Patients who have been misdiagnosed by their doctors have the right to sue. Medical misdiagnosis falls under personal injury. According to CBS News, around twelve million Americans are misdiagnosed each year. Sometimes, a misdiagnosis can place a person’s life in danger. When someone is misdiagnosed by their doctor, they need to be aware of how to seek legal help.
What Is a Misdiagnosis?
Some misdiagnoses can be life-threatening and may require help from personal injury attorneys. Misdiagnosis happens when a doctor reads a patient’s test results wrong or makes a wrong guess based on examination and symptoms. Misdiagnosis can occur with both illnesses and injuries. The following can result from a misdiagnosis.
- May make the medical condition worse because of a lack of treatment
- Will likely delay getting a proper diagnosis
- Could result in greater harm or even death
A medical misdiagnosis can happen in all areas of medical care and to people of all ages. A medical misdiagnosis violates the medical standard of care doctors are sworn to uphold. To have the right to sue the doctor, the patient’s misdiagnosis must have caused them injury or death.
What to Do When Someone Thinks They Have Been Misdiagnosed
Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnoses are more common than many people realize. It is important to pay attention to the signs a person is getting worse. Individuals should trust their gut instincts and seek a second opinion if they believe they have been misdiagnosed. Waiting is not an option because it could put a person’s health in further danger and lead to the statute of limitations running out.
How to Sue a Doctor for Misdiagnosis
The first step injured individuals will need to take is to schedule a consultation appointment with an attorney. Often, attorneys will offer free consultations to allow injured victims to discuss their cases and learn about their options.
Once the attorney has been hired, they will take over the steps involved in suing the doctor for misdiagnosis. The attorney will work to gather evidence and file the case in court.
What Must Victims Prove?
There are four important elements to any personal injury claim, including a misdiagnosis. Without these four elements, it would be difficult for a person to successfully sue their doctor.
- Did the doctor have a duty of care? If a doctor/patient relationship existed, the doctor owed their patient a duty of care.
- Was the duty of care breached? The victim will need to prove the doctor acted outside of the norms of reasonable care and acted differently than other doctors would.
- Did the breach cause harm? Individuals must be able to prove they were harmed by the misdiagnosis.
- Did the misdiagnosis lead to damages? A person must have suffered damages as a result of the misdiagnosis.
Those who have been injured and suffered damages as a result of a misdiagnosis from their doctors need to be aware of their rights to sue. If a person believes they have suffered a misdiagnosis, it would be wise to seek a second or even third medical opinion.
It is also important to meet with an attorney for a consultation. An attorney can help individuals to understand the strength of their case and if they meet all the criteria for suing their doctor.
While medical misdiagnosis can be devastating, there is help available. Assistance from an attorney can protect a person’s rights and give them the fair outcome they deserve.