Hospital Negligence Attorneys in Montana and Wyoming for Hospital Malpractice
Hospital negligence can cause serious harm to patients, sometimes even causing death. Hospital negligence, often called hospital malpractice, usually involves a negligence act by health care providers, specifically staff working at a hospital such as nurses, medical technicians, and other attendant staff. Even with the significant amount of health care regulations in the United States, hospital negligence is fairly common. If you’re a victim of hospital or emergency room negligence, a Montana and Wyoming hospital malpractice lawyer from our firm can help.
Ragain & Clark appreciates that each victim of hospital malpractice has a unique set of circumstances to evaluate. We focus on and prioritize our clients, providing them with an exceptional standard of care as we help them recover and pursue compensation for the injury suffered.
Identifying Responsibility in Hospital Negligence Cases
As we know, hospitals and emergency rooms have numerous staff members and medical providers treating patients. Identifying the parties to hold responsible in hospital negligence cases is complex. In addition to holding individual physicians responsible for malpractice, hospitals can be held liable for the actions of doctors not directly employed by the hospital if they have been permitted to practice medicine in the facility. Hospitals have a responsibility to ensure those medical professionals within their walls maintain the appropriate standard of care due to patients, regardless of how chaotic the environment is at the time.
Hospitals are also responsible for screening the physicians they employ or allow to practice in their hospitals. In addition, hospitals need to ensure appropriate licensing and training are maintained by medical professionals. Reviewing hospital policy, procedure, screening process, and requirements for hospital privileges can be complex but is an important part of identifying liability in hospital negligence cases. A Wyoming or Montana hospital negligence lawyer can do this work for you and bring all responsible parties forward to answer for the injuries caused by their negligence.
In addition, holding hospitals responsible for malpractice may result in better outcomes for malpractice victims due to numerous factors. For example, hospital administration is a less personal entity to bring a malpractice lawsuit against, whereas an individual health care provider is identifiable to a jury at trial. Also, when multiple providers may be liable for a patient’s injuries, a determination must be made on each individual provider, whereas an overarching claim against the hospital entity may provide more significant financial compensation to the malpractice victim.
Causes of Hospital Negligence
Patients rely on hospitals to provide critical care that is safe and meets the requisite standard of care. However, hospital negligence occurs often in the United States for a variety of different reasons such as understaffing issues, staff that is not adequately trained, lack of resources and inadequate equipment, improperly entering patient information, lack of communication between various health care providers (such as the emergency room doctor and the surgeon), and facilities that are in need of essential repairs. Unfortunately, these issues can cause injuries to patients that could have been prevented. At this point, a hospital negligence lawyer can step in and seek compensation and justice for malpractice victims.
Our Hospital Negligence Attorney Outlines Causes of Mistakes and Accidents in the ER
Emergency rooms often tend to be more fast-paced and chaotic than other medical provider settings such as a doctor’s office. When health care workers such as emergency room doctors, surgeons, nurses, paramedics, and other hospital employees rush in their duties or suffer from other issues such as fatigue from being overworked and understaffed, their conduct can cause these essential health care workers to fail to perform up to the required standard of care. As a result, patients sustain injuries from the neglectful care they received while in an emergency room. Medical professionals are responsible for the medical care administered to patients. When mistakes harm their patients, those patients should turn to a hospital negligence lawyer to remedy their situation and recover to the fullest extent possible.
Types of Emergency Room Negligence
The tragedy of emergency room negligence injuries is that people come to emergency rooms and hospitals for urgent care, expecting that the medical professionals we trust to provide such care will do what they are supposed to do, even in the most stressful of medical scenarios. No one expects to leave worse off than when they arrived. Due to the nature of the emergent cases that make their way into an ER, sometimes hospital staff are rushed to identify a diagnosis to quickly start treating a patient to attempt to save their lives. Unfortunately, this can cause health care providers to not thoroughly evaluate a patient to the level they should, which can lead to a misdiagnosis of the condition which then may lead to improper treatment. Misdiagnosis could be contributed to several different emergency room staff members such as nurses, EMT and paramedic neglect, and physician errors.
Other issues that occur in emergency rooms that our medical malpractice law firm can review include:
- Errors in collecting and processing lab samples
- Inaccuracies documented in patient records
- Contaminated blood transfusions
- Failure to maintain sterilized medical equipment
- Delayed diagnosis
- Practices that contribute to infection and disease
- Failure to monitor patients
- Surgical errors
Injuries Resulting from Emergency Department Negligence in Montana and Wyoming
Because of the negligence of emergency room staff, patients are injured every year when those injuries could have been prevented, but fatigued and overworked medical staff does not excuse the failure to catch a brain aneurysm before it ruptures when clear symptoms were presented or finding a blocked bile duct that could have been caught early and treated if proper testing had been done before toxins collected in the liver.
Other common issues that occur when emergency room employees do not properly or efficiently diagnose symptoms include but are not limited to:
- Strokes and seizures
- Burst appendix causes infection to spread throughout the abdomen
- Heart attacks
- Internal bleeding
- Infection due to delayed response and treatment
Our experienced medical malpractice law firm can review your treatment to determine whether you may have a medical malpractice case that may help you obtain the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
Compensation for Hospital Malpractice
It is important to know what you can be compensated for in your hospital negligence claim so you are not shortchanged. A hospital malpractice lawyer can assess your claim and compile an accounting of financial damages as well as pursue appropriate remedies for your case. Factors to consider in valuing a hospital negligence case include the severity of the injury, the patient’s age, and how diminished the patient's quality of life is likely to be due to the hospital’s negligence. An experienced hospital malpractice lawyer will continue to fight for you to receive the compensation you deserve.
Some of the financial expenses you may recover in a hospital negligence case include:
- Additional medical expenses to treat or correct the injury caused by the hospital’s negligence.
- Continuing treatment for the injury caused by the hospital’s negligence. In severe cases this includes life-long medical care and treatment.
- Additional surgeries and treatment are necessary to remediate or attempt to correct the injury.
- Lost wages due to being unable to work during recovery.
- Loss of earning capacity due to an inability to return to work due to injury.
- Expenses for permanent accommodations when an injury from negligence is a permanent condition.
In addition, your Montana or Wyoming hospital negligence lawyer can pursue pain and suffering compensation for your injury. While difficult to quantify an amount for pain and suffering, your lawyer will assess your injuries and the impact on your life, and through careful analysis present a just financial figure for demand. We will continue to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf, taking your case to trial should it be necessary to get you the compensation you deserve.
Our Wyoming and Montana Hospital Malpractice Lawyers Can Also Manage Your Wrongful Death Claim
It is extremely unfortunate when ER or hospital negligence results in wrongful death. In these devastating circumstances, a hospital malpractice lawyer will work diligently and compassionately to help you recover and hold the negligent parties responsible for your loss.
While money can in no way bring back a loved one or replace them, you can be awarded financial compensation for a hospital’s negligence resulting in your loved one's wrongful death. The ways a hospital negligence lawyer can pursue financial recovery for you include:
- Funeral expenses
- Lost future wages
- Lost future-benefits
- Loss of companionship
Ragain & Clark respects the sensitive nature of handling wrongful death claims due to hospital negligence. We support you at this difficult time and will focus on your needs and prioritize your recovery.
Act Promptly to Stay Within the Statute of Limitations
In any legal case, there is a time limit in which to bring your legal claim. This is commonly referred to as the statute of limitations. Ragain & Clark serves clients throughout Montana and Wyoming and keeps track of the appropriate deadlines and procedures to bring hospital malpractice cases on behalf of our clients. In Montana, a malpractice claim must either be brought within two years of the injury or two years within the discovery of the injury, but no more than five years from the actual date of injury. Likewise, Wyoming has a two-year statute of limitations. Therefore, it is essential to contact a hospital negligence lawyer promptly to discuss your negligence case and bring your claim. Do not miss your opportunity for recovery due to delay.
Here are some other examples of causes of hospital negligence:
- Ineffective or outdated hospital policies or procedures
- Unsanitary practices and facilities
- Poor record-keeping practices
Generally speaking, most hospital negligence is caused by poor hospital management.
How to Sue a Hospital in Wyoming and Montana
Filing a lawsuit against a hospital is a major undertaking that involves a very complex process. As an initial matter, all claims will be referred to their insurance carrier, who will likely deny that the hospital was at fault in any way. Every insurance company aims to pay as little as possible on whatever claims they face. As a result, you should not expect to negotiate your claim with the hospital directly.
Furthermore, the hospital’s insurance company will appoint an attorney to represent the hospital at some point. The attorney will specialize in defending against malpractice claims and will have considerable resources at hand to protect the hospital.
First, Talk to a Montana or Wyoming Hospital Negligence Lawyer
In light of these facts, the first thing you should do before pursuing a claim against the hospital is to speak with a Montana hospital negligence attorney or a Wyoming hospital negligence lawyer. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can put you on an even footing with the hospital and thus give you your best chance of succeeding.
The Medical Legal Panel and Medical Review Panel
Your lawyer can then help you navigate the complexities of the legal process. In both Wyoming and Montana, you will need to first file a claim with a panel of experts for review prior to filing your lawsuit. In Montana, it is referred to as the Medical Legal Panel, while in Wyoming, it is known as the Medical Review Panel. Both panels exist to weed out frivolous claims. As part of the process, the panel will convene a hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to support your malpractice claim.
In both Wyoming and Montana, the findings of each panel are non-binding. This means that you can proceed with your lawsuit once the panel has concluded its review, regardless of their determination. However, you must understand that you cannot file a lawsuit until the panel in your state has reviewed your claim.
It is also important to understand that the review panel does not determine whether or not the hospital committed malpractice. That said, the panel may recommend an award of compensation. As a result, you should take this step very seriously - a Montana hospital negligence attorney or Wyoming hospital negligence lawyer can help you build the strongest possible case.
Filing the Lawsuit
You should proceed promptly with your lawsuit once the review process is completed to avoid any issues with the statute of limitations. In addition, the longer you wait, the more difficult it may be to prove your claim. If you have been working with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer, they will have gathered all of the vital evidence you need to present your claim to the review panel. As a result, filing your lawsuit following the panel review should be a seamless next step in the process.
Do You Need to Arbitrate or Mediate?
One potential issue is that some hospitals may require patients to submit malpractice claims to arbitration or mediation prior to or instead of filing a lawsuit. Mediation and arbitration are sometimes referred to as “alternative dispute resolution” and are intended to offer a streamlined process for resolving claims. These methods have both advantages and disadvantages. An experienced Wyoming or Montana hospital negligence attorney can determine whether you must proceed to arbitration or mediation with your claim and how that fits into your legal strategy.
How Suing a Hospital is Different from Other Malpractice Cases
Hospital negligence cases proceed under a different theory than other malpractice cases. When you think about it, the reason becomes obvious - the hospital itself cannot commit negligence or malpractice. Instead, the hospital can be held liable because employers can be held responsible for the negligence of their employees.
As a result, you can only sue the hospital if the doctor is a hospital employee. While this sounds straightforward, the difficulty is that many doctors working in hospitals aren’t actually hospital employees. As a result, untangling the relationship between the doctor and the hospital isn’t easy. Still, a Montana hospital negligence attorney or Wyoming hospital negligence lawyer can determine whether you should sue the hospital or the doctor.
All of that said, there are exceptions to the rule that you can only sue the hospital due to the negligence of its employees. For example:
- The hospital may be held liable if it did not make it clear that the doctor was not an employee of the hospital.
- The hospital may be held liable if the doctor is incompetent or dangerous.
- The hospital may be held liable if you went to the ER and could not sign any paperwork.
- The hospital does not properly supervise its non-employees.
In addition, it is important to keep in mind that doctors are not the only health care providers who can be negligent. For example, nurses, techs, and other hospital employees can act negligently or commit malpractice. In fact, your case may involve negligence on the part of several different employees or physicians. As a result, you may ultimately have to sue both the hospital and the doctor individually.
The bottom line is that successfully bringing a claim against a hospital is extraordinarily difficult for non-lawyers. Therefore, to receive the compensation you truly deserve, you should speak with a Montana hospital negligence attorney or a Wyoming hospital negligence lawyer to avoid losing your rights.
Next Step: Contact Our Montana or Wyoming Hospital Malpractice Lawyers
Hospital and emergency room negligence is unacceptable and may entitle patients harmed to compensation for their injuries. With over 40 years of trial experience, the medical malpractice law firm of Ragain and Clark understands what it takes to help injured patients effectively pursue a claim against a hospital regardless of how complicated or unique the client’s issue may be.
Contact our emergency room and hospital negligence lawyers today to schedule a free and confidential consultation. Our aggressive attorneys hold hospitals accountable and have extensive experience handling disputes in Montana and Wyoming, and understand how to maximize the value of your claim.