Many people still believe that the two year statute of limitations for medical malpractice is in effect in Nevada and they unwittingly let their cases expire. This article is meant to inform the public about the change in the law in order to prevent the tragic lapsing of meritorious medical malpractice cases. In 2004 the state of Nevada, by initiative petition, changed the statute of limitations for medical malpractice actions from two years to one year. The statute begins to run from the time the medical malpractice is discovered or should have been discovered. The outer extreme of the new statute of limitations law in Nevada requires that any malpractice lawsuit must be filed within three years from the date of the malpractice, regardless of the date of discovery.
It is very challenging for victims of medical malpractice and/or wrongful death due to medical malpractice to figure out what has happened to them, cut short their grieving and jump through all the necessary legal and medical hoops required in order to file a meritorious lawsuit within one year. First of all, any victim of malpractice must find an "expert" in the same field as the doctor who committed the malpractice. That expert must opine in a written affidavit attached to the legal Complaint that the malpractice did indeed occur. This involves a thorough research of the medical records, which are often hard for surviving family members to assemble from the various medical providers in the aftermath of great pain and loss that accompanies any injury or illness. The medical malpractice expert can also be expensive, which is an added burden upon those who are already suffering from the obvious financial strains that accompany illness, injury and sometimes death. However, expert opinions involve a lot of time and analysis and many times even a bit of bravery on the part of the expert who is willing to come forward and call it like it is.
Historically it was said that the medical community was engaged in a "conspiracy of silence" in which many doctors refused to come forward in the face of even the most obvious medical malpractice. Often those that came forward faced the possibility of being ostracized or discredited in their tight knit communities. However, recently there has been a noticeable and refreshing trend for ethical and concerned doctors to come forward and report malpractice, as they are required to do by many state codes. This seems to be the result of a new attitude that embodies the belief that the medical community benefits from some degree of self policing and housecleaning.
While most doctors work faithfully and tirelessly for their patients, still there are a very few that fail to measure up to even minimal standards of care. It is in the best interests of the public and the medical community to identify the bad apples and to come forward and hold them responsible for their malpractice. The interest here is not only in finding recourse for the injured, but also in preventing future victims. In the long run insurance rates go down, the quality of medical care goes up and the resultant pride and trust in the medical community are greatly enhanced.
Copyright 2008 Huggins & Maxwell, Attorneys at Law http://www.InjuryAttorneysLasVegas.net
Joseph J. Huggins is a well known trial lawyer in Las Vegas, Nevada. The lawyers of Huggins & Maxwell, Ltd. are active in the areas of litigation, real estate, business, medical malpractice, personal injury and products liability, since 1982. Please see their website for more detailed information: http://www.InjuryAttorneysLasVegas.net
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