Emergencies & Medical Malpractice FAQ
March 28, 2018
Any medical assistance in an emergency situation is usually welcomed. As far as liability is concerned, there is generally a high bar set for legal action against first responders in an emergency context. However, that high bar to legal action does not completely absolve first responders from all responsibility in Pennsylvania.
In the law’s eyes, a medical malpractice injury that occurs during an emergency situation is completely different than one that happens during a patient’s normal course of treatment. Medical professionals are always held to a high standard, but even the most competent and skilled experts can make mistakes or incorrectly diagnose a condition during emergencies. First responders are given legal protection from most lawsuits in all states, including PA, but emergency room doctors are held to a higher standard. Whether the patient can seek compensation from the negligent party directly hinges on who acted recklessly.
Civil Liability of First Responders in Pennsylvania
States provide legal protection for first responders including firefighters, ambulance crews, and emergency technicians. Unless a first responder was maliciously, intentionally, or recklessly negligent, it’s unlikely that the victim will be able to seek compensation from the first responder. The emergency worker’s employer will likely have to take legal and financial responsibility for medical malpractice.
Emergency room personnel, on the other hand, are bound by the standard medical malpractice rules. “Negligence” means that the doctor acted in a way that a competent doctor would not have acted in the same circumstances. The biggest difference between routine care and emergency care is the burden of proving that a doctor in the same situation would act similarly. Emergency situations rarely allow the doctor to calmly consider the medical context of the situation, so, generally speaking, the medical staff would need to have made an extreme, severe, or intentional mistake to be considered negligent. For emergency room negligence, the hospital is likely to bear the burden of medical malpractice claims.
Contact a Knowledgeable Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Attorney About Your Emergency Room Negligence Lawsuit
Our compassionate Pittsburgh medical malpractice attorneys at Goodrich and Geist understand how emotionally traumatizing emergency situations are. When you’ve been a victim of malpractice in an emergency in PA, you can count on our experienced legal team to help you pursue your rightful compensation. To contact our legal office, reach out to us at 412-837-8426.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.