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Philadelphia, PA: Johnny Cochran Lawyer

Philadelphia Emergency Room Negligence Lawyer

Do You Need A Philadelphia Emergency Room Negligence Lawyer?

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were over 131 million emergency room visits across the United States in the year 2020. The emergency room can be chaotic, which frequently makes things difficult for doctors and nurses.

Regardless of this, however, healthcare professionals have a duty of care to you when you arrive in the emergency room, and you have a right to expect compensation if substandard emergency room care causes you harm.

As Philadelphia emergency room negligence attorneys, we help people in this situation every day.

How A Philadelphia Emergency Room Negligence Lawyer Can Help You

We help people through every stage of the process that follows a potential incident of medical malpractice. If you’re not sure whether you have a case on your hands, you can request a free initial consultation with us, during which you’ll learn whether you’ve been the victim of negligent treatment.

If your emergency room negligence lawyer recommends legal action, they can file a lawsuit on your behalf in local or state court. Then, the process of research, discovery, and case-building begins. We’ll look at all the available evidence and pick out the details that show how your healthcare provider has let you down.

Before we get to the courtroom, we get the opportunity to negotiate with the lawyers of the healthcare facility that treated you to try to agree to a settlement. This option is preferable to a jury trial for a number of reasons; it’s quicker and less costly, and it involves less stress for you. However, if it’s not possible to come to an agreement in this way, we’ll go in front of a judge and jury without hesitation.

Why Choose The Cochran Firm?

The Cochran Firm in Philadelphia has a long history of delivering excellent results in difficult cases.

Our principal attorney Robert S. Miller has a wealth of experience when it comes to personal injury litigation. After graduating from Widener University School of Law, he went on to spend his career helping victims of medical malpractice, workplace accidents, motor vehicle accidents, and other types of personal injuries.

Robert is a member of the Bar Associations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, and is admitted to practice in both state and federal court.

How Do You Prove Medical Malpractice?

In order for liability to attach to a healthcare provider in an emergency room negligence case, three key requirements must be met, namely:

  • The medical professional or institution provided substandard care.
  • You suffered some form of harm.
  • The substandard care you received was the cause of the harm you suffered.

The last of these requirements can cause a lot of difficulties in cases like these. As an emergency room patient, you arrive in the care of a hospital with your health already compromised in some way. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the hospital may try to argue that your ultimate health condition came about because of your previous accident, injury, or sickness, not the emergency room care you received.

This is one of the reasons why you need an experienced, successful emergency room negligence attorney in your corner during a case like this.

What Are The Most Common Examples of Emergency Room Negligence?

Certain types of medical malpractice give rise to lawsuits very frequently. Some of the issues we commonly deal with include:

  1. Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis: Failure to accurately diagnose a health issue in a timely fashion can result in serious harm or death.
  2. Medication errors: Emergency room staff may administer the wrong medication or the wrong dosage, or they may fail to properly monitor patients who are receiving medication.
  3. Surgical errors: Errors during emergency surgical procedures can give rise to medical malpractice lawsuits.
  4. Failure to order necessary tests: The failure to order the proper tests in a timely fashion can lead to issues with diagnosis, and, ultimately, worse outcomes for the patient.
  5. Failure to properly monitor patients: Patients in the emergency room may require close monitoring due to the severity of their condition; failure to provide this can have severe consequences.
  6. Discharging patients prematurely: Emergency room staff sometimes discharge patients before they have undergone proper assessment and treatment, leaving them at risk of serious harm.

What Kinds of Damages Might Arise from An Emergency Room Negligence Lawsuit?

Damages are the name given to the monetary compensation you receive following a successful personal injury claim. There are two main categories of damages that are available in most of these cases; general damages and special damages. There is also a third category, punitive damages, that may be available in some particularly egregious cases.

Special damages: Also known as economic damages, these are damages that can be easily quantified, including things like medical expenses, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Economic damages are typically relatively straightforward to prove.

General damages: Also known as noneconomic damages, these relate to harm that cannot be easily quantified in financial terms and may include things like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. It’s usually up to a judge or jury to calculate the amount of general damages that should be available to a plaintiff, and this process can be quite subjective.

Punitive damages: The court may award punitive damages if the negligence was particularly egregious or if the defendant acted recklessly or intentionally. Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant and deter similar behavior by others.

Common Defenses against Emergency Room Negligence Claims

As an emergency room negligence attorney, you need to be prepared to defend your version of events from opposing counsel. Defense lawyers in these cases regularly rely on certain types of arguments, including:

  • Lack of causation: The defense may argue that the plaintiff’s injuries were not caused by the defendant’s negligence, but rather by some other factor.
  • Comparative negligence: As a sick or injured person, there will always be some action you take that could potentially worsen your symptoms. Hospital attorneys do their best to highlight these in an attempt to lessen the degree of their liability in emergency room cases.
  • The substantial minority principle: As plaintiff lawyers, we highlight any instance in which a medical professional deviated from standard practice when treating a client. Defense counsel may counteract this argument by claiming the action their client took, while not standard, is accepted by a substantial minority of operatives in that field of medicine.
  • Assumed risk: Defendants frequently argue that patients accept a certain level of risk when they submit to courses of medical or surgical treatment.

The Doctrine of Informed Consent And The Role of Consent Forms in Malpractice Cases

When you enter an emergency room in need of medical care, facility staff may ask you to read and sign a consent form. These forms typically outline the risks associated with medications you’ll receive or procedures you’ll undergo and ask you to indicate that you understand them and consent to their use.

These forms are not for your benefit as a patient. Healthcare facilities use them to reduce their legal liability in the event of unfavorable outcomes. These forms are particularly relevant in cases where plaintiffs try to sue hospitals on the basis that they did not give proper consent to a certain procedure or course of medication.

However, the fact that you signed a consent form doesn’t mean that a hospital or healthcare provider is immune from a suit in relation to your treatment. A court may still determine that the treatment you received was negligent despite the fact that you signed a consent form before accepting it.

What Is The Doctrine of Comparative Negligence, And How Does It Affect Your Claim?

As noted previously, defense lawyers commonly try to argue that some factor other than their negligence was the cause of your ultimate health condition. But what happens if the court determines it was partially down to the defendant, and partially down to your own negligence?

The state of Pennsylvania uses the doctrine of comparative negligence to answer that question. The rule provides that a plaintiff’s recovery of damages may be reduced in line with their own degree of fault in relation to an accident. So, if a court determines that your own negligence was 20% of the overall reason for your injuries, and your healthcare provider’s negligence contributed 80%, you will only be entitled to 80% of the damages that would otherwise be available to you.

Frequently Asked Questions

We will always answer your questions before moving forward, and some of the most common questions people ask us include:

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing an Emergency Room Negligence Claim? 

In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations in relation to medical malpractice lawsuits is two years. That means you have two years from the date the alleged malpractice was discovered (or should have been discovered) to file a lawsuit. If you’re filing a wrongful death lawsuit following the passing of a loved one, you generally have two years from the date of their death.

How Long Does an Emergency Room Negligence Claim Typically Take to Resolve? 

In some cases, it’s possible to resolve emergency room negligence claims relatively quickly through a settlement negotiation process. If liability is clear and damages are well-documented, you may be able to reach a settlement within a few months of filing your claim. However, where cases go to trial, resolutions take much longer to reach. If your case goes to court, it may take several years to get from filing your lawsuit to getting it fully resolved.

What Role Does Expert Testimony Play in an Emergency Room Negligence Case? 

Various types of expert witnesses may have a role to play in your emergency room negligence case, depending on your individual circumstances. Experts may be able to define the proper standard of care in your case or provide testimony regarding your injuries, your prognosis, and the cost of your ongoing medical care.

What Happens If the Facility Where I Received Negligent Treatment Has Gone out of Business? 

It may still be possible to pursue a claim for emergency room negligence if the emergency room in which you were treated has gone out of business. If the organization filed for bankruptcy, you can file suit in bankruptcy court. Alternatively, if another organization acquired the facility, you may be able to pursue the new owner for damages.

We hope that these answers help you to better understand emergency room negligence claims in Philadelphia. We recognize that this list is not comprehensive, and you probably have a lot more questions.

The Philadelphia Emergency Room Negligence Attorneys Who Can Help You Secure A Settlement

Suffering injuries or other health issues because of emergency room negligence can be highly frustrating. You trust healthcare professionals to improve your situation when you need medical help, not neglect it or make it worse. Hiring a Philadelphia emergency room negligence attorney is the best way to pursue your entitlements when you’re in this situation.

Contact the Cochran Firm in Pennsylvania today to request a free initial consultation about your case. Call 800-969-4400 or fill out the web form on our site.