Medical Malpractice Claim: Can I sue for a delayed diagnosis?

December 4, 2018
Medical Malpractice Claim: Can I sue for a delayed diagnosis?

Diagnostic errors occur far more often than many people realize. Arthur Elstein, a psychologist who spent his career studying clinical decision-making, estimated that up to 15 percent of medical diagnoses are wrong.

Since most conditions require timely treatment to ensure a promising prognosis, a diagnostic error can have devastating consequences. Whether the treating physician will be liable for any resulting damages, however, depends on the circumstances. 

Typically, patients will have grounds for a medical malpractice claim following a delayed diagnosis if negligence on the part of their medical team was directly responsible for the error. In other words, the doctor must have breached the duty of care owed to the patient. 

Patients must also be able to prove that they incurred damages as a direct result of the error. This might include additional medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering. 

Let’s take a closer look at the two essential elements for building a strong medical malpractice claim following a delayed diagnosis.

1. Negligence

Doctors and nurses discussing a medical malpractice claim.

If a physician conducts the most widely accepted screenings, tests, and procedures — given the symptoms the patient — but a delayed diagnosis still occurs, it’s unlikely that he or she would be considered liable for the resulting damages. Patients who fall victim to diagnostic errors will only have grounds for a claim if another physician with the same specialization would have acted differently under the same circumstances, leading to a different outcome. 

Common examples of negligence that could lead to a delayed diagnosis include: 

  • Failing to recognize obvious symptoms
  • Failing to make obvious connections between the patient’s symptoms and various health conditions
  • Failing to take sufficient diagnostic images
  • Misinterpreting diagnostic images
  • Failing to administer additional tests if the results are ambiguous in any way 

2. Damages

Patients discussing a medical malpractice claim.

In some scenarios, delayed diagnoses do not actually result in damages. For example, if a doctor realizes an error might have occurred when examining a patient and then reexamines the patient immediately, this might prevent any delays in treatment. 

To file a successful medical malpractice claim, you must be able to prove that you suffered damages as a direct result of the doctor’s negligence. This is where a seasoned personal injury lawyer may be able to help. An experienced attorney can investigate your case to determine the types of damages you may have incurred and help you gather evidence to tie those damages to the delayed diagnosis. 

Potentially recoverable damages following a delayed diagnosis include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages, income, and benefits
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Discuss your case with a medical malpractice attorney in Lafayette.

Attorney Michael Stapleton can help with your medical malpractice claim.

If you received a delayed diagnosis and suffered damages as a result, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim against your provider. To determine the most strategic way to proceed, contact Ball Eggleston. 

Our Indiana personal injury attorneys have recovered more than $200 million on behalf of injured, ill, and disabled parties and their loved ones. Call (765) 7429046 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free case evaluation with a medical malpractice lawyer in Lafayette.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

Ball Eggleston — a Lafayette, Indiana law firm — is located at 201 Main Street, Suite 810 P.O. Box 1535 Lafayette, IN 47902. Contact Ball Eggleston by phone at (765) 7429046, by fax at (765) 7421966, or by email at info@​ball-​law.​com. For additional information, find Ball Eggleston online at ballegg.local.

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Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Each situation is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.