Doctors and other medical professionals are some of the most trusted members of society. We depend on them to diagnose, treat, and heal our illness and disease. They have earned their esteemed place in society by spending years in schooling and training to ensure they provide an appropriate standard of care to their patients. When doctors are negligent and fail to love up to their duty to provide an adequate standard of care, the results for their patients can be more devastating than any other kind of personal injury because of the emotional betrayal that accompanies medical malpractice.
If you have suffered injury or illness because of the negligence of a medical facility, a doctor, a nurse, or another medical professional, Nebraska law entitles you to seek damages in civil court. Medical malpractice is a special type of personal injury law which has different procedural requirements, making it necessary to hire a competent medical malpractice attorney. Here are some frequently ask questions about medical malpractice in Nebraska.
How Does Nebraska Define Medical Malpractice?
Each state defines medical malpractice a little differently, but all definitions center on the idea of professional negligence. Nebraska law defines medical malpractice as the failure of a health care provider to use “ordinary and reasonable care, skill, and knowledge,” which is determined by the ordinary and reasonable care, skill and knowledge similar health care providers would exercise in the similar circumstances. Common examples of medical malpractice include:
- Misdiagnosis of an illness or disease
- Failure to recognize symptoms or failure to diagnose an illness or disease
- Failure to warn patients of risks and side effects of a surgery, procedure, treatment, or medication
- Never events, such as wrong-site or wrong-person surgeries, and other surgical errors
- Not providing adequate aftercare for surgery or treatment
- Failure to gather a patient’s medical history, such as known allergies and other medical issues
- Prescribing the wrong medication or the improper dosage
- Failure to order necessary diagnostic scans and tests
- Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse of a patient
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice in Nebraska?
If you have suffered injury, illness, or disease because of medical malpractice, you have limited time to file a lawsuit and hold negligent parties liable for their actions. Nebraska law has a two-year statute of limitations which applies in the vast majority of medical malpractice cases, but three exceptions exist:
- Discovery. Some injuries might night be immediately apparent. In this case, you have one year from the date of discovery of your injury, or the date in which you should have reasonably discovered your injury, to file a medical malpractice claim.
- Statute of repose. Regardless of the situation, Nebraska’s absolute time limit for filing a medical malpractice claim is ten years.
- Minors. When those under age 21 are malpractice victims, the time clock for the statute of limitations does not begin until they turn 21.
What Special Procedures Are Required to File a Medical Malpractice Suit in Nebraska?
Like many other states, Nebraska requires pre-suit procedures for a medical malpractice claim, which include:
- A claimant must present a complaint to a medical review panel for an opinion. The panel addresses the merit of the complaint and, after reviewing all relevant evidence and records, decides if the health care provider treated the patient with the appropriate standard of medical care.
- The patient, or his attorney, must provide notice to the director of the panel including a choice of physician and attorney to serve on the panel.
What Damages Might I Recover if the Court Rules in My Favor?
Your attorney might list multiple defendants in a medical malpractice suit including the medical professional, the medical facility, and relevant insurance carriers. In the event of a settlement or a verdict in your favor, you might recover the following damages:
- Medical expenses including ambulance service, emergency room visits, surgery, diagnostic testing, and prescription medication
- Rehabilitation costs including physical therapy, counseling, and assistive devices such as crutches, wheelchairs, walkers, and artificial limbs
- Lost wages due to injury and hospitalization, as well as future lost wages when an injury prevents a malpractice victim from returning to work
- Costs for transferring to a different facility if applicable
- Future medical treatment when malpractice caused a lifelong disability or condition requiring extensive recovery or around-the-clock care
- Pain and suffering and other applicable non-economic costs
Are There Limits on the Damages I Can Receive From a Medical Malpractice Suit in Nebraska?
Many states cap the damages a patient can receive in a medical malpractice suit. Nebraska law lumps all damages together and limits them by time period. Recoverable damages for injury or death from medical malpractice cannot exceed:
- $500,000 for any occurrence on or before December 31, 1984
- $1,000,000 for any occurrence between December 31, 1984, and December 31, 1992
- $1,250,000 for any occurrence between December 31, 1992, and December 31, 2003
- $1,750,00 for any occurrence between December 31, 2003, and December 31, 2014
- $2,250,000 for any occurrence after December 31, 2014
Contact a Skilled Nebraska Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you have been severely injured, have a permanent disability, or have lost a loved one because of a medical facility or a medical professional, then contact an experienced Nebraska medical malpractice attorney to help you hold negligent parties accountable for their actions.
Compensation for a personal injury cannot undo the past, but it can help you obtain the support you need to recover and move forward with your life. In addition, by taking legal action you could help to save future patients from suffering a similar fate.
The skilled legal team at the Robert Pahlke Law Group are here to advocate for you each step of the legal process. Contact us online or at (308) 633-4444 for a free consultation to discuss the details of your case. If you choose us to represent you in your medical malpractice case, we handle personal injury cases on a contingent fee basis, deducting attorney fees from any compensation we secure for you in a settlement or verdict in your favor.