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State: Nevada
Subject Matter: Legal Rulings on Nevada Damages Caps
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 Legal Rulings on Nevada Damages Caps

For years, we have all been under the impression that NV has a damage cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice actions.  Well, not so fast.  Nevada is very slow on case law development.  Thus, there is very little appellate precedent available to help resolve legal disputes.  This absence of appellate direction has given the trial judges more power in legislating from the bench.  Attached are two related orders from one of the senior trial judges in Nevada on the application of Nevada’s damage caps.  Of note, this issue was not even before her when she ruled – but that did not stop her.  She held that NV’s damage cap only applies to professional negligence cases and not malpractice cases.  Let me say that again so you can try to digest it….the cap only applies to professional negligence cases and not malpractice cases.  At a recent mediation, the plaintiff’s counsel used this opinion (as did the mediator) to argue that there was no cap in our case since the allegation was medical malpractice – I of course yelled at the top of my lungs for someone to explain to me how you have medical malpractice without professional negligence but no one really cared.  Thus, a case that should have settled for an amount within the cap did not.  By the way, the only allegation in our case was for … did you guess it … professional negligence.  That did not stop them.  They simply stated that they were going to amend the complaint to assert a claim for medical malpractice…..what a great decision….

We are going to have to take this issue up, but I wanted you all to be aware of it.  I would also recommend/suggest – whatever it takes – that we approach the legislature to try and fix this as a judicial resolution will take years and a ton of money.


Document Author: Nevada Trial Court
Firm/Company: Nevada Trial Court
Document Date: August 2013
Search Tags: caps damages non economic
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