The Nevada legislature has recently passed a new law, AB404, bringing about some changes to the state’s medical malpractice landscape. While it presents a few improvements over the existing laws, it may not necessarily yield significant benefits for medical malpractice victims in Nevada. In this article, we delve into the nuances of the new law and offer our perspective as experienced Nevada personal injury lawyers.
How AB404 Could Shape Medical Malpractice Cases In Nevada
As Las Vegas personal injury attorneys with extensive experience, we have broken down these revisions and how they might influence the outcome of medical malpractice lawsuits in Nevada:
- The cap on non-economic damages increases from $350,000 to $435,000 in 2024, and will rise annually by $80,000 until reaching a final cap of $750,000 in 2028.
- The statute of limitations expands from one year to two, which harks back to the Nevada laws of 2003 and before. The three-year maximum for undiscovered injuries remains in place.
- The regulation of attorney fees is eliminated, replacing the sliding scale fee of 15% to 40% with a flat maximum of 35%.
Nevada Legislature’s Minimal Improvement to Malpractice Law and the Deceptive Benefit of the Increased Cap
At first glance, AB404 might appear to be a win for victims of medical malpractice. However, our analysis as seasoned Nevada medical malpractice lawyers reveals a more complex picture.
On Increasing the Damage Cap
The increase in non-economic damages is essentially an inflation-adjustment. When we consider the $350,000 cap in 2003, inflation adjustments make it equivalent to $584,000 in 2023, according to the US BUREAU inflation calculator on CPI. This means the new cap doesn’t keep pace with inflation, instead, it’s a catch-up mechanism. Still, it offers a slightly more appealing prospect for attorneys to take on such cases, ultimately benefiting those with moderate damages.
On Extending the Statute of Limitations
While the two-year statute of limitations seems like an improvement, it essentially reinstates Nevada’s previous laws. Tolling provisions are unchanged, and the extended timeline does not adequately address scenarios where malpractice is only discovered years after its occurrence.
On Removing the Sliding Fee Scale
The new 35% flat fee makes the fee structure simpler for victims to understand. However, in comparison to the old sliding scale, it may not bring substantial advantages to the victims, especially when damages are capped low. In cases involving substantial future economic damages (i.e., lost wages, future medical expenses), this change can incentivize attorneys to take up such cases, which is a boon for them. However, this is unlikely to translate into tangible benefits for the clients/victims.
Fighting for Your Rights: How Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers Can Help Navigate the New AB404 Terrain
Ultimately, the passage of AB404 appears more beneficial to insurance companies, who can now charge doctors higher premiums, and hospitals, which remain protected. It offers limited assistance to victims, with the tolling measures and low, non-inflation-adjusted caps on liability that are inherently unfair.
At Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, we advocate for laws that genuinely protect the rights of medical malpractice victims. The road ahead in the legal landscape of Nevada may be challenging, but we remain committed to helping our clients navigate it.
Stay tuned to our blog for more updates and in-depth analysis of changes in personal injury laws across Nevada. If you or a loved one has suffered due to medical malpractice, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team of dedicated Nevada medical malpractice lawyers is here to help.