When Can I Sue My Doctor for Medical Malpractice?

You’ve probably heard someone say that they want to sue their doctor for malpractice. Or if you’ve been misdiagnosed or happy with a doctor’s treatment, you may have considered filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Nevada court. But from a legal perspective, the definition of medical malpractice is much narrower than most people realize.

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When Can I Sue my Doctor for Medical Malpractice

Nevada Medical Malpractice Basics

For your lawsuit to be successful, your Nevada medical malpractice attorney must prove several things. First, your lawyer must show that the defendant (which could be a doctor, nurse, hospital or other person or entity) was negligent when treating you. Then your attorney must demonstrate that this negligence caused an injury. Finally, your lawyer must show that the injury caused damages, for such as physical pain, mental anguish, lost wages and/or additional medical bills.

Medical malpractice cases typically fall into one of three categories:

  • The failure to diagnose a disease or medical condition
  • The failure to properly treat a disease or medical condition
  • The failure to warn the patient about possible risks and side effects

The “Standard of Care”

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.

For example, the standard of care for an eight-year-old child with a cough who is complaining of chest pain would be different than the standard of care for an 80-year-old man who’s complaining of the same symptoms but has smoked a pack of cigarettes daily for most of adulthood. In the case of the child, a reasonable, competent doctor would probably diagnose and treat the child for bronchitis, but that same doctor would run tests to determine whether the elderly smoker had lung cancer.

If the child was ultimately diagnosed with lung cancer the parents wouldn’t automatically have a medical malpractice case against the doctor for failing to diagnose the disease. That’s because the standard of care for children with these symptoms is different from the standard of care for an elderly smoker.

Hire a Nevada Medical Malpractice Attorney for Your Case

If you or a loved one is the possible victim of medical malpractice, call the Law Office of Matthew L. Sharp today at (775) 324-1500. Our medical malpractice lawyer has represented many victims of medical malpractice and understand what is necessary to win a med mal case.