Medical misdiagnosis and medical errors are common occurrences for patients across the United States. At some point in our lives, we will all need to visit a doctor or spend time in a hospital. When that happens, we want peace of mind that we will be correctly diagnosed and receive proper treatment.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen, and doctors may misdiagnose you in ways that leave you worse off that before. This problem is pervasive, and the victims of medical misdiagnosis may have legal options to help them fully recover from financial loss and emotional pain caused by medical misdiagnosis. To explore your legal options, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a Medical Malpractice lawyer who can help you determine if you have a viable claim and can guide you through the legal process.
According to the United States National Institutes of Health, 12 million American patients received a diagnosis of a condition they did not have or did not receive any conclusive diagnosis while suffering from a severe medical condition.
Medical misdiagnosis is quite dangerous. According to one study, medical error, including medical misdiagnosis, is the third leading cause of death across the United States.
Medical misdiagnosis happens when medical personnel either diagnoses a patient with a disease they do not have or fails to diagnose a patient with an illness they do have. The consequences of medical misdiagnosis include additional negative medical outcomes, delayed recovery, over- or under-treatment, undue stress, additional pain, lost time seeing other healthcare providers, anxiety, and other complications.
Medical misdiagnosis is often a result of medical malpractice. If you received the wrong diagnosis from a medical provider, you might have a legal right to recover financial compensation.
Any condition can lead to a misdiagnosis, but some medical issues more commonly result in this problem than others.
Some examples of conditions that risk a misdiagnosis due to medical provider errors include:
Several factors can lead to medical misdiagnosis. The overarching cause is often medical negligence. If you suffered harm due to a misdiagnosis, you might have a legal right to compensation from the negligent medical provider.
Common causes of medical misdiagnosis include:
Healthcare workers are routinely stretched too thin. Working in a medical setting, especially in a hospital, almost requires employees to work more than forty hours per week. Working overtime can easily lead to burnout. If doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers get burned out, they will likely make mistakes, including misdiagnosis.
A doctor can misread a test, fail to order a scan, or simply fail to listen to a patient and adequately advise on their symptoms. Each of these actions can lead to a diagnostic error. The patient is left to feel the negative effects of failing to get the correct treatment.
Healthcare providers must give patients follow-up care. It is the healthcare provider’s responsibility to monitor the patient’s condition throughout their treatment and for as long as the patient is under the care of the provider. The provider must attempt to give proper follow-up care and ensure the current treatment plan is still applicable and effective. Failure to do so can cause a delay in treatment and reverse any progress previously made.
Healthcare professionals should have proper training and know how to correctly read test results, dispense medication, and complete the care required from each patient. The medical profession brings unique challenges daily. It can be difficult to thoroughly understand every possibility when a patient is hurt or sick. Still, medical professionals must understand and make the right judgment call when they are treating their patients. A care provider should consult their team members if they cannot identify an illness or know how to properly treat an injury.
Medical misdiagnosis can lead to delayed treatment. If a patient does not receive an accurate diagnosis, they may not receive timely care, and their condition can worsen. In addition to the risk of incorrect treatment, if a doctor fails to diagnose a patient’s condition, the patient may not have the same chance of surviving a severe illness. A patient may visit a doctor’s office because of stomach pain. The doctor dismisses the pain as a stomach virus, but the patient has colon cancer. Delayed treatment caused by misdiagnosis can end the patient’s life.
What you do after being misdiagnosed is crucial to your health and well-being and the vitality of your legal claim should you pursue one. Consider taking these steps after being misdiagnosed with a medical condition.
If you were misdiagnosed, you need to seek an alternative medical opinion, especially if you are still suffering from the issues that brought you to a doctor in the first place. You can express your concerns to your new doctor. After a misdiagnosis, a new doctor can get you started on an appropriate treatment plan and act as your witness if your case goes to trial. They can explain exactly how your previous medical team failed and the effect of their negligence on your health and medical condition.
If you have injuries caused by a misdiagnosis, then you need an attorney working on your behalf. You should consult and retain legal counsel before speaking to insurance companies or defense attorneys. Talking to an attorney at the start of your case helps you protect your legal rights after an injury. Accident victims represented by counsel tend to have better outcomes than unrepresented accident victims.
If you intend to pursue a medical malpractice claim, you should gather evidence of your harm as soon as possible. Collect your original medical records and any records you received from any other healthcare providers. Keep your medical bills and proof of other losses related to the accident. Compile a list of witnesses that can describe your life before and after the accident and how you have changed since suffering the misdiagnosis.
Medical misdiagnosis is medical malpractice. When patients suffer harm because they received the incorrect diagnosis, they may have the right to financial compensation. To make their case, a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case that stemmed from a misdiagnosis must meet the threshold of proof for bringing a medical malpractice claim. The threshold of evidence includes the following elements:
Doctors have a duty to their patients. Their task requires doctors to use reasonable care when treating patients. Reasonable care means each doctor must act the same way other healthcare professionals will under similar circumstances. Reasonable care also includes making the correct diagnosis. Failure to do so breaches the healthcare provider’s duty to the patient, and the patient may have a legal right to financial recovery for their losses.
Incorrect diagnosis is a breach of the healthcare provider’s duty of reasonable care. Patients must prove they were diagnosed with the incorrect condition or the doctor they saw failed to diagnose them with a condition they were suffering from. Proving this may require a second opinion by another physician.
To win a medical misdiagnosis lawsuit, the patient must prove the misdiagnosis caused an injury. Without a compensable injury, the patient does not have a valid claim. Potential losses created by a medical misdiagnosis can include the cost of getting follow-up treatment from another provider, lost time at work, mental and emotional pain, and wrongful death damages for surviving family members if the misdiagnosis caused the patient’s death.
Your attorney is your advocate during settlement negotiations and inside the courtroom. Medical malpractice cases are complex, and if you seek recovery alone, you may leave money on the table; you may need to fully recover financially after a misdiagnosis. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can assist you by:
Negotiating with insurance companies can be intimidating, especially if it is your first time in an injury lawsuit. Knowing where to start is one of the biggest challenges when working with an insurance company. Another hurdle to overcome is how to avoid the tactics that insurance companies commonly use to avoid paying injured people the money they deserve for their losses. You should consult an attorney before accepting a settlement offer, giving a statement, or taking steps to resolve your case.
Calls and letters from bill collectors after an accident can sometimes be as stressful as suffering the injury in the first place. An attorney and their team can field calls and correspondence on your behalf. Taking the stress of endless phone calls and contact from third-party agencies can help you focus on your recovery and heal after living with the effects of being misdiagnosed.
Your attorney and their team will work with you to complete an independent investigation of your case. Given the complexity of medical malpractice claims, you may benefit from using an expert medical witness’ opinion to prove causation and damages. Attorneys typically have a network of professionals they rely on to help them build their clients’ cases and increase their odds of winning a larger financial settlement.
A demand packet usually includes a letter outlining a client’s injuries and losses and their effect on the client’s life. The demand packet may consist of copies of medical records and bills, expert witness reports, and a “demand” for a final settlement.
Demand packets are important tools to help resolve a personal injury case. A well-drafted demand package may help you avoid a time-consuming trial. Experienced medical misdiagnosis attorneys use their skills to create convincing demand packages that help their clients get financial compensation for their losses.
If you initiate a lawsuit after being injured because of medical misdiagnosis, you may be in for a long fight. The pretrial stage of your case involves several procedures that must comply with deadlines and state procedural rules. If your case does not settle, it will need to proceed to trial. Civil trials have many moving parts, and if you make a wrong move or decision, it can affect the outcome of your case and your overall quality of life. An attorney can protect you from poor trial techniques that cause you to lose your case.
You will have a lot of questions as your case progresses. Having an attorney gives you a resource for gathering the information you can trust to be accurate. You won’t need to guess how much your case is worth. Your attorney will help you identify your losses and potential compensable damages and manage your expectations about how much your case is worth.
As you take the next steps in the aftermath of a medical misdiagnosis, you need a helping hand to guide you as you seek financial recovery for your losses.
An experienced medical misdiagnosis attorney can help you put your life back together. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury from a medical misdiagnosis, contact an attorney in your area.
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