The hospital emergency room is often the point of entry into the healthcare system for someone who is ill or injured. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are over 100 million ER visits per year in the United States. It has been estimated that some form of medical error occurs in 5% to 10% of these visits. That means that there are approximately 5-10 million medical errors in United States emergency rooms every year.
If you or a loved one has been injured by emergency room negligence in Philadelphia, contact the lawyers at Youman & Caputo for legal assistance. We are experienced medical malpractice attorneys who can help you seek fair financial compensation for the mistakes made by an ER or its workers in Pennsylvania. We care about our clients and offer free initial case reviews.
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What is Negligence in an Emergency Room?
How Negligence Occurs in an Emergency Department
What Are Common Emergency Room Errors?
What Factors Commonly Result in Errors?
When to Contact an Attorney
What’s the Average Settlement for Emergency Room Malpractice?
Specific Damages in an Emergency Room Negligence Case
How An Emergency Room Negligence Attorney Can Help
Time Limit to File for Medical Malpractice
Emergency Room Negligence FAQs
Speak to a Skilled Lawyer Today
Medical negligence is a tort or civil wrongdoing. It occurs when a health care practitioner, professional or facility falls short of the standards of care when treating a patient. All medical providers owe a duty of care to their patients. This duty of care is to treat patients with the proper amount of attention, detail and respect. If an emergency room or any of its staff members falls short of the accepted standards of care, resulting in patient injury, illness or death, the victim or family can file a medical malpractice claim in Philadelphia.
Emergency room negligence can take place at a standard hospital in Philadelphia or a dedicated ER. In a hospital setting, the emergency department should be properly managed and organized to provide the highest standard of patient care possible. This includes specific protocols for quickly and efficiently diagnosing emergency cases. Misdiagnoses, failures to diagnose and delayed diagnoses are common examples of emergency room negligence.
Decisions about what diagnostic tools to use and whether to admit patients to the hospital for further care can mean the difference between life and death. The usual process of patient evaluation involves the formulation of a “differential diagnosis,” which is a medical term for a list of possibilities of what might be ailing the patient. The differential diagnosis will frequently contain several possibilities, some of which are true emergencies and others of which are not.
The emergency department’s responsibility is to rule out those possibilities on the differential diagnosis that are true emergencies and will cause harm if not immediately identified and treated. Misinterpreting a patient’s symptoms, failing to order the proper tests, ignoring a patient’s medical history or misreading test results could all lead to harmful misdiagnoses in an emergency department.
Designated emergency rooms in Philadelphia should also be operated with the utmost care and attention to patients’ needs. The medical industry has high standards in place for emergency rooms in terms of organization, communication, and the correct patient intake and treatment protocols. Failure to follow these guidelines, due to either flawed systems or human error, too often leads to an otherwise avoidable poor outcome.
The most common types of emergency room medical errors are diagnostic errors (failure to diagnose, misdiagnosis and delay in diagnosis), failure to properly manage treatment, improper treatment, failing to correctly perform a procedure, triage errors, intubation errors, premature patient discharge, refusing to treat, surgical errors, and medication errors.
Any lapse in judgment made by a medical provider, no matter how small, could result in an error that threatens a patient’s health and safety. Every staff member who works in an emergency room in Philadelphia is legally required to uphold certain standards of care. Falling below these standards of care, even for a moment, can cause patient harm. All of the following factors have the potential to cause serious injury:
Staffing/workflow issues are becoming increasingly common in today’s healthcare environment. More and more emergency rooms attempt to “fast track” patients or otherwise separate them into categories that predetermine the level of care they will receive in the emergency department. This can result in critical decisions being made by physicians-in-training (medical residents), physician assistants and nurse practitioners rather than emergency room physicians, leading to missed or wrong diagnoses.
It is not always easy to secure fair financial compensation for a harmful emergency room error in Philadelphia. Insurance companies and hospitals make it their mission to save as much money as possible by minimizing claim payouts. They do this through methods such as taking advantage of claimants and wrongfully rejecting claims. To level the playing field between you and an emergency room’s legal team or an insurance corporation, you must hire an attorney.
A Philadelphia emergency room negligence lawyer can help your case by investigating the incident, collecting any available evidence of medical negligence, filing confusing claims paperwork before Pennsylvania’s deadline, negotiating with an insurance company on your behalf and hiring qualified medical experts to strengthen your case. You can trust your lawyer to preserve your rights and best interests from the very beginning of a case.
It is especially critical to hire an emergency room negligence lawyer if you or a loved one suffered a serious or catastrophic injury because of medical negligence. An insurance company is more likely to devalue your claim. If you and your family need to pay for future medical expenses or around-the-clock care, don’t risk settling for less than you deserve. Maximize your odds of case success by hiring an experienced and reputable Philadelphia catastrophic injury attorney.
The value of an emergency room malpractice case depends on the unique circumstances. An “average settlement” will not accurately estimate the value of your specific case. The only way to get an idea of what your case is worth is by consulting a medical malpractice attorney. An attorney will carefully analyze the facts and details of your case, including your related losses, to estimate its value. Then, your attorney will use proven legal strategies to demand maximum financial compensation from one or more defendants.
Emergency room negligence and malpractice cases in Pennsylvania pay out settlements and judgment awards that are appropriate based on the extent of the victim’s losses and other factors. Some medical malpractice cases result in six-figure outcomes in the realm of $300,000 to $400,000, while others have been resolved for millions of dollars. For example, Youman & Caputo resolved one emergency room negligence case with a settlement of $8.25 million. The best way to understand the value of your case is by consulting with one of our lawyers.
Medical malpractice at an emergency room is a serious tort that can result in a low level of patient care and related injuries or illnesses. Depending on the nature of the mistake, an emergency room error can inflict serious harm – such as long-term or permanent lifestyle changes and expenses related to a disability. A successful lawsuit could reimburse a victim for past and future losses to make him or her whole again. The specific “damages,” or types of financial compensation, that may be available, depend on the case.
A victim of emergency room negligence may be entitled to financial compensation for many related losses or damages, including:
The attorneys at Youman & Caputo understand how much medical negligence can impact a patient. We are committed to pursuing maximum financial compensation for each case and client. Our goal is to help you move forward with the monetary recovery that you need. Our injury lawyers have what it takes to seek real results on your behalf. If you tragically lost a loved one, our Philadelphia wrongful death attorneys are prepared to advocate for your family with determination and integrity.
The Philadelphia emergency room negligence lawyers at Youman & Caputo are very experienced in the handling of emergency room cases and have a complete understanding of how and why these mistakes occur.
We have handled many cases involving failure to diagnose a heart attack or stroke in the ER, missed diagnosis of spinal cord injury or compromise, missed diagnosis of sepsis, medication errors, radiology misreads and many other emergency room errors.
Our medical malpractice attorneys can answer your legal questions, investigate the emergency room, collect evidence, handle the claims filing process on your behalf, hire qualified medical experts and take many other steps to optimize your case outcome.
An insurance company will have no choice but to treat your case fairly if you have an attorney representing your best interests. Hiring a lawyer will increase your odds of case success and securing a fair financial recovery. You can focus on resting and recovering while your lawyer handles the complicated legal side of your case for you.
It is important to realize that you have a deadline for filing an emergency room negligence lawsuit in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania has a law called the statute of limitations that imposes a strict time limit on all personal injury and wrongful death claims. For the most part, patients only have two years to file medical malpractice claims in Pennsylvania.
The clock typically starts ticking on the date that the act of emergency room negligence occurred. If, however, you did not discover your injuries right away, your two-year clock will start counting down from the time that you discover or reasonably should have discovered the medical mistake. If a minor is injured due to emergency room negligence in Philadelphia, the statute of limitations does not start until the child reaches the age of 18.
The standards of patient care in an emergency room are the same as in any health care facility. All medical providers swear an oath not to cause harm to patients. Workers in an ER must do everything they can to uphold this oath and ensure proper patient care. This includes seeing patients in a timely manner, correctly and accurately diagnosing an injury or illness, and properly addressing a patient’s needs.
Emergency rooms that are overcrowded or understaffed can result in many different types of errors committed by medical providers. These include patient misdiagnoses or failure to diagnose, infections, medication mistakes, anesthesia and surgical errors, childbirth injuries, failure to treat, contaminated blood infusions, misinterpreted test results, and a failure to follow up.
Emergency room malpractice can result in many severe and life-changing injuries for a patient. Common examples include infections, sepsis, bedsores, traumatic brain injuries, lack of oxygen to the brain, spinal cord injuries, internal organ damage, organ failure, medication overdose or underdose, exacerbated injury or illness, a worsened overall health prognosis, and wrongful death.
If you are a victim of emergency room negligence in Philadelphia, try to collect as much information and evidence about the incident as possible. Write down a detailed description of what happened, including where you went for medical care, the name of the staff member or doctor who treated you, what you were diagnosed with (if anything), and copies of your medical records. Do not admit fault for your injury or accept a fast settlement from an insurance company. As soon as you can, contact an attorney to discuss a potential ER medical malpractice claim.
A few different parties could be found liable, or legally and financially responsible, for a harmful emergency room error in Philadelphia. The first possibility is the emergency room itself. You may have grounds to bring a lawsuit against the health care facility for negligent staff member hiring and training procedures, disorganization, or lack of communication among team members. Other possibilities are an individual doctor or surgeon, a hospital, a pharmaceutical company, or a government entity.
For more information about an injury or illness caused by negligence or malpractice at an emergency room or hospital emergency department in Philadelphia, call (215) 302-1999 to request a free case consultation at Youman & Caputo. We are reputable and highly successful medical malpractice lawyers who have been trusted by clients for decades. Contact us today to discuss your specific case in detail.
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