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Can I Get Compensation for Medical Misdiagnosis in DC?

If you were injured or your medical condition worsened due to a negligent medical misdiagnosis, you can pursue fair compensation for your injuries. The financial compensation you can recover for a medical misdiagnosis claim depends on your economic losses. The average settlement for a medical malpractice claim in the DC Metro area can range from a few thousand dollars to millions.

At Regan Zambri Long, we are committed to helping you recover the compensation for a medical misdiagnosis. When you meet with one of our medical misdiagnosis attorneys for a free initial consultation, we will assess your case and provide you with an honest opinion about the outcome of your claim.  Call today to speak with a compassionate medical misdiagnosis attorney who can help you.

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How Much Can I Sue for Misdiagnosis?

Medical malpractice lawsuits are meant to compensate patients for the financial burdens caused by an incorrect diagnosis. As an injured patient, you have the right to sue the negligent doctor or facility for as much compensation as it takes to offset the expenses that resulted from the doctor’s error. Can I Get Compensation for Misdiagnosis?

For example, imagine a patient goes to the doctor with a severe headache, dizziness, and confusion. The doctor misdiagnoses the issue as a common cold, attributing the headache to sinus pressure and the confusion to fatigue. The doctor prescribes pain medication and sends the patient home. Over the next few hours, the patient’s condition significantly worsens, leading the patient to go to the emergency room once again. Further tests reveal that the patient suffered a stroke, resulting in partial paralysis on the patient’s right side. Months of inpatient rehabilitation, physical therapy, and occupational therapy become necessary. Even with insurance, this misdiagnosis costs the patient and their family hundreds of dollars.

That situation outlined above is exactly what medical malpractice claims are for: you may suffer the physical consequences of someone else’s negligence, but you shouldn’t have to pay for it. A medical malpractice claim will help you recover the unexpected bills you would never have incurred had you not been the victim of medical negligence.

In most cases, the treating physician can be sued for a negligent misdiagnosis. However, other parties can be held liable, as well. The medical professionals that are subject to medical malpractice claims include:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Physician Assistants
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Radiologists
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Urgent care centers
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Emergency room staff
  • Pharmacists
  • Dentists
  • Chiropractors
  • Therapists
  • Optometrists

It’s important to understand that you, the injured patient, bear the burden of proof. That’s why having an experienced attorney by your side is so important. Your lawyer will build a rock-solid case to secure maximum compensation for your losses.

Understanding Medical Misdiagnosis

A medical misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor or healthcare professional incorrectly diagnoses a patient’s condition. Over 12 million people are incorrectly diagnosed every year, leading to 80,000 deaths annually. The “Big 3” misdiagnosis errors are vascular events (e.g., heart attacks), cancer misdiagnosis, and infections.

To protect both the patient and the healthcare provider, Washington DC put medical malpractice laws in place that include:

  • Notice requirement: The plaintiff (the person filing the lawsuit) must provide a written notice to the defendant (the negligent healthcare provider) at least 90 days before filing. The notice must detail the nature of the claim and the harm caused by the malpractice.
  •  All medical malpractice cases must undergo a mandatory mediation within 30 days of filing the claim.
  • Unlike other jurisdictions throughout the United States, Washington, DC, does not cap non-economic damages (more on that below!).
  • The injured patient has three years to file a medical negligence lawsuit against the medical professional or healthcare facility.

A Misdiagnosis Differs from a Missed or Delayed Diagnosis

A misdiagnosis happens when a doctor diagnoses the patient with the wrong condition entirely. For example, a patient with a broken ankle may be misdiagnosed with a bad sprain.

A delayed diagnosis occurs when the doctor correctly diagnoses the patient, but the diagnosis takes longer than it should have, leading to a worsening condition and more medical complications for the patient.

It Must Be Proven That Medical Negligence Caused the Misdiagnosis.

As we discussed briefly, thinking you have a medical malpractice claim and proving your claim are two very different things. The keyCan I Get Compensation for Misdiagnosis? to a successful medical malpractice lawsuit (and all other personal injury claims) is negligence. You must prove the doctor acted negligently to win your claim.

Four elements of negligence must be established: duty of care, breach of duty of care, causation, and damages:

  • Duty of care: In an established doctor-patient relationship, the healthcare provider is legally obligated to treat the patient with a reasonable standard of care, which is what a reasonable physician with similar training and experience would typically do in the same situation.
  • Breach of duty: If the doctor deviates from the expected standard of care, it is considered a breach of their duty to the patient.
  • Causation: The injured patient must prove that the doctor’s breach of duty caused their illness or injury.
  • Damages: Finally, the patient must prove they incurred financial, physical, and emotional losses because of the negligent misdiagnosis.

How long do you have to sue for misdiagnosis?

Washington, DC’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits is three years from the date of the injury. Victims who do not file within that time frame will forfeit their right to compensation.

Exceptions to the statute

Although the time limit for filing a lawsuit is quite strict, there are certain exceptions.

The discovery rule extends the statute of limitations deadlines. The clock will not start ticking until the victim discovers their injury. In these cases, the clock will not start ticking until the injured victim learned, or reasonably should have learned, that they were injured due to the negligent acts of a healthcare provider.

Additionally, if a child is under 18 when medical malpractice occurs, they have until their 21st birthday to file a medical malpractice claim against that doctor.

How Much Are Medical Malpractice Settlements for Misdiagnosis?

As we discussed, compensation looks different from case to case and largely depends on the severity of the victim’s injuries or illness. However, according to Forbes, between 2009 and 2014, the average settlement for a medical malpractice claim in the United States was $329,565.

Compensatory damages

Personal injury law is a tool that can help redress past wrongs but can never be used to change the past. Your doctor’s negligence caused a severe injury or allowed your condition to get worse without the proper medical attention. That fact cannot be changed. However, a personal injury lawsuit can give you a sense of justice for what happened to you and financial compensation to help with the bills caused by the malpractice. That’s why the point of any personal injury lawsuit is damages. They fall under two categories: economic and non-economic.

Economic damages

Economic damages are the tangible financial losses you’ve incurred. They can include medical bills, lost wages due to missed work, rehabilitation costs, therapy costs, medications, ongoing treatment, and long-term care.

Noneconomic damages

Noneconomic damages are compensation for intangible losses. They include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.

What You Should Know Before Suing for Misdiagnosis

At Regan Zambri Long, we believe in equipping our clients with as much knowledge about their cases as possible. The more you know about your rights, the easier it is to protect them. There are three things you should know before you file a claim for misdiagnosis:

  • You bear the burden of proof. You’ll need medical records, expert testimony, and other documentation. This process can be invasive and onerous
  • A medical malpractice claim, especially a complicated one with multiple liable parties, can take quite a while to settle. You must be prepared to be patient.
  • Your financial security is at stake. A misdiagnosis can result in mountains of medical bills you didn’t see coming and didn’t prepare for. A medical malpractice claim may only be between you and debt.

Good news – a medical malpractice lawyer will handle your entire claim. While you focus on your recovery, your lawyer will take care of the legal process. You most certainly don’t have to go through this alone.  The medical malpractice lawyers at Regan Zambri Long recently negotiated an $11 million settlement for a client.

Contact a DC Medical Malpractice Lawyer at Regan Zambri Long

The Regan Zambri Long, medical malpractice lawyers, have won millions for our clients and are confident we can do the same for you. We’ve been serving the residents of the Greater DC area for nearly three decades. We are experts in local laws, insurance policies, and the court system.

Our law firm offers free consultations to new clients. You’ll sit down with a DC medical malpractice attorney to discuss your case. We make ourselves available to our clients to answer any questions and address all concerns. Call today to get the process started.

Schedule a Free Consultation

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.

Call 202-960-4596

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