Whenever we seek medical treatment, we trust that the professionals are qualified to help us through our ordeals. Yet, anything under human control is subject to fallibility. All you, the patient, can do is trust in the experience and accolades of the doctors and staff.
A misdiagnosis can lead to a series of painful, unnecessary medical procedures. Many such diagnoses are “idiopathic”- of no known origin whatsoever. Other times, it’s because the symptoms of one illness may get confused for another. Whatever the case may be, you have the right to take legal action. Listed below are the legal measures you have at your disposal.
Statutes of Limitations
A medical misdiagnoses case must be put into action almost immediately after the incident has occurred. In some states, the statutes of limitations don’t begin to take effect until the injury is discovered. Any medical malpractice lawyer is given three years to file their case. Getting this done as soon as possible will ensure you act within the statute of limitations that are mandated by your state.
In every case associated with medical malpractice or misdiagnosis, there needs to be proof of a doctor-patient relationship. Having a feeling that your doctor is either not listening to you or shows ignorance of your pain can instill a sense of anxiety. This anxiety is a possible sign that the doctor is not holding up to their standard of care.
When diagnosing a patient, doctors will make a list of possible conditions. Each condition is narrowed down based on questions asked to the patient about how they feel. Since this process requires substantial evidence, then substantial research will need to be conducted in order to prove your case.
Many cases of misdiagnosis require a straightforward, undeniable cause to the current ailment. It’s similar to a car ramming into someone’s bumper. An indirect cause would be for the driver to smash into the car in front because they were rammed from behind by another vehicle.
Two kinds of tests are employed to determine whether or not there was “actual cause” in a misdiagnosis case. The “But For” test rules that an injury would not have occurred but for the defendant’s negligent action or omission. Another is the “substantial factor” test which acknowledges the defendant’s error, but strives to prove it as a valid cause. Proximate cause can only be valid when the causative effects are in operation until the point of injury.
When a misdiagnosis is found to be true, then you’ll need to begin calculating damages for the settlement. Damages to be factored into the settlement will need to factor in medical bills, insurance coverage, and general damages that include emotional trauma. Future medical expenses, should the injuries prove to be a continuing problem, may also be taken into consideration.
A reputable medical malpractice lawyer might suggest you decline a settlement offer should it prove insufficient. The final amount should cover legal fees in addition to your own damages.