Among the many forms of medical malpractice, misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose are two of the most common. From broken bones to cancer, doctors frequently misread or simply overlook patients’ serious – and in some cases life-threatening – illnesses and injuries. Sadly, these medical errors happen more often than any of us would like to think.
If you or a loved one is suffering because a doctor or other medical professional misdiagnosed or failed to diagnose your illness or injury in a timely manner, you may have a claim to significant financial compensation. Often, one of the biggest challenges in these cases is proving that your condition could have been mitigated or prevented with a proper diagnosis. At Schwartzapfel® Lawyers P.C., we have decades of experience and have recovered millions of dollars for victims of medical malpractice in New York.
Understanding Diagnostic Errors: Misdiagnosis and Failure to Diagnose
First, let’s just take a quick look at the basic types of medical diagnostic errors: misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose. When we refer to a “misdiagnosis,” we mean that a doctor has determined that you have one illness or injury when you really have another. This type of error is dangerous for two reasons. First, it means that you are not getting the treatment you need for your illness or injury. Second, it also means that you are receiving treatment – and possibly medication – for a condition you don’t have.
By “failure to diagnose,” we mean that a doctor has overlooked your illness or injury while performing an exam. Like misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose can have serious consequences. With progressive diseases such as cancer, failure to diagnose can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.
Diagnostic Errors that Constitute Medical Malpractice
The following are some of the key factors for proving medical malpractice due to misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose:
- Breach of your doctor’s standard of care. In order to receive compensation for a diagnostic error, you will need to be able to prove that your doctor failed to meet the applicable standard of care. Medical standards of care vary (for example, the standard is generally somewhat lower in emergency rooms), but generally speaking doctors are required to use professional judgment at all times.
- Your condition is worse because of the diagnostic error. You also need to be able to link the diagnostic error to your declining medical condition. When you pursue a claim for malpractice, the insurance companies and defense lawyers will likely try to argue that you would have been in the same condition even if the doctor hadn’t make a mistake. You will need to prove otherwise.
- You have financial, physical, and/or emotional losses. Finally, in order to claim compensation, you need to prove the extent of your financial, physical, and emotional losses. Without proof of how much you are owed, you will not be able to successfully pursue a claim for maximum compensation.
Read more about what to do if you suspect medical malpractice or negligence.
Discuss Your Doctor’s Diagnostic Error with an Attorney at Schwartzapfel® Lawyers P.C.
At Schwartzapfel® Lawyers P.C., we help New York residents and visitors vigorously pursue compensation for medical malpractice. To find out if you may have a case for misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose, call 1-877-737-4806 or schedule a free consultation online today.