Legal Blog

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Can I File a Suit Against an Urgent Care or Freestanding Emergency Room?

Attorney David I. Fuchs

Author

Attorney David I. Fuchs

Date

Jun. 19, 2018

Category

Personal Injury

Were you seriously injured or sickened after seeking help from an emergency room or urgent care facility? You could be entitled to compensation if urgent care or freestanding E.R. failed in its duties of proper patient care.

You expect to be treated for your injury or illness at an urgent care clinic or freestanding E.R. You do not deserve to be sickened, or your condition worsened by inadequate care. A Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney can examine your case to identify the medical error or negligence that caused your suffering.

Please contact David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A., to learn about filing a lawsuit against a freestanding E.R. or urgent care clinic.

Call (954) 568-3636 or use our online form for a free consultation.

Urgent Care and Freestanding Emergency Room Duties of Care

All medical facilities and their employees owe patients a strict duty of care. The list of responsibilities is long and detailed, but the primary guiding factors are:

  • Administer care in accordance with accepted medical practices
  • Always act in the best interests of the patient

All physicians, surgeons, and nurses take an oath swearing to uphold certain ethical standards. Any deviation to these standards, intentional or not, is considered medical malpractice.

No Excuse for Substandard Care

Urgent care centers are different environments than standard doctor’s offices and hospitals. Urgent care centers are often crowded. Patients typically have acute injuries or illnesses that they want to be treated as soon as possible. Urgent care facilities are usually open on nights and weekends when people cannot see their regular doctor.

A freestanding E.R. treats life-threatening and severe medical situations. This might include a gunshot victim, a potential cardiac arrest, and a dangerously sick infant – different issues but demanding immediate medical care.

In a medical malpractice case, the defendant may argue that the frantic pace in an urgent care facility or E.R. is to blame. However, many emergency rooms and urgent care centers uphold accepted medical standards despite being busy.

How a Fort Lauderdale Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help

A medical malpractice lawsuit involves medicine and the law, two extraordinarily complex areas where it is best to be guided by professionals.

Attorney Fuchs often consults with medical experts who can explain the nature of the error or negligence. Then, he uses his deep understanding of liability, negligence, and medical malpractice laws to pursue compensation for you and your loved ones.

You asked for help in an urgent care facility or freestanding E.R., not to be made sicker. A Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice lawyer can identify all liable parties and seek money damages on your behalf.

What Damages Can You Sue for in a Florida Medical Malpractice Claim?

A medical malpractice attorney can help you figure out what your claim or lawsuit is worth. This includes the current and future effects of your injury or illness.

You could recover both economic and non-economic damages under the law. Some of these losses might include:

  • Current and future medical expenses
  • Physical pain (current and future)
  • Emotional suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Damage to your reputation
  • Inconvenience
  • Loss of income
  • Diminished earning potential
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship and love
  • Loss of household services
  • Scarring or disfigurement

It is also possible that you could be entitled to punitive damages. These are only awarded when the actions of the healthcare provider in question were egregious or reprehensible. Punitive damages are the court’s way of punishing the guilty party. They send the message that the Florida civil justice system will not tolerate these actions.

Florida Medical Malpractice Laws That Could Affect Your E.R. Lawsuit

If you are hoping to win a medical malpractice claim against an emergency room, it is important to work with a lawyer who understands the laws that could impact your case.

Statute of Limitations

A Florida medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within two years under the state’s statute of limitations. However, this could be extended to as much as four years if you didn’t learn of your injuries until a later date. Four years is the absolute latest you will have to file your claim— and you might not have that long. Your lawyer can give you a better idea of how much time you have left to decide whether you will file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Changes in Non-Economic Damages

In the past, medical malpractice claims had a cap on the amount of non-economic damages awarded in Florida. However, these caps on non-economic damages have since been deemed unconstitutional. There is no legal limit for compensation related to emotional damages such as pain and suffering.

Examples of Medical Malpractice

The legal standard for proving medical malpractice is to compare what a healthcare provider’s peer – with similar education, job training, and experience – would do under similar circumstances. Medical malpractice can often take many different forms.

The most common examples of medical malpractice at urgent care centers and freestanding E.R.s include:

  • Refusing patient care
  • Treatment mistakes
  • Surgical errors

Refusing Patient Care

No urgent care or E.R. facility may refuse to treat a patient because he or she doesn’t have insurance or cannot pay for services. It is the law for healthcare centers to treat all patients, regardless of financial station, race, religion, gender, disability, age, or other station. Doing so is an illegal breach of duty that qualifies as malpractice.

Treatment Mistakes

When a healthcare provider in urgent care or emergency center makes a treatment mistake, they can cause devastating injury or illness. Failure to treat, misdiagnosis, inappropriate treatment, failure to provide follow-up care, and medication errors are just a few of the different treatment mistakes that could justify a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Surgical Errors

Physicians and surgeons make mistakes. Emergency health situations increase the risk of errors and complications, including uncontrollable bleeding, intubation errors, and infection. If a medical provider miscommunicates or makes a mistake that another healthcare professional would not have made in the same situation, that is considered malpractice.

Other types of surgical errors include:

  • Operating on the wrong body part
  • Operating on the wrong person
  • Leaving a surgical sponge or instrument in a body cavity
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Injuring a nerve

These are only a few of the different ways an E.R. or urgent care facility can be liable for medical malpractice. Any breach of professional duty that causes patient injury, illness, or death, is medical malpractice. Even if the action was unintentional, a negligent provider or facility should be held accountable.

Vicarious Liability for E.R. Staff Members

In many medical malpractice cases, it is not the healthcare facility itself that caused the patient’s harm but one of its staff members. Due to the laws of vicarious liability, a healthcare center will be liable for the actions, behaviors, and malpractice of its employees.

Medical facilities also have an obligation to ensure a safe environment. This includes equipment that is properly maintained, hygienic conditions, proper lighting, and adequate security.

Holding an Independent Contractor Accountable

Not all physicians who work in urgent care facilities or emergency rooms are employees. E.R. doctors are often independent contractors. It is possible to file a lawsuit against an independent contractor if there is sufficient evidence that their actions or omissions caused your illness or injury.

A medical malpractice lawyer can identify all liable parties who caused or contributed to your injuries, whether a facility, an employee, or an independent contractor.

Call a Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today

Lawsuits against emergency rooms and urgent care centers are complex. When you are hurt or sick, the last thing you need is to deal with a difficult litigation process. Contact David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A., to help you get compensation for your physical injuries and financial damages.

Your Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice lawyer is ready to start on your case. Call (954) 568-3636 or use our quick contact form for a free, no-risk consultation.