Can I sue the ER doctor for failing to diagnose a fracture? 1 Answers as of September 21, 2016

After a car accident, my father was taken to the ER. First of all, the ER called us to tell us to pick up our father within an hour or he will be left alone in the lobby. The ER said he was completely fine. When I went to pick him up, he did not look fine. He eventually fell and fainted when I was taking him out the hospital. I thought he was dead and I was crying for help. They came and took him back to the ER but they said they don't know why he fell. Weeks later, the primary care doctor found out that he has a fracture in his back that ER should have recognized. The doctor also said that he fell and fainted because the ER should not have released him that early due to the morphine they gave him. The ER was very negligent and caused me to miss work to pick up my dad and also put me through stress with the fainting. They also failed to diagnose the fracture. He just kept taking ibuprofen all this time and his pain was not healing because it was a fracture.

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Of course you can sue. However (thanks to the doctor lobby) Med (and Dental) Mal cases are quite difficult. First, one must obtain a certification from an independent doctor that there was negligence. This is where the claim usually stops, as most lawyers will expect the client to cover the costs of this review/report (up to $5,000). Next, most malpractice insurance policies have a provision for approval of any settlement by the insured doctor. That doctor, human nature being what it is, will often refuse to approve any settlement, as he doesn't think he did anything wrong. Finally, there is a cap on how much can be awarded for pain and suffering, thus making these cases unattractive to lawyers. There are lawyers who specialize in Med Mal; your local bar association may be able to refer you to one.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/21/2016
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