Can I Sue a Doctor for Failure to Diagnose?

Though exact figures are hard to come by, some studies have suggested that as many as 250,000 people die in the United States each year due to a medical error of some kind.

Clearly, doctors and other medical professionals are not infallible. They make mistakes every day, and these can be very costly for patients.

If your doctor fails to diagnose your condition, or diagnoses it incorrectly, there can be costs to your wallet as well as your health. This raises the important question; can you sue for failure to diagnose?

Read on to learn more about this question and the surrounding legal implications.

What Is Failure to Diagnose?

When you present to a doctor with a certain set of symptoms (for example, a dry cough and runny nose), a doctor’s first job is to figure out what condition you have. This is called diagnosis, and forms the basis for any treatment you receive going forward.

Obviously, if you receive the wrong diagnosis, you’ll get the wrong treatment. This is potentially dangerous, and also means your real health issue will go untreated.

Can You Sue for Failure to Diagnose?

Failure to diagnose is one type of medical malpractice, a term that refers to all the types of harmful mistakes a doctor can make when treating a patient. As long as there is fault on the part of the doctor, and as long as this fault caused a deterioration in your condition, you are entitled to file a lawsuit against your doctor or hospital.

This law allows patients who suffer misdiagnosis to recoup the financial costs associated with it. It also serves to disincentivize mistakes by doctors and other healthcare staff.

What to Do if a Doctor Diagnoses You Improperly

If you’ve been misdiagnosed, and you’ve suffered a health setback due to this misdiagnosis, you should consider taking legal action. Whether or not this will be successful depends on a number of factors.

As alluded to above, there are two key factors to consider in cases of this nature. Your healthcare provider must have made an error, and this error must have led to a disimprovement in your health.

Both of these factors must be present for your case to succeed. It’s not sufficient for your doctor to misdiagnose you if the mistake didn’t lead to some reduction in your quality of life. This arises from the legal principle of causation.

Getting the Settlement You Deserve After Medical Malpractice

Doctors have unenviable jobs. They work extremely hard, and the stakes could not be any higher. However, if they make a mistake when treating you, you could be left with a reduced quality of life and crushing financial obligations.

For this reason, it’s crucial that you take prompt legal action after a failure to diagnose.

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