We would all like to think we can rely on the hospital, without question. Unfortunately, sometimes malpractice does take place, even with something as vital as an emergency room visit. But what can you do when a visit to the ER has left you worse for wear? Suing a hospital for malpractice in the emergency room may be your best option.
Emergency room malpractice lawsuits are complicated and can be lengthy, working with a medical malpractice lawyer a smart move. They can handle every step of your emergency room malpractice lawsuit, recovering the compensation victims deserve.
Wagner Reese, LLP is an award-winning Indiana law firm you can count on for medical malpractice cases. If you have experienced medical malpractice in an emergency room visit, this guide should help you understand what comes next, and how Wagner Reese can help you.
What Constitutes Emergency Room Malpractice?
Medical malpractice refers to professional negligence by a medical care provider, which results in injury to a patient. Medical malpractice is serious and can cost hospitals thousands of dollars in fees, as well as cause significant harm to the victims.
Few parts of a hospital are as hectic as the emergency room, where quick action is necessary to save lives. However, this can cause more mistakes than other departments, as well.
There is another side to this, however. When quick action is demanded of emergency room doctors, it is much more important to prove negligence. Simply making the wrong decision does not necessarily mean they breached their standard of care.
Understanding the Standard of Care in Emergency Rooms
Standard of care is the responsibility of medical care providers to perform their job to the best of their ability. While a doctor might not always cure their patients, it is expected that they put as much effort into doing so as could sensibly be expected.
In the fast-paced environment of an emergency room, a doctor may be acting in their patient’s best interest and fulfilling that standard of care, yet still make a mistake. This is why negligence is so important, it is only a malpractice case if the provider breached that standard of care through negligence.
The most common emergency room malpractice lawsuits concern diagnostic errors. Misdiagnosis can be catastrophic, depending on what the doctor prescribed versus what was actually needed. This can waste time, injure a patient further, or even result in death.
There are plenty of other examples of hospital negligence in the emergency room, such as the following:
- Delayed treatment
- Ignoring hospital policies
- Rushing lab work
- Medication errors
- Miscommunication about treatment
- Improper discharge
In these cases, or any other where an ER visit has gone wrong for you, suing a hospital for malpractice in the emergency room may be your best move. A medical malpractice lawyer will be able to review your case and find where the professional involved was negligent.
Proving Negligence in Emergency Room Malpractice Lawsuits
The most important, and likely most difficult, part of filing a medical malpractice suit is proving negligence. As established, only when a medical professional can be proven negligent do they owe compensation for their work.
To prove negligence, the patient must be able to establish that there was a standard of care, that the doctor breached this standard of care, that an injury occurred because of this, and that there are solid damages that can be repaid.
Your best ally in this will be a medical malpractice lawyer, who can work with your testimony and gather whatever other evidence may exist. This is especially difficult in emergency room situations but with the right help, you can still recover the compensation you deserve.
Statute of Limitations for Filing a Lawsuit
In general, the Indiana statute of limitations for a malpractice suit is two years. This hinges on the discovery rule, which means your two years begin at the point where you would or should have discovered malpractice had occurred. Past that point, regardless of malpractice, you cannot seek compensation for that instance of malpractice.
There are certain factors that can make a difference here, such as if the victim is a child under six, they have until their eighth birthday. A malpractice lawyer will be able to explain this in more detail and work out your timeline. It is best to reach out as soon as hospital negligence in the emergency room is discovered, so that you can get to work as quickly as possible.
Factors Affecting the Success of a Hospital Malpractice Claim
An emergency room malpractice case is especially tricky, even among personal injury cases. There are multiple factors that can make or break the case even without taking negligence into account. The extent of injury matters, as the victim must be sufficiently injured by the malpractice or else the case will likely not go far.
You will need to build a compelling case and watch very closely what you say to the insurance company and medical provider. You could compromise your entire case without realizing it. A medical malpractice lawyer such as Wagner Reese, LLC will greatly increase your chances of a successful case, as long as you work closely and do your part.
Compensation Available in Emergency Room Malpractice Cases
Emergency room malpractice lawsuits are different from most other personal injury lawsuits, and that includes the compensation available.
Indiana has something called the Patient Compensation Fund, which exists to compensate victims of malpractice with a cap of around a million dollars. If your emergency room malpractice case is successful, you will begin receiving payouts from this fund.
Steps to Take if You Suspect Emergency Room Malpractice
The most important thing is that you do not speak with your medical provider about this. Saying the wrong thing could hurt your case, so it is best to keep it to yourself until your lawyer files the claim. In fact, if you can keep it between yourself and your attorney completely, you should.
Be sure to document as much as you possibly can, even if evidence is difficult to gather. Take what you can get to a medical malpractice lawyer as quickly as you can so that you can begin building your case. In the meantime, find another doctor for any medical needs that may arise.
How Wagner Reese, LLP Can Assist You with Your Emergency Room Malpractice Claim
Wagner Reese, LLP is a trusted, experienced emergency room malpractice law firm that will work to get you compensation for your Indiana hospital negligence in the emergency room claim. They were even named among Indiana’s Top 25 Medical Malpractice Lawyers on multiple occasions.
They can help you through every step of the process, building your case and proving negligence, negotiating with the medical and insurance provider, and representing you in court if the need comes to it. Unsure we are right for you? Our case results show we get answers for our clients.
If you or someone close has experienced emergency room malpractice, reach out as soon as you can for a free consultation. We can be reached by calling (866-828-0308) or filling out our online contact form.