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Understanding Medical Malpractice and When You Might Have a Legal Claim


Medical malpractice refers to incidents where patients experience harm at the hands of a medical professional, like a doctor, nurse or hospital, who has failed to provide the appropriate degree of care.

It’s important to note, however, that medical malpractice does not cover every mistake made by a doctor, or cases where a patient is unhappy with treatment or outcome. The key factor in medical malpractice is negligence, meaning the medical professional was not reasonably competent or skilled, that the level of skill rendered by the doctor was below the acceptable standard of care, and as a result, the patient was caused harm and injury.

What Are Some Common Causes of Medical Malpractice?

Although medical malpractice occurs in a small number of cases, there are certain medical errors that pop up more often than others.

Such cases include:

  • Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis – These accounts for a significant portion of medical malpractice claims. When medical professionals misdiagnose or fail to diagnose a serious condition, it can mean that the patient misses out on the appropriate treatment to prevent severe harm or death
  • Childbirth Injuries – Many fatal injuries can be traced back to medical malpractice, including fractured bones, brain injuries and nerve damage. If negligence occurs during prenatal care, it can harm the fetus, the mother, or both. Negligence during childbirth can also harm both the baby and the mother
  • Medication Errors – From an initial prescription to the final administration of the prescription, a patient can be harmed if a professional has made an error in ordering or administering medication. Generally, this involves miscalculations or errors in dosage, meaning the patient receives too little or too much of the necessary medicine
  • Anesthesia Errors – These types of errors can be severe. The slightest miscalculation by an anesthesiologist may result in serious, perhaps permanent injury, such as brain damage. It can also result in death
  • Surgical Errors – Mistakes that occur in the operating room also qualify as medical malpractice. Whether a surgeon was negligent during the course of an operation, or the nursing personnel were negligent during post-op care, these types of mistakes can risk severe complications, like infections or death

The Importance of Proving Negligence

Medical malpractice cases are very difficult.  The plaintiff has the burden of proving that the medical professional’s conduct fell below the standard of care, which caused the patient damages. In order to even file a complaint for medical malpractice, another physician or medical professional practicing in the same or substantially similar specialty has to state opinions that the defendant medical professional’s conduct fell below the acceptable standard of care and explain why.  Sometimes, even while it may seem that the medical professional engaged in negligent conduct, another expert reviewing the facts of the case, including the medical records, may not find that the conduct rises to the level of malpractice.   Additionally, Nevada has caps on non-economic damages (i.e., pain and suffering), so recovery, if any, can be limited.

If you believe that you or someone you love has been a victim of medical malpractice, it is important that you seek the expertise of a skilled Las Vegas personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Because there are a number of gray areas in medical malpractice, it’s important to understand the circumstances of your case and how they compare to the laws in your jurisdiction.

Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Las Vegas

In Las Vegas and the surrounding communities in Nevada, the legal team at Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen specializes in representing victims of personal injury, including those who have suffered an injury due to medical malpractice.

Our firm can work with you to assess your physical condition and determine the best legal strategy for the recovery of compensation and other damages related to your injury.

To schedule a free initial consultation with one of our Las Vegas medical malpractice attorneys to assess your medical malpractice case, contact us today at (702) 505-8115.
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