Were You a Victim of Urgent Care Malpractice?
Sadly, cases of urgent care malpractice are not uncommon. In our overstrained healthcare system, more and more people are visiting urgent care clinics. They turn to clinics when they can’t get appointments with their regular doctors or they need help outside of regular office hours. While people trust these clinics to treat their illnesses and injuries, their trust can sometimes be misplaced.
Medical errors made at urgent care clinics commonly include misdiagnoses or delays in diagnoses. These errors can result in serious and even fatal injuries. When an error is the result of negligence on the part of a doctor, nurse, medical assistant or other staff at an urgent care clinic, a medical malpractice legal claim may be warranted.
Were You Harmed Instead of Healed at Urgent Care?
Besides diagnostic errors and delays, there are a variety of other reasons that patients at urgent care facilities are harmed instead of healed. First, these clinics are designed to treat minor complaints and not severe medical problems. At these busy and sometimes poorly staffed clinics, the emphasis is often on getting patients in and out as quickly as possible. This means that the patient intake process might not be thorough and might even be handled by someone who is not a certified health care professional.
Also, doctors often work at these clinics part time or to pick up extra hours, so you can never be sure of the specific qualifications of the person treating you. Sometimes you won’t be seen by a doctor at all. Nurse practitioners, who are professional nurses and not trained physicians, may see and diagnose patients at these clinics when doctors are not available.
Other common issues at urgent care facilities include:
- Evaluations that are hurried and unfocused. With a lobby full of patients waiting to be seen, the doctor may rush in to your exam room, make a cursory evaluation of your symptoms and quickly make an on-the-spot diagnosis. During this hurried evaluation, the doctor, or nurse practitioner, may already have made up their mind about your illness or injury. They might not even take the time to really listen to you describe your problem or perform the necessary tests.
- Not recognizing when patients need to go to the emergency room. When doctors perform hurried and unfocused evaluations, they often won’t recognize the seriousness of an illness or injury. So instead of sending patients to the emergency room to get the appropriate care they need, the patient will be sent home with only a prescription. This lack of attention can have dangerous results. While urgent care centers can seem more attractive to people because they don’t have the long waits of emergency rooms, they also don’t have the proper diagnostic equipment and critical care services of hospitals. It shouldn’t be up to patients to decide if their illnesses require an emergency room. When a patient enters an urgent care facility for their medical problem, the providers at the facility should recognize when the patient’s problems are beyond their scope to treat and send them for emergency services.
If you have been injured at urgent care, it’s important to understand that you have potential recourse for the harm you’ve suffered.
Can You Sue Urgent Care?
The broad answer to the “can you sue urgent care” question is “yes.” As with all medical providers, these facilities are vulnerable to lawsuits when urgent care negligence takes place. In some cases, lawsuits may be brought against individual urgent care doctors, nurses or other personnel as well as the urgent care facility itself.
On an individual basis, whether you can sue urgent care will depend upon the specific circumstances of your case. To bring a successful urgent care malpractice lawsuit, you must prove that the harm you suffered was caused by medical negligence. Proving medical negligence is a complex process. You must show that the healthcare provider didn’t provide the generally accepted standard of care that another provider would have under the same circumstances. You must also show that this failure to do so directly led to your injuries. To do this often requires the testimony of expert witnesses and presenting a host of other evidence that can be difficult to obtain on your own, which is where a medical malpractice lawyer can help.
Medical malpractice attorneys have in-depth understanding about what it takes to bring successful urgent care malpractice lawsuits. People who feel they have been victims of urgent care negligence are wise to consult with an experienced malpractice lawyer as soon as possible after they discover their injury. In Pennsylvania, there is a two-year statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims. The clock on bringing a lawsuit starts from the time you discover that you have been injured.
What Kind of Damages Can You Get Due to Urgent Care Negligence?
Depending on the details of your injuries, damages you might ask for in an urgent care negligence lawsuit include:
- Medical expenses for doctor visits, hospital stays, rehabilitation, therapy and prescription drugs
- Lost wages if you have missed worked
- Future lost income if you can no longer work or you are limited in what you can do
- Pain and suffering for the physical and emotional distress you are experiencing
- In especially egregious negligence cases, punitive damages may also be awarded.
Medical malpractice cases are highly complex and not easy to prove. To increase your chances of bringing a successful lawsuit, it’s important to have the assistance of a skilled urgent care malpractice attorney.
Our Compassionate Philadelphia Attorneys Can Help You
Healthcare facilities are supposed to heal patients, not harm them. If you believe you were the victim of urgent care negligence, the skilled attorneys at Wapner Newman can help. We will carefully examine all the facts of your case to determine whether urgent care malpractice may have occurred. Call our Pennsylvania law office at (215) 569-0900 to schedule a free consultation. We are not afraid to take on the medical establishment to get you the compensation you deserve.