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Is a Misdiagnosis Considered Medical Malpractice?

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Receiving a Serious Medical Diagnosis Can Be Scary and Overwhelming.

Learning that you received the wrong diagnosis is a life-changing event, especially if that misdiagnosis allowed a serious medical condition to become worse. Unfortunately, it’s all too common – an estimated 12 million people in the U.S. experience diagnostic errors each year, according to a study from BMJ Quality & Safety.

If you or a loved one received a wrong diagnosis, you could be owed compensation under medical malpractice law. However, not all misdiagnoses will fall under this category. Doctors are human, and sometimes when a doctor fails to make a correct diagnosis it is a reasonable mistake. To prove a medical malpractice case, you will need to prove that your doctor acted negligently when diagnosing your condition.

A medical malpractice lawyer can help you understand your case. At Regan Zambri Long, our medical malpractice lawyers have decades of experience helping victims recover compensation for improper medical care. Contact us today for a free consultation.

What Makes a Medical Misdiagnosis Negligent?

To recover compensation in medical misdiagnosis cases, your doctor must have exhibited negligence in giving you care. In personal injury cases, the law asks whether your doctor provided you the level of care that would be expected from other similar doctors in their field.

To try and prove this on your own would be incredibly difficult. A qualified medical malpractice attorney will have relationships with experts they can call on to corroborate your case. An expert medical witness can testify to whether or not another competent doctor in a similar situation would have been able to provide a correct diagnosis for your medical condition.

What Proof Do I Need for a Misdiagnosis Claim?

A doctor is human and can make diagnostic errors. Not all mistakes are negligent. However, a wrong diagnosis or delayed diagnosis claim should be filed when the doctor or other medical professional acted negligently or had malicious intentions while making a misdiagnosis or late diagnosis.

Several requirements must be met to prove negligence or fault in misdiagnosis cases, including:

Types of Medical Misdiagnosis

While there is no good kind of misdiagnosis, there are different ways in which a doctor can give the patient incorrect information about their current health. If any of these were the result of negligence, or the doctor failing to offer the appropriate standard of care, you could be eligible to seek medical malpractice compensation.

Different categories of misdiagnosis can include:

Commonly Misdiagnosed Medical Conditions

Not all conditions are as easy to diagnose – especially when certain symptoms could point to a variety of different illnesses. Your doctor is expected to maintain a level of care that includes thorough testing and examination to fully understand your symptoms and what they could possibly mean.

There are a variety of illnesses or conditions that are more commonly misdiagnosed than others. Here are the top ten, according to Everyday Health:

What Causes a Missed Diagnosis or a Delayed Diagnosis?

Several factors can lead to a failure to diagnose, including but not limited to:

What Damages Are Available in Medical Malpractice Claims?

When a doctor causes you or a loved one harm due to incorrect treatment, delayed treatment, or lack of treatment, you can pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit and seek financial compensation for your injuries and other damages.

A person can receive compensation in medical malpractice cases for any of the following:

Frequently Asked Questions About a Medical Malpractice Claim

Q. Who Can Commit Malpractice?

doctor holding head in his hands sitting on the floorMedical malpractice is not limited to doctors and nurses. Any type of medical professional can commit medical malpractice. Other providers may be sued in medical negligence cases include:

Q. What is the difference between medical error and medical malpractice?

Not all medical errors are medical malpractice. Medical malpractice happens when doctors or other people do not act in accordance with the recognized standard of care. If they did not act with this kind of care, then the error is malpractice and they could be liable for any harm caused by medical mistakes.

Q. How do I know if I have a medical malpractice case?

In order to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must first show that you had a doctor-patient relationship with the doctor you are suing. In most medical malpractice cases, this can be proved by showing that you hired the doctor and he began treating you.

Next, you must show that your doctor was negligent. In order to prove neglience, you must show that the doctor did not act in accordance with the relevant standard of care. In other words, if the mistake was mere human error, it may not be considered medical malpractice.

There are many ways in which a doctor could be negligent, including:

Lastly, in order to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must show that the negligent action caused the patient’s illness, personal injury, or death. In most medical malpractice cases, a patient must show that it’s “more likely than not” that the doctor’s missed diagnosis, delayed diagnosis, diagnostic errors, or other action directly caused the injury.

Your misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis may be a part of a medical malpractice claim. You may be entitled to receive significant compensation for the damages that have occurred. A top DC medical malpractice lawyer at Regan Zambri Long PLLC can help you claim compensation for damages that you are entitled to by law.

Q. How do you prove misdiagnosis in a medical malpractice claim?

When a doctor diagnoses you incorrectly, the following must be proven:

Generally, a medical expert testifies as to whether your doctor was negligent and whether that negligence caused your injury. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you prove you were not accurately diagnosed as part of your misdiagnosis case. At Regan Zambri Long, we have a registered nurse on staff who can help determine when a diagnosis should have been made.

Q. What happens if you get a wrong diagnosis?

Delayed diagnoses and wrong diagnoses can result in significant problems. Some of the problems that may occur as a result of a misdiagnosis, wrong diagnosis, or lack of differential diagnosis include incorrect treatment, delay of treatment, and no treatement. Each of these can make a patient worse or even lead to death. This is why misdiagnosis is so serious.

Q. What are ramifications for misdiagnosis?

The ramifications for misdiagnosis are serious. A diagnosis error can lead to incorrect treatment, delayed treatment, or no treatment. This can make a patient’s condition or illness worse. In some instances, the patient may even die.

Q. What is a doctor-patient relationship?

A relationship between a doctor and a patient exists when the doctor serves a patient’s medical needs based on mutual consent. In other words, the patient agrees that the doctor will serve his medical needs, and the doctor agrees to serve the patient’s medical needs.

Q. How often does misdiagnosis occur?

According to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal BML Quality & Safety, each year approximately 12 million people who are treated in an outpatient clinic or emergency room across the US are victims of a doctor’s misdiagnosis. About half of these patients suffered a serious actual injury because of the doctor’s negligence.

Get Help From an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer As Soon As You Think You May Have a Claim

Since a misdiagnosis case falls under medical malpractice, it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Under the Washington DC law or applicable Virginia or Maryland law, the statute of limitations begins as soon as the malpractice is discovered.

If you do not file your malpractice claim within the time period set by the applicable statute of limitations you will likely not be able to collect compensation.

Medical malpractice cases can be life-altering. Whether your doctor just outright got the diagnosis wrong or took too long to diagnose you, we can help. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help show how your doctor failed in their duty of care.

Partner Amy Griggs At Regan Zambri Long PLLC, our personal injury lawyers have more than 100 years of experience combined helping injured patients in Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Medical malpractice lawsuits can be incredibly complex, and you may need help understanding your specific case.

If medical negligence was involved in your medical misdiagnosis, an experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you seek justice. No matter the type of misdiagnosis or late diagnosis that has dramatically affected you and your loved ones, a medical malpractice lawyer at Regan Zambri Long can help you build the strongest case possible to get the compensation you deserve.

Our Washington, DC misdiagnosis lawyers have been helping injury victims throughout the DC Metro area for more than three decades. With a registered nurse on staff, we have the expertise needed to determine when the diagnosis should have been made. It’s important to know what your legal options are in medical malpractice cases. We offer a free initial consultation to medical malpractice victims in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

Contact us today for your free consultation.

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Have you or your loved one sustained injuries in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia? Regan Zambri Long PLLC has the best lawyers in the country to analyze your case and answer the questions you may have.

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