Las Vegas Medical Malpractice

Reno Medical Malpractice Lawyers, Washoe County, NV

Strong advocacy for victims of medical negligence, birth injuries, and other acts of malpractice

Doctors, hospitals, nurses, medical technicians, and anyone who treats you for a disease or illness owes you a duty of competent medical care. You have the right to understand the risks of each medical procedure. You have the right to expect that healthcare providers will anticipate and be able to respond to known complications. Injuries due to medical malpractice are preventable. Unfortunately, these injuries are all too common in Nevada.

When a doctor fails to provide a correct diagnosis, prescribes the wrong medicine, or makes a mistake in surgery, patients can suffer serious or deadly injuries. And when the patients are a mother and her unborn child, the damages that affect both can be life-changing. If you were recently injured or believe a loved one died due to medical malpractice, our experienced Reno medical malpractice attorneys have the experience and resources to help you get justice. At Claggett & Sykes Law Firm, we are respected for our record of success in complex medical negligence claims. Contact us today to learn more.

What is the basis for a medical malpractice claim in Reno?

Professional negligence (also known as medical malpractice) is the legal term for a negligent act committed by a health care professional that causes injury to a patient. Negligence in civil law means any unreasonable mistake or act of carelessness that injures another person. Negligence in health care is especially dangerous, as patients need competent medical care to survive.

The essential elements of a Nevada medical malpractice claim are:

  • You and the defendant had a physician-patient relationship.
  • The physician failed to fulfill the appropriate standards of patient care in treating you.
  • The physician’s negligence caused your personal injury or illness.
  • You suffered compensable damages because of the doctor’s mistake.

You may also have a case against a nurse, surgeon, chiropractor, dentist, hospital, or another health care provider for medical negligence. Although not every mistake made by a health care professional is malpractice, an avoidable error could make you eligible for financial compensation from the doctor or hospital.

What are examples of medical malpractice claims?

Any breach or violation of the accepted standards of care in the medical industry can constitute medical malpractice. If a doctor carelessly or knowingly skips a step or goes against standard medical procedures, and this injures a patient, the doctor can be held financially responsible (liable).

Our Reno medical malpractice lawyers handle the following types of medical malpractice claims:

  • Surgical and anesthesia errors. Common mistakes include leaving a medical instrument or object in the patient, operating on the wrong body part, and operating on the wrong patient. The anesthesia requirements for adults and children differ. Oxygen deprivation can cause brain damage or death.
  • Failure to treat infections. Infections are a major risk. Untreated or improperly treated infections can be life-threatening. Untreated infections in a mother can lead to birth defects.
  • Prescription and medication administration errors. Doctors have a duty to prescribe the correct drugs and dosages for the patient’s disease or condition. Pharmacists can be held liable for malpractice if they fail to fill the prescription correctly. Doctors and pharmacists must understand what complications may arise when drugs are prescribed in combination with other medications.
  • Failure to warn. Patients have a right to know the known medical risks for each type of medical treatment and each type of drug doctors prescribe. You should be able to balance the possible benefits of a surgery or medical treatment with the risks.

Other types of medical malpractice in Reno include:

  • Failure to treat or inadequate follow-up care
  • Diagnostic errors
  • Injuries related to labor, delivery, or care after childbirth
  • Nursing home malpractice

Medical malpractice can cause serious injuries and illnesses, including infections, worsened patient outcomes, nerve damage, and emotional distress. A victim may suffer physical injuries, psychological harm, and expensive related costs. Some mistakes can be corrected with additional surgeries and treatments. Some mistakes can never be corrected causing the patient to live with a lifetime of pain. In the most tragic cases, a patient dies due to medical malpractice.

What birth injuries are caused by medical malpractice in Reno?

Parents hope and expect that their pregnancy will end in the birth of a beautiful baby boy or girl. It’s crushing to learn that your newborn has a birth injury or died – especially if the defect or death was due to medical malpractice. Children who are born with serious birth injuries may never live fully functioning lives. Many children require a lifetime of physical and emotional care. Parents often have huge expenses in order to see that their child has the best life possible.

Common birth injuries include:

  • Cerebral palsy (CP). Birth doctors should recognize the risk factors for CP. Cerebral palsy is normally due to a delayed or restricted flow of blood to the baby during the delivery or shortly after birth. Cerebral palsy is a permanent injury. Newborns live a lifetime with physical and emotional difficulties. Common complications include mobility problems, learning difficulties, and speech difficulties. Other complications include visual and hearing impairments and reflex difficulties. CP can worsen over time. Birth doctors should monitor the mother during the pregnancy and look for signs of fetal distress during the delivery.
  • Brachial plexus injuries. According to the Mayo Clinic, the brachial plexus is “the network of nerves that sends signals from your spinal cord to your shoulder, arm, and hand. A brachial plexus injury occurs when these nerves are stretched, compressed, or in the most serious cases, ripped apart or torn away from the spinal cord.” Medical malpractice may occur if birth doctors fail to use proper techniques when a baby’s head is stuck behind the pelvis, during breech deliveries, in cases of fetal macrosomia, and in cases whether the mother is obese or has diabetes. The most serious brachial plexus injury, according to the Mayo Clinic, occurs “when the nerve root is torn from the spinal cord.” This injury can cause an inability to use certain arm and shoulder muscles, a complete lack of feeling in the shoulder or hand, and severe pain.

If the nerves rupture, the newborn may suffer Erb’s palsy which can cause paralysis, a loss of motor function, and other complications. Most newborns, with proper care, do recover from Erb’s palsy.

  • Hypoxic and Anoxic Encephalopathy. This brain damage disorder is usually due to an insufficient or restricted flow of oxygen to the brain. It only takes about 4-6 minutes of oxygen deprivation for permanent brain damage to occur, which can have lifelong repercussions for your child.

Other injuries that may be due to medical malpractice include uterine rupture, stunted growth, skull fractures, and spinal paralysis.

Some of the reasons medical malpractice causes birth injuries include failure of the doctor and other health providers to:

  • Respond to fetal distress
  • Manage eclampsia, seizures, and high blood pressure in the mother
  • Use forceps or vacuum extractors correctly
  •  Identify and treat a placental abruption
  • Manage the baby’s oxygen
  • Manage an entanglement of the umbilical cord
  • Treat infections
  • Perform a C-Section when necessary

Why do you need an experienced Reno medical malpractice lawyer?

Medical malpractice is one of the most complicated areas of personal injury law and has very different laws than other negligence cases. It is vital to hire an attorney to represent you if you plan on going up against a hospital or health care provider. Otherwise, you may make a mistake during your claim that could risk your recovery. Doctors will usually deny liability because their reputation is on the line.

Generally, you will need to have medical professionals who work in the same practice area testify that the defendants failed to comply with standard medical care. In addition, to file a lawsuit in Nevada against a healthcare provider you are generally required to attach a document signed by an expert medical witness stating that the healthcare provider’s negligence or mistake caused you harm. At Claggett & Sykes Law Firm, we work with birth doctors and medical professionals from a broad range of medical specialties to build a more complete picture of your injuries.

How much is my Reno medical malpractice case worth?

There is no way to determine the full value of a claim without first reviewing all the details of your case. Every case is different, and we look at how the injuries have affected the injured person or their family members. The following factors are usually taken into account when evaluating how much to ask for in a medical malpractice case:

  • The patient’s medical bills. These include the costs of any corrective or remedial treatment including surgeries, rehabilitative therapy, assistive devices, and medications.
  • The loss of function of any part of the anatomy due to the medical malpractice.
  • The patient’s physical pain and emotional stress.
  • Any wages or income the patient loses because he/she cannot work due to the medical errors.

Damages should take into account the patient’s care and quality of life – for the rest of his or her life.

If a mother or child dies due to medical malpractice, our Reno personal injury lawyers file wrongful death claims on behalf of the family members.

Unfortunately, Nevada has very draconian medical malpractice laws that place caps on the amount of damages you can seek for non-economic damages. These typically include damages for pain, suffering, and emotional and mental anguish. Nevada law places a cap of $430,000 per case on these damages. For example, if a doctor’s negligence led to the death of a family member, the heirs could recover any past medical bills, lost wages, and loss of earnings for the future, but would be limited to $430,000 for the loss of no longer having that family member. That $430,000 applies no matter how many heirs make a claim and no matter how preventable the malpractice was. An experienced Reno medical malpractice lawyer can explain these issues and walk you through the best course of action.

How much time do I have to file a Reno medical malpractice claim?

In Nevada, the statute of limitations on a medical malpractice lawsuit is different from other negligence cases and this is why it is important to hire a lawyer quickly if you believe malpractice has occurred. In Nevada, the statute of limitations is one year from the date that you discovered, or reasonably should have discovered, your injury but never more than three years from the date of the malpractice. There is an exception, however, that could extend your deadline if the health care provider knowingly concealed the act of malpractice. If an act of medical malpractice caused your child to have a brain injury, the time limit may also be extended.

Again, the best strategy is not to rely on deadlines. The best course of action is to speak with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible so you can receive the medical care you need to treat the injuries, and so you can hold the healthcare providers who committed medical malpractice accountable.

Do you have a Reno medical malpractice lawyer near me?

Claggett & Sykes Law Firm maintains an office at 100 N Sierra St, Suite 220. If you are too injured to travel to us, we can schedule a phone or video conference. We also make home and hospital visits.

Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation in Reno, NV

If you believe you or a loved one is the victim of medical malpractice, discuss your legal rights with a lawyer at Claggett & Sykes Law Firm. We operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won't pay your medical malpractice lawyer anything unless the lawyer secures financial compensation for your losses. We can answer your legal questions and help you understand your rights during this difficult time. Call 702-333-7777 or contact us today for your free consultation in Reno.

Reno Office

100 N Sierra St, Suite 220
Reno, NV 89501