Can I Sue My Doctor for Misdiagnosis?
Nobody should expect to have a medical condition worsen because of a misdiagnosis, or to receive unnecessary and invasive treatment as a result of a misdiagnosis.
However, diagnostic injuries happen more often than they should, and these mistakes frequently are the basis for medical malpractice lawsuits.
If you were recently misdiagnosed, you should be asking yourself: can I sue my doctor for misdiagnosis?
Whether you can sue a doctor for misdiagnosis depends on many different factors, including whether other medical experts believe your doctor was negligent, and whether you suffered substantial injuries as a result of the misdiagnosis.
To learn more about whether you can sue for misdiagnosis, you should get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible. One of the medical malpractice attorneys at PhillyLaw to can answer any questions you have.
What is Misdiagnosis?
One of the first steps in understanding whether you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit for misdiagnosis is learning exactly how misdiagnosis is defined.
A report in The Washington Post explains that a misdiagnosis can take many forms, but it is a type of diagnostic injury.
Diagnostic injuries are one type of medical malpractice for which a patient may be able to file a claim seeking compensation.
In the most general terms, a misdiagnosis refers to a healthcare provider diagnosing the incorrect condition. Yet misdiagnoses often are more complicated than this. To be sure, a misdiagnosis can involve any of the following:
- Misdiagnosis, meaning an incorrect diagnosis resulting in a delayed diagnosis of the correct condition or disease (such as delayed diagnosis of cancer and thus delayed treatment);
- Misdiagnosis leading to a delayed diagnosis of a harmful condition that requires immediate or timely treatment; and
- Misdiagnosis resulting in unnecessary treatment for a condition that the patient does not actually have (such as treatment for cancer when the patient does not actually have cancer); and
- Misdiagnosis that leads to unnecessary treatment for the wrong condition that causes injury to the patient, and the delayed diagnosis and treatment of the patient’s actual condition.
According to the report, misdiagnoses are among the most common types of medical errors, and as such among the most common reasons that patients file medical negligence claims. To be sure, misdiagnoses account for anywhere from 10 percent to 20 percent of all medical mistake cases.
Elements of a Misdiagnosis Medical Malpractice Claim in Pennsylvania
Before a patient can sue for misdiagnosis, Pennsylvania law first requires the patient to obtain a “certificate of merit” from another medical expert who says that there is merit to the patient’s medical malpractice lawsuit.
Next, in order for a patient to obtain compensation for a misdiagnosis, the patient will need to be able to prove the elements of medical malpractice, which include the following:
- Doctor owed a duty of care to the patient, which is typically easy to prove simply by showing that the patient entered into a doctor-patient relationship with the healthcare provider;
- Doctor breached his or her duty of care by misdiagnosing the patient because another doctor in a similar geographic area and medical specialty would not have made the diagnostic error (expert testimony from a medical expert is necessary to prove this element);
- Patient suffered physical and/or emotional harm as a result of the misdiagnosis and thus may be eligible to recover damages; and
- Doctor’s misdiagnosis caused the patient to suffer physical and/or emotional harm.
Statute of Limitations for a Pennsylvania Misdiagnosis Claim
To be eligible to sue your doctor for a misdiagnosis, you also have to be sure to file your claim within the time limit set forth by Pennsylvania law. This is time period is known as the statute of limitations.
Under Pennsylvania law, most patients who have been injured as a result of medical malpractice have two years from the date of the injury to file a claim for compensation.
Accordingly, if you were misdiagnosed, you most likely have two years from the date of the misdiagnosis in order to sue your doctor for medical negligence although there are limited exceptions to this rule.
Contact a Pennsylvania Misdiagnosis Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Were you injured because of a misdiagnosis? Misdiagnoses and other diagnostic errors are responsible for many patient injuries every year because they often result in a delayed diagnosis of the patient’s actual condition.
As a result, the patient’s condition can worsen significantly, and sometimes a misdiagnosis even leads to a patient’s death.
An aggressive Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney can help you with your misdiagnosis claim. Contact PhillyLaw at 215-515-2050 or fill out a form so we can look at the details of your case for free.