Critical Consequences: ER Understaffing and Negligence in Texas

Unfortunately, ERs across Texas are often understaffed, resulting in long waiting times for critical patients and hurried procedures for diagnosis and treatment. Overworked and overstressed medical staff at ERs can easily commit medical negligence, leading to serious injuries and health complications for patients. Injured victims of ER errors in Texas are permitted to bring negligence claims against individual hospital and staff members depending on the circumstances involved. If you were injured or someone you care about died due to emergency room negligence or a medical provider’s negligence, the Law Offices of Glenn W. Cunningham are ready to fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.

What Constitutes Emergency Room Negligence in Texas?

Hospital emergency rooms and ER physicians in Texas are not liable for their misconduct unless they act with “willful and wanton negligence.” This phrase has been defined by courts to mean “gross negligence” with an additional intentional or malicious component. This is a very high and difficult standard of proof. Our ER negligence attorney will focus on establishing that the ER medical care providers acted with willful and wanton negligence, which falls outside the acceptable emergency room standard of care.

We will also collect evidence to establish the link that your injury or a loved one’s wrongful death occurred because of the willful and wanton negligence of the ER professionals. Here are a few examples of what may constitute ER “willful and wanton negligence” in the most egregious of circumstances:

  • Failure to order the right diagnostic tests
  • Failure to respond to patient’s symptoms in a proper manner
  • Medication errors, such as over and under dose
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Failure to treat or diagnose a heart attack
  • Intubation errors
  • IV mistakes, including improper insertion
  • Misdiagnosis, leading to early hospital discharge
  • Patient falls or dropping patient from the bed
  • Failure to treat arterial embolism, resulting in amputation
  • Improper communication between the medical team members

It’s crucial to understand that the court will examine several key factors around your case to determine whether ER malpractice occurred. This includes assessing whether the ER providers’ negligent acts or omissions constitute a course of conduct that involves more than momentary thoughtlessness, inadvertence, or an error in judgment; rather, they constitute such an entire want of care as to establish that the acts or omissions were the result of conscious indifference to the rights, safety, and welfare of the patient, and involved an extreme degree of risk of severe bodily harm or death, considering the probability and magnitude of the potential harm. In addition, the court will assess whether the ER providers had actual subjective awareness of the extreme degree of risk of harm but, nonetheless, proceeded to act with conscious indifference towards the rights, safety, and welfare of the patient. 

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Exceptions to ER Protections in Texas

Emergency room departments and personnel are generally protected by legal statutes within the Texas medical malpractice tort reform. It can be difficult to file a lawsuit against an ER doctor or the ER facility. Based on this, there are a few notable exceptions to these legal protections. For instance, ER protections don’t apply when an act of negligence or error occurs after the patient is stabilized enough to receive non-emergency treatment. Further, these protections don’t come into play when the emergency is a result of the actions of the treating medical provider. You may be able to sue the ER medical treatment provider if the negligence is unrelated to your initial medical emergency. 

The injured individual or surviving family members of a deceased victim can file a standard medical malpractice claim in such cases. You would still need to prove all elements of a medical malpractice claim, but the at-fault party will not be able to use ER negligence protection as a defense.

Potential Damages in Texas for Emergency Room Negligence

If you were harmed due to emergency room malpractice, you may be entitled to recover economic damages for medical bills and lost income, as well as non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment, physical disfigurement, and damages related to loss of familial relationships. There is no cap on economic damages or tangible expenses. However, Texas does limit the amount a victim can recover for non-economic damages resulting from medical malpractice. 

Under Texas Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code section 74.301, physicians and health care providers cannot be held liable for more than $250,000 in non-economic damages.  Also, a hospital, as a health care institution, is also only liable for a maximum of $250,000 of non-economic compensation. 

Determining Liability for Emergency Room Malpractice

Determining liability in a medical negligence claim is complicated and hard-fought by the defendant physician or hospital. Hospital doctors are usually independent contractors. The physician at a university or a public hospital may be a government employee. Mid-level providers, such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners, may be part of a hospitalist group or a physician organization. 

You may be eligible to bring a negligence claim against multiple providers. In case the health care provider is not an employee of the hospital, you may be able to sue the individual and the hospital separately. You should consult with a qualified emergency room malpractice attorney to understand all your legal options. 

Choose a Dedicated Emergency Room Malpractice Lawyer in Texas to Protect Your Rights

Glenn W. Cunningham is a San Antonio medical malpractice attorney who is a very hard-working and knowledgeable ER malpractice attorney who understands the law and how it applies to your situation. Our legal team extends to include expert witnesses, medical professionals, economists, investigators, and other specialists for building a powerful claim. 

We understand the traumatic experience you have been through and will ensure that you receive the personal attention, compassion, and the highest level of legal support you deserve. Call our office number or complete this online form to request your free, no-obligation consultation. 

Client Testimonials

I can’t say enough good things about Glenn Cunningham and his firm.

He took my case and fought for me from day one. Glenn and his staff were professional and caring. They kept me updated on all aspects of my case. We were able to go to mediation and reach a settlement that was more than fair. I would recommend Glenn to any of my friends and family. I am beyond pleased with how my case was handled and ultimately settled.


Glenn Cunningham is tough, smart, experienced.

A very deep heartfelt thank you to the whole team at the Law Offices of Glenn W. Cunningham. Glenn is tough, smart, experienced, and he will do everything in his power to make sure that you or your loved one get the best outcome possible from whatever personal tragedy you may be facing. He fought for me when no one else would. He will do the same for you.


I am grateful to Glenn Cunningham for the hard work he did

I am very pleased with the legal services provided by Glenn Cunningham. He is very competent, knowledgeable, caring, personable, and professional. If you are seeking justice for medical malpractice or wrongful death, Glenn will fight for you. He is tenacious and assertive on behalf of his clients. He also keeps you informed of the status of your case on a regular basis.


Glenn Cunningham knows his job well.

Glenn was amazing! Very knowledgeable, and Nicole, his secretary, is very helpful and knowledgeable as well. We never had a problem reaching someone at the office, and our questions were always answered promptly.


This is by far the best attorney for your malpractice case.

I wanted to thank Mr. Cunningham and his staff for there amazing work and dedication to my case and fighting for me when I couldn't. They truly were amazing and always kept my family and I updated on everything that was happening.

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