We all rely on emergency rooms and urgent care facilities when we suffer from injuries or illnesses that require immediate medical care and attention. In fact, almost everyone has visited an emergency room or urgent care facility at some point in his or her life.
When we visit an emergency room, we expect that the care provided will address our urgent illness or injury and that a health care provider will render careful and competent medical treatment. Unfortunately, however, emergency rooms are often woefully understaffed and overcrowded, and serious – sometimes deadly – medical mistakes are made in emergency room and urgent care settings.
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury – or even death – as a result of an emergency room doctor's inaction or negligence, you need an experienced Florida emergency room errors lawyer on your side representing you throughout your case. A skilled attorney will be able to advocate for you, negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, litigate your case through the Florida court system, and take your case to trial if necessary.
Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act
Any hospital facility that receives Medicare funding is subject to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). Pursuant to this federal statute, an emergency room may not turn away someone seeking any type of medical care, despite that person's inability to pay for services and/or lack of health insurance. The State of Florida has its own version of this federal statute.
Common Types of Florida Emergency Room Errors
Emergency room and urgent care facilities are extremely busy places, and staff members, including doctors, nurses, and physician assistants (PA's) are trying to care for and keep track of numerous patients at any given time. Consequently, rushed treatment and inaccurate or missed diagnoses often result in serious injuries to patients. The following types of emergency room errors are most common:
- Medical evaluation errors
- Misdiagnosed conditions or illnesses
- Failure to notice symptoms in a timely manner
- Failure to diagnose a serious or life-threatening medical condition
- Failure to notify a physician of a patient's condition in a timely manner
- Failure to properly monitor a patient's vital signs and symptoms
- Prescription medication errors
When doctors and other healthcare providers make one or more of these errors, serious injuries and damages to emergency room and urgent care facility patients can result. Some of the more common types of injuries and damages that result from emergency room mistakes include the following:
- Botched medical procedures, including operations and surgeries
- Increased recovery times
- Worsening of condition
- New illnesses and injuries
- Bacterial infections
Proving a Medical Malpractice Case
Clearwater emergency room errors fall within the ambit of Florida medical malpractice law. Emergency room doctors owe a duty of care to their patients to act in a reasonable, prudent, and appropriate manner under the circumstances then-and-there existing. Specifically, their actions must comport with those of a reasonably competent emergency room doctor acting under the same or similar circumstances. When an emergency room doctor breaches this medical standard of care, the doctor may be liable for medical negligence or medical malpractice.
To prove medical malpractice in the emergency room or urgent care setting, the injured plaintiff must prove all of the following:
- That a doctor-patient relationship existed at the time the plaintiff sustained the injuries or damages
- That the doctor breached the applicable standard of care
- That the plaintiff sustained injuries and damages as a proximate result of the doctor's breach of the applicable standard of care
- In emergency room error cases, the following types of damages may be available to injured plaintiffs:
- Payment of all causally related medical bills and expenses (including doctor's appointments, physical therapy appointments, etc.)
- Payment of lost wages and compensation for missed time from work
- Compensation for past, present, and future pain and suffering
- Compensation for permanent injuries and damages
- Compensation for mental anguish and documented psychological or psychiatric injuries that are causally related
- Compensation for loss of income earning capacity in cases of permanent damage
- Compensation for loss of companionship, consortium, or spousal support
- Compensation for any necessary corrective surgeries or procedures that must be done in order to rectify a botched surgery or other medical procedure
- Wrongful death benefits to family members, in cases where a patient dies as a result of a
- health care provider's negligence
Contact a Clearwater Emergency Room Errors Lawyer to Discuss Your Case Today
If you have been injured as a result of an emergency room doctor's carelessness or negligence, you need legal representation in your corner every step of the way. Medical malpractice cases are difficult to prove, and our medical malpractice attorneys can review the facts and circumstances of your case with you and determine how best to proceed.
If you or someone you love has sustained injuries and damages as a result of an emergency room healthcare provider's carelessness or negligence, you may be entitled to monetary recovery under Florida law. It is important to realize that in personal injury and medical malpractice cases, the insurance company will usually control the money. Insurance companies, generally speaking, are not on your side, and they do not have your best interests at heart.
Insurance companies often try to settle medical malpractice claims and lawsuits as cheaply as possible to rid themselves of the claims quickly. Moreover, insurance companies are not interested in compensating you for your injuries, damages, or inconvenience – all of which resulted from someone else's carelessness and negligence. Rather, they are most interested in safeguarding their money and making sure that no one else gets to it.
An experienced Clearwater, Florida, emergency room errors attorney will be able to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and assist you with obtaining the maximum value for your case. To schedule a free consultation or case evaluation, please call Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA at 727-451-6900 or contact us online.