Hospital Liability for Emergency Room Errors in Atlanta

Many healthcare providers working in the emergency room are employees of the hospital, which means the medical facility can be held liable for their negligent actions. The facility could also bear liability in an ER case if they are understaffed or fail to provide proper equipment for their workers. As legal fault is a complex issue, it is best to speak with a skilled lawyer about hospital liability for emergency room errors in Atlanta.

Negligence in Employing an Emergency Room Medical Provider

Hospitals and other medical facilities have a responsibility to hire qualified workers. State law dictates that employers can be held responsible for any negligent employees’ actions during the scope of their employment.

However, in emergency room claims, there is a higher standard for negligence. According to O.C.G.A. § 51-1-29.5, ER providers are only liable for damages if the injured party can prove they acted with gross negligence using clear and convincing evidence.

How Do Hospitals Attempts to Avoid Liability?

Some hospitals do not employ the physicians that work in the emergency department to insulate themselves from liability. Instead, the medical providers are independent contractors provided to the emergency room by a separate entity with a contract with the hospital. As these workers are not technically employees, the hospital may not be held liable for the medical providers’ error in the emergency room.

Proving an Atlanta Hospital is Liable for ER Mistakes

An attorney begins proving a hospital’s negligence by obtaining all relevant evidence about the emergency room error. These evidentiary documents can include hospital bylaws, policies, procedures, and standing orders. Lawyers typically request these records through discovery.

Legal counsel could also gather crucial information about the case through deposition testimony. During this process, an attorney might depose witnesses to question them about the medical facility’s rules, regulations, and guidelines at the time of the error. Potential witnesses include staff working in the hospital at the time of the accident and corporate representatives of the medical facility.

What Types of Compensation Could be Recovered if the Hospital is Liable?

Injured emergency room patients may receive economic and non-economic damages for their losses. Economic damages refer to calculatable expenses such as medical bills related to the negligent act. Additionally, these financial losses can include subsequent hospital bills for long-term treatment and lost wages.

Non-economic damages are the losses that are not as easy to calculate. Pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life are common types of non-economic damages. At trial, a jury typically attributes an amount of money based on the evidence of the injured party’s non-economic losses.

How Does Modified Comparative Negligence Affect Recovery?

In Georgia, if the injured person’s own negligence contributed to his or her injury, the recoverable damages will be reduced or eliminated based on the percentage of fault he or she bears. This concept is known as modified comparative negligence.

For example, if a jury were to award the patient $100,000 but find that he or she was 20 percent at fault for the injury, the available damages would be reduced by that percentage. In this example, the injured patient would recover $80,000 instead of the full $100,000.

If a jury determines that the injured patient was 50 percent or more at fault, he or she will be barred from recovering any damages. To avoid partial fault allegations, it is best to hire a lawyer familiar with ER cases who could prove the hospital is the only liable party.

Talk to a Lawyer about Hospital Liability for Emergency Room Errors in Atlanta

The emergency department can be hectic, but that is not an excuse for medical providers to act with gross negligence. If you were recently harmed due to a medical error, consider speaking with a member of our team about hospital liability for emergency room errors in Atlanta.