If emergency room personnel misdiagnosed you, you may seek compensation. Failure to diagnose conditions in the ER could lead to serious health consequences. Doctors, nurses, and the hospital may be liable for these mistakes.
To obtain fair compensation for an ER misdiagnosis, you may need to hire a wrongful diagnosis attorney. A qualified legal representative can review your case, gather evidence, negotiate a settlement, and maximize your compensation.
Misdiagnosis is a serious error that should have due consequences for negligent parties. It’s up to you to hold them responsible.
Who is liable for diagnosis failure in the ER?
More than 20 percent of Americans believe that they faced an error while receiving medical care and 31 percent say that they witnessed an error while in someone else’s care.
Failure to diagnose in the ER is the basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit. You can file a claim against several parties.
- Doctors – if a doctor is an independent contractor, you could file a lawsuit against them directly.
- Hospital staff – nurses and lab technicians are hospital employees, so you would file a claim against the hospital.
Misdiagnosis in the ER could involve a wrong diagnosis, an overlooked diagnosis, a delayed diagnosis, or ignoring the complications that could worsen the existing condition. In some cases, a doctor can make one correct diagnosis and fail to notice another condition that needs attention.
The environment in the ER is usually chaotic. When many patients need immediate assistance simultaneously, mistakes are possible. That’s why both doctors and hospitals have teams of lawyers ready to fight on their behalf. That’s one of the reasons why you can benefit from having a legal representative in your corner.
How do I prove negligence in a wrongful diagnosis case?
To obtain compensation in a malpractice lawsuit, you need to prove negligence.
It usually involves gathering a substantial amount of evidence, including expert testimonies.
- Legal duty of care – you need to prove that the defendant had a legal duty of care to you. If you have a relationship with a healthcare provider, they have a legal duty to give your proper medical care.
- Breach of the legal duty of care -proving the breach of the duty of care is one of the toughest elements of a misdiagnosis lawsuit. You would need to show that a competent healthcare provider would have made the right diagnosis. This usually involves obtaining testimony from an expert with the same area of expertise as the defendant.
- Causation – proving that the breach of legal duty caused your injuries. This also requires testimony from medical experts. For example, you would need to prove that delayed diagnosis of a heart condition resulted in the patient’s death.
- Damages – proving that injuries caused by the breach of the legal duty of care led to damages. This involves providing evidence that includes medical bills, proof of lost income, loss of earning capacity, emotional distress, and more.
The right approach to proving negligence is the key to your case’s outcome. That’s why it may be necessary to consult a medical malpractice attorney. By trying to collect the necessary evidence on your own, you could fail to cover the correct ground.
How much money can I expect from a wrongful diagnosis lawsuit?
If you can prove that the doctors or the hospital demonstrated negligence when diagnosing your condition, you may pursue:
- Economic damages – these damages have to reimburse the plaintiff’s expenses that occurred due to the misdiagnosis. These can include medical bills, therapy expenses, surgery costs, and much more. Economic damages can be recovered for both current and future malpractice-related expenses.
- Non–economic damages – these damages usually cover pain and suffering and the loss of quality of life. For example, if a misdiagnosis resulted in a disability, the defendant may recover compensation for pain and suffering caused by that disability. Non-economic damages are harder to prove. They usually require testimonies from witnesses, experts, victims, and family members.
- Punitive damages – courts award these damages if the defendant demonstrates extreme lack of care. Their goal is to punish the medical professional for misconduct. Punitive damages are rare because they require hard proof that the healthcare provider’s conduct was extremely reckless.
- Wrongful death damages – if misdiagnosis in the ER led to the patient’s death, their loved ones can file a wrongful death claim. The damages, in this case, would include funeral expenses, pre-death treatment expenses, loss of support, loss of inheritance, and more.
The amount of damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit depends on:
- The extent of your injuries, pain, suffering, and losses.
- The amount of evidence you can present to the insurance company or the court.
- The expertise of your wrongful diagnosis attorney.
Many states cap how much money you can recover in a medical malpractice case. For example, in 2021, the limit on total damages in Virginia is $2,450,000. The cap will increase by $50,000 annually until 2031.
What should I do if I suspect a failure to diagnose in the ER?
If you think you are a victim of the wrong diagnosis in the ER, speak to a lawyer immediately. The faster you get legal consultation, the faster you can start working toward recovering damages.
Errors made in the ER can result in serious consequences for patients. You could be stuck with sizable medical bills and a severe lack of funds. An attorney can help you receive fair compensation and cover all malpractice-related expenses.
How much time do I have to file a claim?
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases varies from state to state. According to Virginia laws, it’s two years from the occurrence. In North Carolina, you have two years from the occurrence or one year from reasonable discovery.
There are some exceptions to the statute of limitations. An attorney can help you find out if you still have time to file a claim.
Do I need a lawyer for an ER misdiagnosis claim?
If you are a victim of an ER misdiagnosis, you aren’t obligated to hire a lawyer. However, proving negligence in these cases is tough. Without proper legal representation, you could lose your chance of obtaining fair compensation. By contacting a wrongful diagnosis attorney on time, you can get valuable legal advice and an opportunity to maximize payouts.