The Harding Law Firm News

Can I Sue for a Medical Misdiagnosis?

Harding Law Firm - Tuesday, October 27, 2015


—Advice from a Medical Malpractice Attorney

Each year in the United States, 12 million adults are misdiagnosed by their physicians, according to a report on CBS. That comes out to one out of every 20 patients. Misdiagnoses are not automatically eligible for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Instead, there must be certain circumstances present in order to show that the physician was negligent in coming to their incorrect diagnosis.

What Are Common Misdiagnosed Illnesses and Conditions?

A misdiagnosis means that a patient could miss out on necessary treatment, making their illness worsen or resulting in death. Also, a misdiagnosis could force a patient to endure unnecessary and even painful treatments. Some of the commonly misdiagnosed illnesses in the United States include:

  • Asthma - Typically misdiagnosed as recurring bronchitis
  • Heart Attack - Often diagnosed as a panic attack or indigestion
  • Lyme Disease - Misdiagnosed as the flu, mononucleosis or depression
  • Parkinson’s - Commonly misdiagnosed as a stroke, stress or Alzheimer’s
  • Lupus - Misdiagnosed to be fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis

Can I Sue for a Misdiagnosis?

When a misdiagnosis occurs due to negligence, you may have a valid claim for medical malpractice. In order to prove negligence, you must first show:

  1. The doctor owed you a duty of care. This means the physician was treating you and there was an established doctor-patient relationship present.
  2. The doctor breached their duty of care. A misdiagnosed illness is not automatically a breach of duty. Instead, you must prove that another reasonably competent physician would have arrived at the proper diagnosis.
  3. The breach of duty caused injury. Next, you must not only prove there was a misdiagnosis, but that the misdiagnosis caused some sort of injury or loss.
  4. The injury led to damages. This means that your misdiagnosis led to damages, such as extensive medical treatments or additional treatments that otherwise would not have been required if the consulting physician had competently arrived at the right diagnosis.

Proving a physician was incompetent during their misdiagnosis typically requires testimony from other medical experts. If you are the victim of a misdiagnosis, your first step is to contact a personal injury lawyer for a case assessment. The Harding Law Firm can assess the facts of your case and help determine if negligence has been a cause for misdiagnosis.

Speak with a medical malpractice attorney today regarding misdiagnosis of your symptoms and condition. Contact Charles Harding for a free consultation. You can also call us at 518-384-3400