Can we sue for personal injury for an incorrect diagnosis? 38 Answers as of February 20, 2012

Last August, my wife received abnormal results at a doctors visit, and was never contacted about the results. She ended up having cancer and a major operation which has resulted in considerable loss of income. I looked at the results from Aug and the ones from the diagnosis and the similarities are startling. I think the level that her illness topped out at could have been less intense if she had been made aware last august. How should we approach this?

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David F. Stoddard
David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
Contact an attorney who represents clients on Malpractice cases. The attorney will evaluate the case. Normally, the attorney will take the medical records to a doctor or medical group to review the records and determine if the misdiagnosis was a result of negligence, and more importantly, if there would have been a different outcome had there been a correct diagnosis.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 8/4/2011
Cody and Gonillo, LLP
Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
You need an opinion from a medical professional; you should contact a malpractice attorney in your area for a consultation.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 8/3/2011
Law Office of Jared Altman
Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
Yes. You may have a claim. The threshold issue is how severely and permanently was your wife injured. Medical malpractice cases are very expensive and take a huge commitment of time and resources. Are any of her injuries permanent? Even though severe, if not permanent then a med mal case may be unwarranted. Remember that your Statute of Limitations to bring a lawsuit is only two years.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/3/2011
ROWE LAW FIRM
ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
In order to sue for personal injuries in a medical malpractice case, such as for an incorrect diagnosis, you must be able to prove that the medical providers in your case breached the standard of care for providers of the kind of service you received. This normally will require an expert opinion, and any attorney you consult regarding this matter will initially investigate with the help of a doctor or nurse consultant to determine whether or not the appropriate standard of care has been breached.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 8/3/2011
The Law Firm of Reed & Mansfield
The Law Firm of Reed & Mansfield | Jonathan C. Reed
Without more details such as how much was the loss of income and what cancer did she have and what stage was it diagnosed at versus what stage should it have been diagnosed at, it is hard to know if the enormous expense of a medical malpractice lawsuit would be worth the cost. Be aware that there is a one year statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits, although this deadline can be extended under circumstances.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 8/3/2011
    Wilson & Hajek, LLC
    Wilson & Hajek, LLC | Eddie W. Wilson
    You should contact a lawyer who handles medical malpractice cases. It is difficult to prove damages under the factual scenario you describe without actually looking at the medicals.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Rudolph F. X. Migliore, P. C.
    Rudolph F. X. Migliore, P. C. | Rudolph F. X. Migliore
    Depending on the effort taken in ascertaining the diagnosis, there may or may not be a claim for malpractice. An incorrect diagnosis does is not necessarily malpractice, as there are too many variables in the human body. However, if there was negligence, that could well lead to a claim. I strong urge you to contact an attorney who is experienced in malpractice litigation promptly due to the statute of limitations.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A.
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A. | Christopher J. Roberts
    You should talk to a medical malpractice lawyer right away. A failure to diagnose cancer is a common type of medical negligence that results in a lawsuit, because catching cancer early can make a difference (as you know) in survival rate and length of treatment. Lawyers like me can conduct an investigation of your case and attempt to determine through a retained expert, whether the doctor's failure to diagnose based upon the earlier diagnostic test fell below the standard of care. If so, you can bring an action and/or try to resolve the matter with the doctor or his employer, to compensate you and your wife for the damages flowing from the delay in diagnosis. Note that you only have two years to bring a medical negligence case (it can run from the date of negligence, or from the date of discovery depending on the circumstances, but don't count on having more than two years from the date of the negligent act until a lawyer tells you as much based upon your specific facts). Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/20/2012
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    See a lawyer who handles a lot of medical malpractice cases. First of all, you are required to obtain an opinion from a "similar health care provider" that the doctor against whom you want to bring the claim "deviated from the prevailing standard of care"......next, you need to have a doctor (and it can be the same doctor) who is willing to testify that an earlier intervention at the time the initial diagnosis was missed would result "more likely than not" (>50%) in a different outcome, and be able to quantify the difference. Like I said, call a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    Most cancers take years to develop, so I don't know about your damages. The diagnostic issue, tho, may be important. You must find a doctor who agrees that there was an improper diagnosis AND that the improper diagnosis actually caused damage. You may find the diagnosis was wrong but that it made no substantial difference in the disease development or treatment
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Wilson & Hajek,LLC, a personal injury law firm
    Wilson & Hajek,LLC, a personal injury law firm | Francis Hajek
    Medical malpractice law in Virginia is complicated and difficult. The cap of $2 million on damages contributes to the difficulty. In your situation, a lawyer will have to go over the medical records and make a determination if the case merits review by an expert. Typically, expert review by a physician in the specialty required can run into thousands of dollars. However, such a review is necessary as an expert report must be available for review if the case is filed in court. At this juncture, you should obtain all the medical records and make an appointment to see an experienced injury lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
    Contact and consult with a plaintiff's medical malpractice attorney to determine your rights and to see if you have adequate grounds to sue.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    A. Daniel Woska & Associates, P.C.
    A. Daniel Woska & Associates, P.C. | Dan Woska
    The Way the law is written in this country, you could certainly try to bring a claim against one of the doctors for failure to diagnose but it is likely not going to be a case that a medical malpractice lawyer would normally tackle. Your facts and circumstances are unknown so assuming no more than is written the damages for an "untimely" diagnosis is what you really complain about in this question. The cancer was diagnosed and she is alive. The cost to bring a malpractice action is very expensive. If you were asked to pay all the costs of the case and the costs were $150,000 for experts, reports and testimony of multiple doctor experts, do you think a jury would award you that much in damages? Always look at the economics not just the claim. On a final note be aware, jurors today in most of the country are anti-plaintiff, anti-anyone suing doctors and up with business. If you got a jury like the ones I see regularly, they would not be inclined to award any damages. If there were no damages awarded YOU could be liable for all the costs of the doctors you sued. The costs of the case on the defense side could be two times your costs or $300,000. "Direct threats require decisive action."
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    LT Pepper Law
    LT Pepper Law | Luke T. Pepper
    There is a potential case here. What the doctor said at the time of the procedure will determine where this goes. Again this case will turn on the medical records and what an expert says about whether the procedure could be used as a tool to diagnose the cancer. I am sorry that your wife is going through this and my thoughts are with her and your family.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Law Offices of Timothy G. Kearney, LLC
    Law Offices of Timothy G. Kearney, LLC | Timothy G. Kearney
    If you believe the physician was negligent in this matter you should consult with an attorney who handles medical malpractice cases.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C.
    The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C. | Josh Lamborn
    You should consult with a personal injury attorney that specializes in medical malpractice. They will likely want to hire an expert to look at the results and tell you whether the medical professionals on your case bear any liability for their failure to notify you about the results. Medical malpractice claims are complex and can be expensive. It is best to get the opinion of a qualified attorney prior to attempting to launch your own campaign against a well-funded and experienced potential defendant.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Law Office of Travis Prestwich, PC
    Law Office of Travis Prestwich, PC | Travis Prestwich
    I am sorry to hear about your wife's diagnosis. These cases can be quite challenging and difficult. Your damages or losses would consist of the difference had the correct diagnosis been made in a timely fashion. You would need to sit down with an attorney and analysis this in more detail specific to your case. Often these types of cases are not worth pursuing in Oregon due to the limited amount of damages and the high cost of pursuing a case of this nature.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Allen Murphy Law
    Allen Murphy Law | W. Riley Allen
    Do not mess around. Medical malpractice cases in Florida are very difficult. The delay in a cancer case also needs to be substantial enough to have made a difference. You need someone well qualified to assist you as this will be a difficult case and the damages may not be quite serious enough.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    You are definitely on the right track as far as how you are analyzing things. In the failure-to-diagnose cases, you as the plaintiff have the burden to prove that, but-for the failure to diagnose, your wife would not be so sick. In other words, the failure to diagnose resulted in additional "damages". These damages include additional medical bills, permanent injury/disability, extra lost wages, and decreased life expectancy. With cancer it can be tricky because the defendants always argue that such things were inevitable. Therefore, it will depend a great deal on what type of cancer it is, how treatable it is, and whether it should've been caught at one of the earlier stages (i.e. missing it at stage II is a stronger "damages" case than missing it at stage IV when little could be done anyway). I hope this has answered some of your questions.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    David Hoines Law
    David Hoines Law | David Hoines
    it is possible need many more details call me if you wish to discuss
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    . We recommend that you consult with a personal injury/medical malpractice attorney in your area as soon as possible concerning all your rights and options. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC | Russell D. Gray
    You need to find a medical malpractice attorney. There is a two-year statute of limitations in Utah for medical malpractice.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Sounds like there could be malpractice there.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    The doctor's failure to diagnose her condition earlier may be malpractice. You should contact an attorney right away to determine your rights.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Rose, Senders & Bovarnick, LLC
    Rose, Senders & Bovarnick, LLC | Paul S. Bovarnick
    You should contact an experienced lawyer immediately. Medical negligence cases are very challenging. However, the ew facts you have stated certainly suggest that your wife may have been the victim of medical negligence.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney | Patrick M Lamar
    This is a classic case where cancer is concerned. I would see a lawyer versed in this field immediately and take the results you have seen.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Medical / professional negligence cases are rather unique as opposed to other injury cases. You should see a med/mal attorney as soon as possible. 35-0217
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law | Diana K. Zilko
    Yes, you certainly can bring a medical malpractice case. If you would like to discuss this matter further, please give me a call.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Barry Rabovsky & Associates
    Barry Rabovsky & Associates | Barry Rabovsky
    We would be happy to provide you with a free consultation if you call my office at either of the numbers listed below. If my office accepts your case, there is no fee charged unless we are able to obtain a settlement for you. Thank you for your email, and we look forward to hearing from you.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A.
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A. | Joel Ewusiak
    You should consult with a Florida personal injury attorney. In order to determine if there was medical negligence, an attorney, along with a licensed physician, will need to review your wife's medical records. An affidavit from a licensed physician attesting to negligence is a prerequisite to bringing any legal claims.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/16/2012
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates | Lyle B. Masnikoff
    Call a medical malpractice attorney. It will depend on what permanent injuries and damages she sustained as a result of the misdiagnosis.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
    The failure to diagnose was corrected and your wife had surgery she would have needed anyway. So the first doctor may have been deficient, but his error did not cause more damage that a jury would care about.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    It sounds like you are talking about a delayed diagnosis case. As you said, had your wife be told of the adverse results when the test was done, she would have been able to catch the cancer at an earlier stage and undergone less treatment. The issue is whether she would have undergone less treatment and could she have avoided the surgery. You should consult with an attorney who handles medical malpractice, which I do. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/2/2011
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