If the emergency room did not give me an X-ray but gave me a CAT scan instead and did not see my broken jaw, can I sue them?

Asked on July 17, 2015 under Malpractice Law, Delaware

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

First, this would only be malpractice if a reasonable medical care provider, based on your reported and observable symptoms, would have X-rayed instead and would have detected the broken jaw. If based on what they knew at the time, the emergency room acted reasonably, there would be no malpractice.

Second, even if there is malpractice, you can only sue for the *additional* medical costs caused by their failure to diagnose you right away, and for pain and suffering IF the failure to diagnose properly (not the injury itself; specifically the failure to spot the broken jaw) caused you significant life impairment or disability lasting weeks, months, or longer. That is because you can only recover compensation for the effects of the failure to see the broken jaw. 

Meanwhile, a malpractice suit is a very expensive lawsuit to bring, because you need a medical expert to examine you, create a report, and testify, and medial experts do not work cheap. Depending on the effect of the failure to disagnose, you could spend more on the lawsuit than you'd get back.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.