If you have recently suffered a false diagnosis and wonder if you have a solid case to fight for compensation, then this post will offer some insight. Medical malpractice lawsuits are highly regulated and are overseen by complex rules that vary depending on your state. A doctor can make a false diagnosis without being liable for medical malpractice.
It is advisable to consult an experienced hospital infection attorney to evaluate the unique circumstances of your case and offer a professional opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of your case. When fighting for compensation because of a misdiagnosis, the court will require you to prove the three elements that constitute medical malpractice.
You will need to demonstrate that a doctor-patient relationship existed, that the doctor was negligent and that the patient suffered actual harm due to the injury. An experienced medical malpractice attorney will walk you through these elements while adapting them to your specific conditions.
What Constitutes A False Diagnosis?
Before you can seek compensation, it is essential to understand the different kinds of false diagnoses that patients deal with. Most medical malpractice suits stem from diagnoses that are either wrong (identifying and treating a disease that is not afflicting the patient), missed (giving a patient a clean bill of health yet they suffer from an undiagnosed illness), or delayed (identifying correct disease after an inordinate delay).
You may also stand a chance to win a case where your doctor made the correct diagnosis but failed to recognize complications and risk factors that aggravate or change the disease. Doctors may also be exposed to lawsuits when they correctly diagnose one disease but fail to diagnose a related or unrelated accompanying illness.
Was There An Existing Doctor-Patient Relationship?
Proving an existing doctor-patient relationship will be the easiest part of your medical malpractice lawsuit. There is always abundant evidence to verify that the doctor you are suing has treated you and you are their patient, e.g., payment receipts, prescriptions issued, test results, and patient files. Your doctor is unlikely to contest that you are their patient.
Was the False Diagnosis a Result of Your Doctor’s Negligence?
This part of your claim will be the hardest to prove. The fact that you were falsely diagnosed is not proof that your doctor was negligent. The law recognizes that skilled doctors can make diagnostic errors even when exercising all due diligence. Your medical malpractice lawyer will explain that proving negligence involves examining your doctor’s differential diagnosis process for errors.
Differential diagnosis is the systematic method that doctors use to identify your particular disease. Your lawyer will be looking for evidence that your doctor did not include the correct diagnosis on the differential diagnosis list, yet other reasonably skillful doctors would have. Alternatively, your doctor may have formed the proper diagnosis on the list but ruled it out without performing the necessary tests or seeking expert opinions from other specialists.
Negligence will be proven as a basis for your medical malpractice lawsuit when you can prove that your doctor made an error that a doctor specializing in the same field would not have made. When your lawyer proves that other doctors would not have misdiagnosed your condition under similar circumstances, then negligence has been confirmed.
Did The False Diagnosis Cause You Significant Injury?
After proving your doctor-patient relationship and your doctor’s negligent false diagnosis, the next step is demonstrating to the court that the incorrect diagnosis caused you harm. Your lawyer will attach documentation and testimony to prove that your injury or condition progressed beyond its natural point had the correct diagnosis been made on time as expected of any reasonably careful and skilled doctor.
For example, where a doctor made a negligently delayed diagnosis of a patient’s cancer, then the lawyer will demonstrate that the delay caused the condition to progress and therefore caused the need for more aggressive and expensive treatment, e.g., chemotherapy or that is reduced the chances of recovery by increasing the odds of recurrence.
If your doctor misdiagnoses you, the claim will include the money wasted getting unnecessary treatments and the health risks of wrong procedures. This is similar to when doctors wrongly diagnose a patient with a disease they do not suffer from and consequently inflict emotional distress, anxiety, stress, and unnecessary medical expenses.
Medical malpractice cases are very complicated, but this should not intimidate you. If you think you stand a chance to gain compensation because of a false diagnosis, consult an experienced medical malpractice attorney for a professional case evaluation.