We turn to the medical profession to help us recover from what ails us, and the process begins with an accurate diagnosis. In fact, without an accurate diagnosis, the rest of the process can be for naught. With a misdiagnosis, you can be subject to medical care and attention – and attendant side effects – that you don’t even need (all while your underlying health concern goes undiagnosed and unchecked). In other words, misdiagnosis can prove to be a considerable obstacle to your health, and if you face this difficult situation, don’t delay consulting with an experienced Florida misdiagnosis lawyer.
Can You Sue a Doctor for Misdiagnosis?
In the State of Florida, if you or someone you love is harmed as a result of a doctor’s negligence that results in misdiagnosis – or delayed diagnosis – you have the legal right to file a claim (or to sue for the damages you’ve suffered if the involved insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith) against the medical provider in question.
It is not enough that your doctor misdiagnoses your injury or illness – the misdiagnosis must be a result of negligence. The fact is that anyone can make an honest mistake, and medical diagnoses can be especially tricky, to begin with. If, however, other reasonable doctors in your doctor’s position would have correctly diagnosed your condition in a similar situation, negligence may be a factor. There are four basic elements that are necessary to bring a successful misdiagnosis claim.
Duty of Care Owed
If the medical professional in question was acting in the capacity of your attending physician at the time, he or she owed you the necessary duty of care, which means that he or she was responsible for providing you with reasonable medical care in the context of the situation at hand.
This is where that negligence comes in. if the doctor in question made an honest mistake in misdiagnosing you, it is unlikely that he or she breached the duty of care that he or she owed you. If, on the other hand, other reasonable doctors in his or her position – and in a similar situation – would have diagnosed you correctly, it’s likely that your doctor did breach the duty of professional care that he or she owed you.
This Lapse Caused You to Be Injured
The fact is that misdiagnosis does not necessarily lead to injury. In fact, there are any number of diagnoses that require exactly the same medical treatments and protocols, which means that misdiagnosis in this context is unlikely to cause harm. If, however, the misdiagnosis that you received left you harmed as a result of unnecessary treatment and/or as a result of not obtaining the appropriate treatment, this element of your misdiagnosis claim is met.
You Suffered Legal Damages
This final element of your misdiagnosis claim refers to suffering actual legal damages or losses as a result of being misdiagnosed. Such damages can include all the following:
- Medical Expenses – Because medical misdiagnosis can be something of a double-edged sword (not only do you not receive the treatment you need, but you must endure a treatment you don’t need), the associated medical costs can be exceptionally high.
- Lost Earnings – If your healing process is protracted, you can expect to also be off the job for a considerable amount of time, which generally translates to lost earnings. If your ability to do your job or to continue developing your career is ultimately affected, you could also experience a decrease in earning potential.
- Pain and Suffering – The physical and emotional pain and suffering associated with being harmed by the very doctor you trusted to help heal you can be considerable and can prove to be one of the more challenging obstacles you face on the path toward regaining your health and well-being.
Ensuring that your misdiagnosis claim accurately reflects your complete array of damages is essential to your ability to accomplish your fullest recovery.
One of the more difficult elements of your misdiagnosis claim is likely to be proving your doctor’s negligence in the matter. One of the primary components of this process is assessing the method that your doctor used to arrive at your diagnosis. Your diagnosis should have begun with the following basics:
- Your doctor asking you detailed questions about your symptoms
- Answering your doctor’s questions as truthfully as you can
- your doctor taking the information into serious consideration (in the context of your medical history)
From here, your doctor should move on to the standard medical practice of engaging in what is known as differential diagnosis. Differential diagnosis refers to devising a list of possible and probable diagnoses and running the appropriate test or tests for each. In this way, your attending doctor is able to eliminate – one by one – those diagnoses that don’t hold up and should ultimately arrive at the correct diagnosis for you.
Negligence can arise if your doctor fails to perform the necessary tests. For example, if your doctor fails to order a blood test that would have supported a correct diagnosis and that other reasonable doctors would have ordered in similar situations, it may be negligence. Ultimately, if your doctor didn’t bother to do what it reasonably takes to reach an in-depth understanding of your condition, his or her professional treatment of you can be deemed negligent, which supports a misdiagnosis claim.
Discuss Your Concerns with an Experienced Florida Misdiagnosis Attorney Today
The formidable misdiagnosis lawyers at Iscoe Law Firm – proudly serving Miami, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Fort Lauderdale, and Broward County – dedicate their legal practice to defending the rights of the vulnerable, including those who have been harmed by medical misdiagnosis. Because your health and well-being are paramount, we are available to take your call every hour of every day. For more information about what we can do to help you, please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at 800-800-6500 today.