Columbia Emergency Room Error Lawyer

The emergency room is the last place anyone wants to be, but is sometimes the patient’s only hope. Life and death hang in the balance and a patient usually has no choice but to trust the physicians and nurses who tend to them. Emergency rooms are chaotic, stressful, and exhausting environments for even the most well-trained medical professionals. What happens when a mistake is made, one that either costs the patient’s life or leaves them with a serious, debilitating injury or disease? If you or a loved one have been the victim of a medical mistake, you’ll need a skilled emergency room error lawyer. Rikard & Protopapas is here to serve you and your family.

Can You Sue for Emergency Room Errors?

Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals — including those who are on staff in emergency rooms — make mistakes. The law does not expect or require these individuals to be absolutely perfect. This is especially true in the crowded, busy, and demanding circumstances found in emergency rooms. Healthcare professionals have to make snap decisions, often with limited information, and often in desperate situations.

However, this doesn’t excuse what the law considers to be negligence. Medical professionals have a legal obligation, known as a duty of care, to avoid acts or omissions that can foreseeably cause harm to patients. This is where medical malpractice comes in. More than simply an error, malpractice occurs when the professional’s acts or omissions deviate from accepted standards of medical care and cause injury to the patient.

Emergency room malpractice, therefore, happens when the practitioner’s mistake is unreasonable, falls short of the accepted standard of care, and results in patient harm. A knowledgeable emergency room error lawyer will be able to demonstrate that another, similarly situated doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider would have acted differently.

Why Choose Our Medical Malpractice Attorneys to Pursue an Emergency Room Error Claim or Lawsuit?

When you retain Rikard & Protopapas as your emergency room error law firm, we get to work investigating the circumstances that led to your injury. It starts with evaluating your medical condition before, during, and after treatment. We also look at how you were treated by the emergency room staff in terms of medical attention, diagnosis, protocols that were taken (or not), and the quality of the treatment you received. Additionally, our firm considers factors that might have contributed to the malpractice.

To explain the accepted standard of care, we call upon expert witnesses who can testify what emergency room doctors and nurses are expected to do (or not). Other expert witnesses can help assign a dollar value to your case by evaluating what sorts of future losses (e.g. medical problems, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering) you may encounter due to the malpractice.

If a settlement can be reached with the professional or facility that treated you, and its malpractice insurer, then this may save the time and hassle of a trial. But we are not afraid to take your case before a jury if the lawyers and insurers refuse to negotiate in good faith.

What Are the Kinds of Errors That Happen Most in Emergency Rooms?

Unfortunately, there are many ways that emergency room malpractice can occur. Some examples are:

  • Delayed treatment: Emergency rooms should prioritize the most serious cases first, but this doesn’t always happen. A delay in treatment could result in death or an avoidable but permanent injury.
  • Missed diagnoses: The physician may have failed to diagnose an infectious disease or serious injury requiring immediate medical attention. Many patients are mistakenly and prematurely sent home every year because the emergency room missed a diagnosis.
  • Prescription medication errors: During the hustle of the emergency room, the nurse or physician may neglect to learn what medicines you are taking and if you have any potential allergies. As a result, they might prescribe or administer you something that causes a dangerous reaction.
  • Surgical errors: Emergency surgery is often required to provide the urgent care that the patient needs. Mistakes involving anesthesia, injuries to the veins (which may be the result of improper tube insertion), and even operating on the wrong part of the body have been known to occur.
  • Birth injuries: There are multiple forms of this, from failing to recognize fetal distress to errors that harm the mother. Lifelong birth defects and severe harm to the mother are tragically common.

Contributing Factors to Emergency Room Mistakes

There are certain risks inherent to the emergency room situation that any hospital or medical facility must recognize and address. If they fail to, these kinds of contributing factors may lead to errors:

  • Overcrowding
  • Understaffing
  • Lack of sanitation
  • Lack of communication among staff
  • Distractions and lack of focus
  • Failure to learn the patient’s history
  • Failure to ask questions about the patient’s symptoms
  • Leaving the patient unattended for too long

These and other factors strongly suggest negligence. Your emergency room error lawyer will look for evidence of these during the investigation and by using a formal process known as discovery, in which the parties request and exchange relevant documents and evidence.

Who May Be Liable for Emergency Room Errors?

Hospitals are primarily responsible for ensuring that the proper protocols are established and enforced to ensure the patient’s well-being. However, mistakes such as negligent hiring and poor oversight can make the facility and its administrator liable.

Doctors, nurses, and pharmacists can be held responsible for mistakes as employees of the hospital. Some cases are more complicated because these professionals are classified as independent contractors. However, just because the hospital calls these workers independent contractors doesn’t mean they actually are. The question is what degree of control the hospital exercised over them.

First, we will determine who was to blame for the malpractice. Then, we will sort out the employment relationships among the parties and take action accordingly.

What Kinds of Compensation Are Available?

Although every case of emergency room malpractice is different, injured patients can generally seek compensation for:

  • Medical bills, including rehabilitation, medications, in-home nursing care, and physical therapy
  • Lost wages
  • Decreased earning capacity
  • Disability
  • Pain and suffering
  • Decreased quality of life
  • Wrongful death
  • Punitive damages, in some cases

Contact Our Experienced Emergency Room Error Attorneys

If you or a loved one have been hurt, don’t delay taking action. There are deadlines to file malpractice lawsuits and it will take time to build a compelling case. Rikard & Protopapas is dedicated to fighting for the compensation that emergency room malpractice victims deserve.

Give us a call today at 803-978-6111 or complete our online contact form to learn more about your legal rights and to get started.

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