1. When a person comes into a medical facility and asks to be evaluated, the hospital must provide a medical screening examination (MSE) to determine if there is an emergency medical condition (EMC), including active labor. The hospital may not decide on treatment based on your ability to pay and may not delay treatment to your detriment because they want to prove you can pay, such as pre-authorization from private health insurance. Thus the statute puts your welfare above the pocketbook of the hospital. The statute requires the hospital to use the medical equipment on hand, such as xray, CAT scan, MRI, EMG, EKG equipment as part of the emergency medical screening (EMC) process. So if the hospital just figures you are ok without doing tests, they may be liable under EMTALA. EMTALA applies to any patient coming in to the hospital, not just indigent patients.
When pursuing a claim against a doctor or hospital specifically, there may be “caps on damages.” This means that if a jury awards $10 million for pain and suffering in a medical malpractice case, a judge may be required by law to reduce that award to $250,000 or $500,000. These limits on non-economic damages vary from state and state, and will not always apply. Frequently catastrophic injuries, such as paralysis, brain injuries, or severe injuries to children, are allowed a higher limit. However, the caps do not generally apply to the portion of a monetary award meant for past and future medical care, lost income, or other financial losses.
Florida Standard Jury Instruction 501.2 states that, “there is no exact standard for measuring such damage. The amount should be fair and just in the light of the evidence.” Because even the Florida Standard Jury Instruction recognizes that there is no exact standard for measuring non-economic damages, it’s absolutely critical that the presentation of pain and suffering damages at trial is done in a manner that the jury can easily understand and can award you compensation accordingly.
When most people think about medical malpractice lawsuits, they imagine that the plaintiff is suing to recoup medical bill costs, lost wages, and economic damages but do not think about emotional distress. While the law has historically limited the ability of plaintiffs to receive compensation for emotional distress, settlements for this type of case have become more commonplace in recent years. It is most common for physical damage to also occur in these cases but this is not always necessary.
Ensuring that you have the necessary documentary evidence—medical records; witness statements to establish the full scope of your pain and suffering; and expert testimony to verify your injuries and the pain they are causing you—are matters that we have years of experience handling. Before and after witnesses are those individuals who knew you both before and after the incident giving rise to your injuries and are equipped to testify regarding how the accident has impacted you from their perspective. A spouse or significant other is typically an obvious ‘before and after’ witnesses because they live with you day in and out, taking notice of your physical pain and condition.
If you have been harmed due to a healthcare provider failing to diagnose a medical condition, or misdiagnosing one, you may be considering the question – “can I sue a doctor for misdiagnosis?” The short answer to this question is “maybe”. To provide an accurate answer, it is necessary to take a more in-depth look at the facts surrounding your situation.
"Once an allegation is made that the patient was admitted in a particular hospital and evidence is produced to satisfy that he died because of lack of proper care and negligence, then the burden lies on the hospital to justify that there was no negligence on the part of the treating doctor or hospital. Therefore, in any case, the hospital is in a better position to disclose what care was taken or what medicine was administered to the patient. It is the duty of the hospital to satisfy that there was no lack of care or diligence. The hospitals are institutions, people expect better and efficient service, if the hospital fails to discharge their duties through their doctors, being employed on job basis or employed on contract basis, it is the hospital which has to justify and not impleading a particular doctor will not absolve the hospital of its responsibilities."
As there is no way to accurately quantify the value of a plaintiff's pain and suffering, juries are asked to use their best judgment in coming up with the amount of a pain and suffering award. Keep in mind, however, that some states have instituted damage caps that place an upper limit on the amount of pain and suffering damages that may be awarded.
After you have done everything else, you should also meet with your doctor or the hospital officials. Even if you are not going to bring a medical malpractice case, you should try to negotiate with them one-on-one to see if they will waive some of your medical bills or compensate you in some way. You should bring an attorney with you if possible, but always remember that you should never sign any kind of legal document or waiver without an attorney looking it over first.
Failure to diagnose and misdiagnosis of an illness or injury are the basis of many medical malpractice lawsuits. Misdiagnosis on its own is not necessarily medical malpractice, and not all diagnostic errors give rise to a successful lawsuit. Even highly experienced and competent doctors make diagnostic errors. Instead, the misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose must result in improper medical care, delayed treatment, or no treatment, which in turn must result in a worsening of the patient's medical condition in order for the malpractice to be actionable.
It may not be so easy to file a personal injury lawsuit against a hospital or other health care facility, if what went wrong was limited to the quality of medical treatment you received from a doctor. That’s because in many cases, a physician is not an employee of the hospital, but an independent contractor. So, the hospital may not bear the kind of vicarious liability that typically exists in an employer-employee relationship.