Can You Sue Your Doctor for a Misdiagnosis?

What is a Misdiagnosis?

Misdiagnosis is when a doctor prescribes treatment for one thing, but it is another. A misdiagnosis can happen with any ailment, from cancer to heart disease. The problem, in many cases, comes from a lack of knowledge on detecting the disease and incorrect lab tests, which often leads to hazardous treatments. It is common for patients to be prescribed ineffective or harmful therapies when they misdiagnose cancer.

Requirements to Sue a Doctor for a Misdiagnosis

1. Medical Records

You must document all information regarding the misdiagnosis in your medical records. You can’t sue a doctor for a misdiagnosis if there is no evidence that you were misdiagnosed.

2. Medical Proof

If you believe you were diagnosed with a condition or ailment other than what happened, then you must have proof of the misdiagnosis. This proof can come from lab tests, medical records, doctors’ notes, and witness statements.

3. Statute of Limitations

Most states have a statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases, meaning you must file your lawsuit within two years after the misdiagnosis was discovered or one year after the misdiagnosis caused the injury. It will vary depending on state laws.

4. Hiring an Attorney

A lawyer specializing in medical malpractice cases can be very beneficial when filing a lawsuit over a misdiagnosis. Your lawyer will ensure you have all the proper documentation, medical proof, and witness statements to support your case.

5. Medical Negligence

If you’re filing a lawsuit over a misdiagnosis, you must prove that the doctor committed medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is when a doctor fails to meet reasonable medical standards of care and harms a patient.

6. Expenses

You must have suffered losses or expenses as a result of the misdiagnosis. These losses could be medical bills, lost wages, or funeral costs if someone has died from a misdiagnosed condition.

7. Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are meant to punish the doctor and make them pay back the expenses and suffering you have gone through. These damages can include money and assets such as a house or car. If a doctor is guilty of medical malpractice and has considerable wealth, an award of punitive damages can be as high as $1 million, even if they harm only one patient.

Signs of Misdiagnosis

1. Multiple Tests

Multiple tests should be conducted to determine if you have a specific illness or condition. Doctors usually test for one thing, but when it is later discovered that you have a different disease, the tests are useless. If a doctor orders more than one test and finds that none of them is applicable, then this could be a sign of medical malpractice because they are trying to cover up their mistake.

2. Lab Tests

Lab tests are a common way to diagnose illnesses and conditions. These tests can determine if you have specific infections or viruses, but they are not always correct, mainly when conducted in a hospital or clinic setting. A misdiagnosis could occur if the results of lab tests come back positive for a specific illness but later testing shows that you didn’t have the condition.

3. Surgery

If you undergo surgery because of a misdiagnosis, the hospital is on the line for the damages you suffered because of their negligence. You could be awarded lost wages and medical expenses, but you will also have to prove that the surgeon was negligent. If you have a good lawyer, they should be able to confirm this negligence by presenting expert testimony on the misdiagnosis and what causes it.

4. Medication and Side Effects

Many patients have been prescribed medications that are not effective or even harmful. If you believe you were misdiagnosed and unfairly treated, you should file a lawsuit against the doctor. Just because your symptoms are the same doesn’t mean the diagnosis is correct.

5. Witness Statements

Witness statements are helpful in a medical malpractice case. Most patients and doctors don’t know what the medical records say, so they rely on the information that their patient or doctor has told them. Having witness statements throughout your diagnosis will provide an accurate timeline of what happened and if there were any mistakes.

A misdiagnosis can be life-threatening. If misdiagnosed with a terminal illness, you could lose all hope and suffer mental anguish while seeking other possible treatments. When a doctor prescribes medicine for one thing, but it is another, it is called a misdiagnosis. You can’t sue a doctor for a misdiagnosis if there is no evidence that you were misdiagnosed. Contact lawyers like Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky, handle any misdiagnosis case.