Is a Missed Medical Diagnosis Malpractice?

A “misdiagnosis” can include any variety of doctor, hospital, or other medical error that incorrectly identifies, or fails to identify, your medical issue. A misdiagnosis may occur due to faulty systems, incorrect testing, or missed symptoms. While a missed medical diagnosis can lead to serious complications and injuries, even fatal injuries, not all cases will result in the grounds for a medical malpractice case.

When is a Misdiagnosis Malpractice?

A missed diagnosis won’t always place a patient’s health in danger. If a medical provider made a harmless mistake, then a patient doesn’t generally have the grounds to bring a malpractice claim. Unless a doctor’s mistake results in serious injury, you’ll have little chances of winning a malpractice suit.

Note that patients typically have to prove the following three elements to prevail in a medical malpractice lawsuit that is based on a wrong diagnosis:

  1. A doctor-patient relationship existed,
  2. The doctor was negligent, meaning that he/she didn’t provide treatment in a reasonably skillful and competent manner, and
  3. The doctor’s negligence caused actual injury to the patient.

Patients can often prove the first element with little trouble in these cases. But the strength of a case will hinge on the second and third element. You can typically only file a lawsuit if a medical provider acted unreasonably in missing a diagnosis, and that misdiagnosis resulted in actual injury.

What are the Causes of a Medical Misdiagnosis?

Physicians usually make wrongful diagnoses because they:

  • Fail to order appropriate screening for illnesses and diseases,
  • Misinterpret lab and test results,
  • Fail to refer patients to specialists,
  • Fail to spend adequate time with patients to address symptoms, and
  • Fail to follow up with patients, their test results, and with the referred specialists

If any of the above takes place, and the act was unreasonable under the circumstances and you suffered an injury, then you may have the grounds for a malpractice case.

What Compensation can You Recover in a Medical Malpractice Case?

People injured by medical malpractice can typically recover compensation for the following:

  • Medical bills and medical expenses,
  • Home health medical care,
  • Physical and occupational therapy,
  • Lost wages,
  • Lost earning capacity, and
  • Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.

Please note that unlike many states, Washington has no limits, or caps, on the amount of damages that you can recover in a medical malpractice case. The result is that, if you win your case, you can collect whatever amount of money the jury awards you for your losses. This is true unless the judge or a higher court reduces the award.

Contact Otorowski Morrow & Golden, PLLC

Please know that our firm is here to help if you were injured due to a medical provider’s missed diagnosis. Otorowski Morrow & Golden, PLLC provides free consultations to all our potential clients. The attorneys at our law firm also have over 120 years of combined experience representing injured parties in medical malpractice cases. They never back down to insurers and fight for their clients’ interests every step of the way. Do yourself a favor and contact them now for the quality legal representation you deserve.

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