Orthopedic Specialist vs. ER

Posted on 06-20-2024 in Personal Injury by Dr. Erik Nilssen

Personal injury is a legal term for any injury to the body or mind of an individual, as opposed to damage to property. Personal injury claims result from accidents that are the result of negligence or reckless conduct and are one of the most common legal complaints filed today. If you have been injured in an accident–at work, on the road, or otherwise–you should immediately seek medical treatment, even if you believe you are not injured. Some injuries can take days or weeks to manifest and can cause lifelong pain and suffering if left untreated.

There are a number of injuries that can result from an accident, including sprains, strains, fractures, dislocations, and soft tissue damage. If you are injured as the result of someone else’s negligence, you may need to file a personal injury claim to ensure you can recuperate your damages. There are costs associated with treating your injury, making up for lost income, and accounting for changes to the quality of your life following the accident.

It is very important to seek proper medical care following an injury because the type of treatment you seek can have lasting effects on both your health and financial well-being. Seeking medical attention will help if you are forced to make a personal injury claim. However, there is a big difference between going to an orthopedic specialist and an emergency room following an accident. It goes without saying that if your injuries are grave — internal bleeding, unconsciousness, chest pain, headache, inability to move limbs–you need to go to the emergency room. However, if you are ambulatory following the accident, there are some very real advantages to seeing an orthopedic specialist instead of an emergency room physician.

Specialized Treatment

Orthopedic specialists are highly trained physicians with advanced training in orthopedic injuries to the musculoskeletal system–bones, foot, ankle, hand, wrist, knees, etc. Orthopedic specialists will also have specialized procedures and treatments at their disposal that other physicians do not, which will allow them to treat you in the best manner possible. Unfortunately, orthopedic surgeons are not always available in the ER, so if your injury is orthopedic in nature, you may be treated by an Emergency Room Physician instead of a doctor who specializes in your type of injury. Therefore, the only way to ensure you see one is to seek one out directly.

Focused Care

Because of the advanced training and specialized treatment, you will get more focused care from an orthopedic specialist than you will from an emergency room where they treat many patients in a fast-paced environment. Unfortunately, this environment often leads to things being missed. On the other hand, if you see an orthopedic specialist in their office, you will get the full attention of them and their staff, lowering the possibility of something being missed.

Wait Times

Emergency room physicians, by their very nature, tend to prioritize more serious patients for treatment in the ER. This can, unfortunately, lead to very long wait times in the emergency room if you are not the most critical patient in the waiting room. On the other hand, orthopedic specialists in private practice offer much lower wait times in their office, which means you can be seen and treated more quickly than in an ER. Generally speaking, we can get patients in and out of our office in under one hour at North Florida Bone & Joint Specialists!


The price of going to the emergency room is much higher than seeing an orthopedic specialist in their office. While the extent of the difference can vary based on your individual insurance plan, going to the emergency room can cost you anywhere from three to ten times as much! In addition to the baseline cost of care, emergency rooms often have to practice preventative medicine, which requires them to administer tests that you don’t need but that you will undoubtedly have to pay for at the end of your visit. An orthopedic specialist, on the other hand, will make sure you are only receiving–and paying for!–tests and treatment that you actually need.

They May Be Able To Help With Personal Injury Claim

Orthopedic specialists have the training and expertise required to give you a detailed and high-quality medical report that will ensure you have the ability to support your personal injury claim. They will know much better than an emergency room physician what needs to be pointed out in your medical records to support your personal injury claim. Because orthopedic doctors are not always available in the emergency room, the only way to ensure you receive this level of expertise is to seek one out directly!

Choosing which medical provider you see following an accident is one of the most important decisions you will make on your road to recovery. While many providers will position themselves as the first choice, at North Florida Bone & Joint Specialists, we believe that orthopedic specialists are, by far, the best choice. We go above and beyond for patients who have been involved in accidents—motor vehicle or otherwise—to ensure all of their orthopedic needs are met in a timely manner.

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