Whether a doctor is liable for a misdiagnosis depends on the situation. For instance, suppose a doctor misreads an imaging scan, missing a life-threatening condition. Here, the doctor would be liable for the misdiagnosis.
However, suppose the imaging scan equipment malfunctioned, preventing the doctor from getting an accurate reading. In this situation, the doctor might not be liable for the error.
Who Can I Hold Liable If I Was Misdiagnosed?
Doctors must accurately diagnose conditions to render their field’s standard of care. This means ordering imaging scans, correctly interpreting data, and evaluating patients’ medical history. If a doctor fails to do this, they can be liable for a patient’s resulting damages.
However, doctors are not the only parties that can be liable for misdiagnoses. Other responsible parties can include:
- Lab technicians
- Medical equipment manufacturers
- Hospital administrators
If you or a loved one suffered health complications because of a misdiagnosis, you have legal options. First, you can file a claim or lawsuit to recover compensation.
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What Constitutes a Misdiagnosis?
Clinical Medicine (London) notes that misdiagnoses are more common than most people think. Misdiagnosis happens when:
- A medical professional does not recognize a condition’s symptoms, failing to diagnose it.
- A medical professional diagnoses a condition as something else. For instance, they may diagnose a patient with bronchitis when they actually have lung cancer.
Misdiagnoses Threaten Patients’ Health
Here are some of the ways misdiagnoses threaten patients’ health:
- It delays necessary medical attention. On the other hand, some conditions are time-sensitive and need immediate medical attention. For example, per Mayo Clinic, undiagnosed strep throat can cause kidney inflammation and permanent heart damage. If a doctor misses this condition, the patient can develop adverse health events without treatment.
- It causes the patient to undergo unnecessary procedures. For example, suppose a doctor diagnoses a patient with cancer, but they don’t have it. This would force the patient to undergo invasive procedures (like chemotherapy) while their actual condition gets worse.
- It causes mental anguish. While a patient undergoes unnecessary procedures or struggles with a serious condition, their mental health may worsen. This can cause physical ailments, such as fatigue, insomnia, and restlessness.
Do I Have Legal Options for Receiving a Wrong Diagnosis?
Per Florida Statutes § 458.320, a doctor must carry malpractice insurance or otherwise demonstrate they can pay for patients’ losses. In addition, many hospitals and care facilities also carry malpractice insurance as a general practice.
When you partner with a medical malpractice lawyer, they will likely start your case by filing an insurance claim. This begins by sending a demand letter that outlines the cost of your damages, the harm you suffered, and other facts of your situation.
Hopefully, the claims adjuster will agree to your terms or be open to negotiations. If not, there are other options.
You Can Pursue Compensation Through a Civil Lawsuit
You can hold a negligent doctor financially liable for a misdiagnosis through a civil lawsuit. This involves:
- Gathering evidence. You’ll need copies of your imaging scans, lab test results, and medical history to support your lawsuit. You may also get statements from third-party healthcare professionals who can testify to the degree of the error.
- Filing your lawsuit within the applicable deadline. Florida Statutes § 95.11 notes that you could have anywhere from two to seven years to file your case. Your filing deadline depends on when the error was discovered, your age, and the effects on your health.
- Successfully arguing your case. In civil court, you must demonstrate that you suffered various losses because your doctor misdiagnosed you. But, of course, this is easier said than done. While arguing your case, you will have to counter the defense’s arguments, present evidence, and cross-examine witnesses.
Filing a lawsuit can get complicated – especially if you’ve never navigated the civil process before. This is where hiring a medical malpractice attorney comes in handy. They can do everything your case requires.
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Why You Should Work with a Lawyer on Your Medical Malpractice Case
Doctors do not take accusations of medical malpractice lightly. Accused doctors risk losing the right to practice or may suffer harm to their reputation. Additionally, all medical malpractice cases in Florida are public record, meaning anyone can see them online.
You should consider partnering with a malpractice lawyer as they can:
- Gather evidence to support your claim
- Identify and calculate your losses
- Establish negligence
- Apply state law to your case
- Negotiate a settlement
- Consult with third-party healthcare professionals
- File your lawsuit
Many medical malpractice lawyers work on contingency. This means they do not charge anything upfront or out of pocket for their services. Instead, they take their attorney’s fees from the compensation they win for injured claimants.
Speak with a Medical Malpractice Attorney About Your Claim Today
If you or a loved one suffered harm due to a misdiagnosis, the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine is ready to pursue compensation for your losses. A settlement or court award could provide needed relief for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
To discuss your case at no cost or obligation, call 1-800-747-3733.
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