In the civil law arena, one of the most complex and challenging types of claims is a case involving malpractice. Attorneys that represent clients in malpractice cases tend to be specialists with a significant amount of experience. With that said, perhaps you made the decision to pursue a malpractice claim with no lawyer. If that is the case, you must understand the basics of how to process a malpractice claim without legal assistance.
Apart from money damages awarded in trial, money damages are also given informally outside the judicial system in mediations, arbitration (both of which may be court annexed or non litigated claims) as well as in routine insurance settlements. Individual claimants or those represented by lawyers often present demands to insurers to settle for money. These demand for bodily injury compensation monies often set out damages that are similarly used in the court litigated pleadings. Demands are usually written summaries of a claimant's medical care and the facts which resulted in the injury.
Damages in a personal injury case, whether they be economic or non-economic, are generally limited to the coverage limits of the insurance policy. Often, this means that a person cannot sue an insurance company for a million dollars if the insurance coverage the defendant held only had a limit of $50,000. The most concrete way to think about this example is in the automobile insurance industry.
Once you have figured out what kind of case you have, you will need to prepare your documents and file your lawsuit. Sometimes you can obtain forms for your lawsuit from either the clerk of court or local law libraries, but not always. Similarly, legal aid groups may be able to help you complete your paperwork, evaluate your claims, and give you advice on what to file, where, and how much your filing fees will be. When your paperwork is ready you will need to file it with the clerk of court, pay a filing fee, and arrange to have a copy of the lawsuit and summons served on the other party. If you are unable to afford the filing fees, you can usually apply for indigent status and ask for a waiver of these fees.
Failure to warn a patient of known risks. Doctors have a duty to warn patients of known risks of a procedure or course of treatment -- this is known as the duty of informed consent. If a patient, once properly informed of possible risks, would have elected not to go through with the procedure, the doctor may be liable for medical malpractice if the patient is injured by the procedure (in a way that the doctor should have warned could happen). (To learn more, read Nolo's article Medical Malpractice: Informed Consent.)
If you have had a situation in which you were suffering from a serious disease and your doctor could not identify it. Because of which you suffered an injury or even life-threatening condition, you can go to your lawyer and talk to him about this condition. In such injury conditions or life-threatening conditions, the suffered person can sue his doctor and claim a monetary compensation from that negligent doctor.
When trying to determine if a doctor was negligent, your Nevada medical malpractice lawyer will want to see if your doctor followed what’s known as the “standard of care.” In essence, the standard of care is how a reasonable and competent healthcare professional would treat a similar patient under similar circumstances. This takes into account a patient’s age, gender, ethnicity and geographic area – all of which are factors that can affect one’s health and help a doctor diagnose a medical condition and come up with a treatment option.
How can you tell the difference between appropriate, but unsuccessful care and medical malpractice? Ask. Ask your doctor. Get second opinions if possible. Talk to lawyers, who may have medically trained staff that can give an informed opinion, or who may have dealt with the exact same issue (or doctor) you are dealing with. Do whatever you can to attempt to allay any misgivings you have about your care. But take any opinions with a grain of salt. Some doctors simply won’t accuse a “brother physician” of making a mistake. Some malpractice attorneys will exaggerate the potential of your claim in an attempt to make money. Use your best discretion when seeking opinions on your treatment, but be diligent in the pursuit of information. Until you file a lawsuit, you are your own best advocate and investigator.