Who Is Liable in Medical Malpractice Cases in Nevada?

Medical malpractice is one of the most complicated types of civil claims. It involves unique laws, statutes and legal requirements for winning a case, such as testimony from an expert medical witness. Most injured patients need legal representatives to help them file and pursue medical malpractice claims. One of the many tasks an attorney can complete on behalf of an injured patient is accurately determining liability.

The Physician

If the patient’s doctor, surgeon or health care practitioner was the party guilty of breaching a medical industry standard of care, that party could absorb individual liability for related losses. Many health care practitioners are independent contractors, meaning they are not technically employees of the hospitals or health care centers where they work. Instead, they are self-employed and contracted out.

Independently contracted surgeons and physicians carry their own insurance policies to cover liability for their actions and mistakes. It is this insurance policy you will hold responsible for your medical bills and other losses if a physician who is not an employee is guilty of medical malpractice. To hold a doctor responsible for medical malpractice, however, your lawyer will need to prove the necessary elements.

The four main elements of a medical malpractice claim are duty of care (a doctor-patient relationship), breach of duty, causation and damages. If your lawyer can establish these elements as more likely to be true than not true using evidence, the courts in Nevada will make the individual doctor pay for your injuries and losses through his or her private insurance company.

The Hospital or Facility

If the doctor, nurse, surgeon or practitioner who made the mistake is employed by the hospital or health care center, the facility may be vicariously liable for the physician’s mistakes. Vicarious liability applies to all employers in Nevada, including those in the health care industry. It is a legal doctrine that holds an employer responsible for the errors and mistakes made by its employees while they fulfill the tasks of the job. Holding the health care facility liable rather than the individual physician may provide greater available insurance for your losses.

A Medical Product Manufacturer

Some patient injuries in Las Vegas trace back to faulty or defective medical equipment. If a piece of medical equipment contained a defect, and this made the equipment cause a patient injury, the patient could have grounds for a product liability lawsuit.

Medical product liability cases seek to hold the manufacturer or distributor liable for creating an item with an error in its design, manufacture or marketing. A successful case could hold the manufacturer of the medical product financially responsible for a patient’s injury or death.

Multiple Parties

It is possible for multiple parties to share fault for a patient’s injury in a medical malpractice case. For example, both an equipment manufacturer and the hospital may share fault if an item contained a defect that made it prone to breakdowns, but the hospital’s maintenance team failed to check the equipment for issues before administering patient care.

In a case involving the fault of multiple parties in Nevada, the state’s modified joint and several liability law states that all defendants will be individually responsible for 100% of the plaintiff’s losses in claims based on strict liability, intentional wrongdoing, toxic substances, the concerted acts of the defendants or injuries from dangerous products.

In these cases, an injured plaintiff could recoup 100% of his or her losses from multiple parties. If the joint and several liability law does not apply to a medical malpractice claim, however, each party involved will only owe the plaintiff an amount equivalent to his or her percentage of fault. Either way, identifying multiple defendants could help you recover full compensation.

Determining the liable party in your medical malpractice case is only one step toward achieving a satisfactory legal resolution. Hire a medical malpractice lawyer in Las Vegas to help you with all the steps of your claim, including negotiating for the compensation you and your family deserve.

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