer to the types of damages that are subjective and more difficult to calculate. Some examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, stress and anxiety, scarring, and loss of enjoyment of life. As you can see, it can be very difficult for a jury and judge to assign numerical value to these types of damages. In order to bring more predictability and fairness to the system, the Nevada state legislature decided to institute the cap. Although non-economic damages are capped at a certain amount, economic damages are uncapped.

What Are Economic Damages?

Economic damages are all the costs of the plaintiff that are much easier to calculate. A good way to determine if something qualifies as economic damages is to ask if it came with a receipt or bill. Some examples of economic damages include:
• Medical Bills
• Future Cost of Care
• Lost Earnings Reimbursement
• Harm to Plaintiff’s Ability to Work

Because these types of damages are simpler and more fairly calculated, these are not capped. Economic damages alone can add up to a very large sum of money if the plaintiff has consistent future medical expenses or has lost his ability to work.

Other Limitations on Medical Malpractice

The state of Nevada has structured its laws to discourage medical malpractice suits except in the most serious and obvious cases. Though these laws make it more difficult and costly to file a case, they help reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits and hopefully reduce the cost of practicing medicine in Nevada.

One of these limitations is the Nevada time limit for filing a medical malpractice case. According to the Nevada State Bar, a lawsuit must be filed within one year of the plaintiff’s discovery of medical malpractice or within three years of the date of the injury, whichever is earlier. The thought behind this time limit is that if the malpractice is very serious and obvious, then the plaintiff will have no problem filing a lawsuit within one year. In addition, because it takes time and money to collect the evidence and expert testimony, a lawyer will not take on a medical malpractice case unless he also sees a very clear example of malpractice or negligence.

The other limitation is that the state of Nevada requires medical malpractice lawsuits to be filed with an affidavit from a medical expert. The affidavit must explain why the injury or death was directly caused by a mistake made by the health care provider. If a bad outcome from an operation could be attributed to the patient’s health or age, then the lawsuit cannot be filed.
Despite these limits and requirements to file medical malpractice, the fact is that sometimes these lawsuits are absolutely necessary.

If you find yourself in the situation where you have been profoundly affected by a doctor’s mistake, it is your right to seek compensation. Our team of medical malpractice attorneys will fight for you and help you get what you deserve.

Bighorn Staff

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