When can misdiagnosis lead to a medical malpractice claim?

No one wants to be sick or struggle from a serious health condition. Thankfully, there are vast medical resources available to identify and treat a multitude of conditions, and going to the doctor is supposed to help us figure out what’s wrong so that a course of treatment can begin.

Unfortunately, there are instances when a doctor fails to correctly diagnose a condition in a timely manner. This can mean that any prescribed medication or therapy could ultimately be ineffective or even cause more damage. In these situations, it can be crucial for patients and their families to investigate the decisions and actions of a doctor to determine if negligence contributed to a misdiagnosis.

While the legal system does allow for victims of an erroneous or failed diagnosis to collect damages in some cases, it can be quite complicated to successfully argue that a doctor should be held liable for the misdiagnosis.

Diagnosing a patient’s condition is very complicated. Often, doctors need to run tests and interpret the results; they need to take a patient’s medical history into account and scrutinize symptoms; they must rely on their training and experience to then make a diagnosis.

If a doctor is wrong after doing all this, there may still not be grounds for legal action. What needs to be established is that the doctor made decisions or omissions that other medical professionals would not have made in the same situation. For example, if a doctor failed to order certain tests or rule out conditions that other prudent doctors would have considered, then a patient could have a legitimate medical malpractice claim.

Meeting the strict legal requirements of establishing liability in these cases can be very difficult, especially if a person is not well-versed in state and federal medical malpractice laws and does not have the resources to consult medical professionals. To determine if you may be able to hold a doctor accountable for a misdiagnosis, you can speak with an attorney and discuss the details of your case.