What to Know About Emergency Room Misdiagnosis Claims in Atlanta

In the frantic atmosphere of the typical emergency room, it is not unheard of for mistakes to occur. However, because of how high-pressure and high-stress the day-to-day job of an ER doctor is, Georgia state law offers them a bit more protection from civil liability than it does to other medical professionals.

In order to file an emergency room misdiagnosis claim against a healthcare provider in Atlanta, you should know how these cases work and what can commonly cause medical errors in an emergency room. A knowledgeable malpractice lawyer who could rely on the medical experience of an in-house doctor could explain the ins and outs of these cases and help you understand how yours in particular might proceed.

How ER Misdiagnoses Compare to Other Misdiagnoses

All misdiagnosis cases have common elements and typically cause a patient’s undiagnosed condition to worsen. By comparison, though, an emergency room misdiagnosis case in Atlanta often centers around a shorter window of time in which the patient visited the emergency room and his or her condition was misdiagnosed. Some emergency room visits last only a matter of hours, whereas a standard misdiagnosis case may involve a patient seeing the same physician for the same symptoms for months.

Regardless, all medical malpractice cases require patients to demonstrate that their medical provider(s) violated the applicable standard of care, and that their breach of duty directly caused them to suffer avoidable physical harm. If a case holder cannot establish those three elements, his or her lawsuit will be unsuccessful regardless of whether the case is specifically based on an emergency room misdiagnosis.

How State Law Protects ER Doctors from Liability

O.C.G.A. §51-1-29.5 requires patients to provide clear and convincing evidence, a higher evidentiary threshold than most civil cases, in order to recover against an emergency room provider, and also only allows recovery where gross negligence is shown. This statute provides a level of protection to emergency room professionals that is not afforded to other physicians who practice outside of the emergency room setting.

People who have been injured from an emergency room misdiagnosis in Atlanta should consult with an experienced lawyer who could analyze their cases and determine if it meets the high bar for emergency room negligence. If so, the attorney could properly investigate the claim and prepare a lawsuit to be filed in court to pursue compensation on behalf of the injured patient.

The Time Frame for Filing Suit

As with almost all medical malpractice cases, the statute of limitations to file an Atlanta emergency room misdiagnosis claim is two years from the date of injury. In most cases, that deadline will specifically be two years from the date of the patient’s visit to the emergency room, when the misdiagnosis happened. There are rare exceptions for cases with certain extenuating circumstances, but patients who are considering initiating an emergency room misdiagnosis claim should be prepared to abide by the two-year statutory deadline.  Due to the statute of repose, no medical malpractice claim can be filed more than 5 years after the negligent act or omission.

What Victims of Atlanta Emergency Room Misdiagnosis Claims Need to Know

Atlanta attorneys could bolster the chance of a favorable outcome in an Atlanta emergency room misdiagnosis case by thoroughly understanding the evidence, medical issues, and level of testimony needed to overcome the heightened burdens in emergency room cases. In addition to the medical science and evidence needed, attorneys could seek the right expert to testify that a case involved gross negligence in accordance with the standard of proof set by state law.

Together, a subject matter expert and skilled attorney could educate the jury about the severity of gross negligence compared to ordinary negligence, how the individual’s misdiagnosis or mistreatment could have been prevented, and how the individual’s quality of life has been affected. To learn more about how these types of claims work, schedule a free consultation with an attorney who takes calls after hours.