The suspicion of a medical condition can be worrying and stressful enough for a person on its own. To compound your worries, when you seek medical help, negligent doctors may misdiagnose or diagnose a condition too late. This is a medical malpractice matter and can be life-threatening.
Approximately 40% of medical malpractice cases involve the failure to diagnose, misdiagnosis, or delayed diagnosis of a medical condition. This becomes apparent later, and perhaps when it is too late and irreversible damage or symptoms have already taken place. We are here to protect your rights and allow you to recover some of the damages that you have unfortunately already faced.
The personal injury lawyers at Agruss Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to seek justice and compensation for personal injuries, and you won’t owe us a penny for our services unless we win your case. If you or a loved one has been hurt from a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, contact our office today for a free consultation.
Common Reasons for Medical Misdiagnoses or Delayed Diagnoses
Your health is the most important thing that you can have, as good health is the basis of the rest of your decisions and actions in life. When a medical professional makes an error as large as misdiagnosing a condition, the consequences could be dire. Unfortunately, many times they are serious conditions. Doctors misdiagnose and delay diagnoses for cancer, cardiac problems, diabetes, pregnancy complications, internal injuries, broken bones, appendicitis, and countless more conditions. For things like appendicitis, an immediate diagnosis is imperative since a delay could allow the appendix to burst, infect the body, and kill the patient. For cancer, when caught too late or misdiagnosed, cancer can spread to areas that, when discovered, are already too damaged by the cancer cells that the survival rate plummets. These mistakes can cost lives.
There are steps in the process of diagnosing that must be meticulously examined in order to accurately and confidently report the results to the patient. These are where some doctors are negligent and make the wrong judgment when it would be otherwise clear to a reasonable doctor in the same situation. Some common reasons for misdiagnoses or delayed diagnoses include the following:
- Doctors misjudging a lab or test – They may fail to follow up on testing, misread the results, contaminate samples, switch samples, or report the wrong results to the wrong patient.
- Doctors losing a lab or test – As unlikely as it sounds, this actually occurs and can move a negligent doctor to unjustly report fake results to the patient to get it out of the way.
- Delays in lab or test results – A delay in results could be a crucial time period for the patient and could be avoided if they were timely and productive when a patient reports their worries to them.
- Doctors rushing a patient – Doctors may not give the patient the time for a detailed discussion on their symptoms, lifestyle, and more to give them an informed diagnosis.
- Doctors failing to order the appropriate labs or tests – Doctors may want to save patients the cost or may think the labs that they chose are superior, but they fail to realize it could cost a patient their life.
- Doctors failing to correctly identify symptoms – A doctor may be working too quickly or believe that they are familiar with certain diseases and assume similar symptoms can be diagnosed as such, but it could be a much larger issue.
- Overlooked medical history – An inadequate discussion with the patient may result in the doctor skimming over essential parts of their medical history that could help pinpoint an accurate diagnosis.
How Do I Prove Liability?
In these medical malpractice cases, you must be able to certain things specific to each case. In a very general sense, you must be able to prove with evidence that the doctor was negligent in diagnosing you at some point and they breached their very high standard of care. Doctors have a very high standard of care compared to the average person; this standard is even higher when it comes to a specialist.
For this malpractice, you should be able to prove that the doctor’s failure to accurately diagnose the condition represented a failure to meet the legal standard of care owed to you, as well as whether this misdiagnosis actually harmed you. You should be able to prove that your condition worsened and/or you experienced great pain due to this mistake; you had to undergo riskier or costlier treatment; you were treated for something that was not required; or, you can file a claim for a loved one that tragically passed due to the misdiagnosis. You should also be able to prove that the correct diagnosis was never listed in the differential diagnosis list or prove that they did not perform the correct tests, labs, procedures, or interactions with you which resulted in this incorrect diagnosis.
Each case is different, and we will do everything in our power to build a strong case and allow you to overcome this shocking event, however possible. While the doctors will use their own defense by using experts to prove that your outcome would have been the same no matter what, we will be there to fight for you and the events you have been through. We will get your medical records, consult experts for their opinions, investigate the entire process of your treatment, and make sure that your rights as a patient are protected so that you can get some peace of mind and the fair compensation that you deserve.
Damages That Can Be Recovered
This event can have a life-altering effect on you and your loved ones, and you deserve to be compensated for the hefty medical costs that came with this mistake. The amount that you are awarded after a successful case is intended to alleviate some of the sudden financial burdens that you have had to bear. You must file a medical malpractice lawsuit within two years of when you know or should have known of the misdiagnosis. This is assessed very specifically on a case-by-case basis and should prompt you to consult an attorney at the suspicion of this type of mistake. The damages that you can recover is measured by comparing the condition at the point that your condition was accurately diagnosed with the condition that you would have been in had the doctor initially, properly diagnosed you.
Some common damages that can be recovered after a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis claim include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Future earning capacity
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral and burial costs (in a wrongful death claim)
- Wrongful death (in a wrongful death claim)
If you or a loved one has been hurt from a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, contact our office today for a free consultation.