How to collect additional maximum money for injuries caused by hospital medical malpractice? When you believe you have been injured by a mistake made by hospital personnel, it is important to choose a medical malpractice lawyer who is aware of all the various causes of action you can bring against the hospital and potentially collect more than once for your injuries.
Most people know that when hospital personnel make a medical mistake that hurts you or a family member, you can sue the hospital in state court for medical malpractice. What most people do not know is that there is also a federal statute that allows the same injured party to sue the hospital for mistakes of its employees in federal court and collect additional money beyond state caps on pain and suffering. In my experience, some lawyers do not even know about this statute.
The federal statute is called the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA). EMTALA was originally created to stop hospitals from dumping patients who could not pay for services.
Under EMTALA the hospital has three main obligations. If they fail to follow the statute to the letter of the law, then they can be sued by the party injured by the failure to follow the statute.
The 3 obligations are:
1. To provide a medical screening examination (MSE) to any person who comes to the medical facility asking to be medically evaluated to determine if there is an emergency medical condition (EMC) including labor. The hospital must use their medical equipment and specialists to determine if there is an emergency medical condition (EMC).
2. If there is an emergency medical condition (EMC), the hospital must stabilize the condition no matter how long it takes, or if it is determined the hospital does not have the ability to stabilize the patient, to transfer the patient to a hospital that does.
3. If a hospital has specialized services, such as a burn unit or level 1 trauma, it cannot turn down transfers from other hospitals if it has capacity to take the patient, regardless of whether the person can pay.
So, if hospital personnel fail to properly evaluate an incoming patient or stabilize an emergency medical condition(EMC) as defined in EMTALA, you can sue both in state court under state medical malpractice law and in federal court under EMTALA and collect twice.
Some benefits of EMTALA over state malpractice lawsuits are that there are no caps on pain and suffering , allowing for additional recovery beyond what Ohio medical malpractice law allows, and under EMTALA you do not have to prove negligence, just that the exact wording of the statute was not followed.
In addition, hospitals do not like being sued under EMTALA. It usually opens the hospital to investigation by the federal government, which looks for any violation of EMTALA, with requisite fines. If the hospital is found to be in serious violation of EMTALA, they could lose the right to participate in Medicare, which can cripple a hospital or put them out of business. Make sure that any medical malpractice lawyer you contact is also aware of EMTALA and the benefits this federal statute gives to you and those you love when you are injured by hospital personnel.