Expert’s Role in Personal Injury Claim for Medical Negligence

- David Boehrer

An expert’s opinion is often necessary for a plaintiff to succeed in claiming compensation for medical negligence. This opinion is usually expressed in the form of a sworn written document or affidavit of another medical professional deemed an expert in the medical injury complained of.

What other facts must appear in the expert’s affidavit for the case to proceed against the defendants?

Must the medical expert identify the defendants specifically as the persons responsible for the injury of the plaintiff?

The Nevada Supreme Court recently resolved this question liberally in favor of the plaintiff, therefore allowing the personal injury case in question to continue at the lower court even when the expert did not mention the names of the defendants in his affidavit.

The Case

The case stemmed from a complaint on behalf of a child who was treated for a parrot bite on the middle finger. The child’s wound was cleaned, dressed, and bandaged by personnel at the emergency room of Summerlin hospital.

Days later, the outer dressing was removed and reapplied but not the inner dressing. Days after that, staff at the same hospital initially failed to remove the inner dressing that had stuck to the child’s wound. When the dressing finally came off, the child’s finger appeared discolored, requiring multiple surgeries and partial amputation due to ‘venous/arterial flow compromise’.

The child’s family filed a case against the hospital and several employees for medical malpractice, attaching a doctor’s affidavit as proof of their negligence in causing the child’s injuries. The expert’s affidavit stated that medical personnel at the hospital did not observe the standard of care by dressing the child’s wound too tightly, leading to surgeries for further treatment and partial amputation.

Court’s Decision

The high court ruled that while the expert’s affidavit did not mention the specific names of the personnel responsible for the child’s injury, the complaint must be read together with the affidavit in order to determine whether they were sufficiently identified and informed of the allegations against them. The case was returned to the lower court for further proceedings.

In filing a personal injury case for medical malpractice, expert opinion is vital to the injured party’s claim. While some degree of relaxation was exercised in the case mentioned, your personal injury attorney must be able to present an airtight case and supporting documents to ensure a favorable outcome.

Representing Residents of Henderson, Nevada

For almost a decade now, the David Boehrer Law firm has handled personal injury cases, helping clients in Henderson and Henderson, Nevada prepare documents and proof necessary to establish their claim against negligent defendants. We handle cases on a contingency fee basis.

We invite you to call us today at (702) 750-0750 for a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys.