Do I have a medical negligence or malpractice case?
Question Details: About a week ago, I had to bring my child into the emergency room for a mouth injury that needed stitches. The first hospital was unable to help us and sent us to Children's Hospital instead. They looked at it but there was no ENT doctor available at the time. Instead of waiting until one arrived, they sent us home and told us to follow up with an ENT in about 5 days. ENT was not able to get us in within that timeframe. My child now requires surgery to fix the issue that could've easily been fixed with stitches. Stitches do have a timeframe and even if we had been able to see the ENT on the exact date they recommended, it still would have been too late for stitches 24 hours max. We do have insurance Tricare and it will be covered but do I have a lawsuit?
Medical malpractice is negligence. Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable hospital would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).
Prior to filing a lawsuit against the second hospital, it may be possible to settle the case with the hospital's insurance carrier.
Your child's claim filed with the hospital's insurance carrier should include the medical bills including the surgery bill and the medical reports including the surgery.
Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement. The medical reports document the medical treatment and are used to determine compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.
If the case is settled with the hospital's insurance company, no lawsuit is filed.
If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the hospital's insurance company, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for your child against the hospital for negligence. You will need to be appointed guardian ad litem to file a lawsuit on behalf of your child, if your child is a minor.
If the case is not settled, the lawsuit against the hospital must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your child will lose his/her rights in the matter forever.