Yes, you can sue when your doctor fails to promptly and accurately diagnose your medical condition. The results of misdiagnosis can be spine-chilling and upsetting; suing your doctor for misdiagnosis can help restore your life back to the position it was prior to the negligent act. Medical negligence solicitors can also provide the support you need during this distressing time and walk you through the claims process.
If you have suffered harm due to the failure of your doctor to promptly and accurately diagnose your medical condition, you may be wondering if you can sue your doctor for misdiagnosis. Misdiagnosis can cause your condition to worsen, and even trigger other medical issues. In extreme cases, it can cause permanent damage and even cut your life short. You may be able to make a negligent claim against your doctor if he/she has misdiagnosed your condition.
What is Misdiagnosis?
Misdiagnosis is a term that refers to when a medical condition is not correctly diagnosed; that is, the doctor examines a patient and diagnoses the patient’s condition to be something it is not, or only makes a correct diagnosis after considerable delay.
Medicine is not a perfect science and, according to the famous poet Alexander Pope, “to err is human”. Like all of us, doctors and all medical professionals are not immune to mistakes. However, there are unfortunate cases where medical errors can be completely avoided; when misdiagnosis occurs as a result of doctor negligence, you can make medical negligence claims.
To determine whether you can sue your doctor for misdiagnosis, you would need to prove that the doctor’s mistake was a result of medical negligence, and not a simple error. To establish this, you must show the following:
- Breach of Duty
All doctors owe a duty of care to their patients. Medical negligence happens when a doctor violates this duty of care by providing care that falls below the acceptable level of diagnosis or treatment. A number of factors may affect this standard of care, including the patient’s age, overall health, and the existing condition.
You must also be able to prove that the doctor’s negligence caused you harm. Establishing causation is usually difficult, and often requires the help of medical negligence solicitors and expert witnesses.
As you can see, there are a lot of key factors when it comes to suing a doctor for misdiagnosis. This is especially the case because every medical negligence case is unique, so it is important that you speak with misdiagnosis claims solicitors before making a decision to sue.
What Constitutes Misdiagnosis?
There are three categories of misdiagnosis:
- Total misdiagnosis
This happens when a doctor fails to diagnose a medical condition despite initial symptoms. In this case, your doctor may have failed to identify signs like infections, broken bones, internal bleeding or even cancer; this type of misdiagnosis can expose the victim to severe health issues and even life-threatening situations.
- Incorrect or Wrongful diagnosis
This happens when a doctor diagnoses a condition that does not exist, prescribing or administering medication that is unnecessary in the process. Wrong diagnosis can have devastating effects on the victim; the pain and suffering it causes can have psychological implications and, if this is your situation, you may be entitled to a medical negligence compensation.
- Late misdiagnosis
Late misdiagnosis – a situation where symptoms are correctly diagnosed after a delay – is just as harmful as incorrect or total misdiagnosis. You may have complained to the doctor about certain symptoms, only for the doctor to turn you away. By the time the symptoms are correctly diagnosed following significant time lapse, other health issues and complications may arise. If you have been a victim of late misdiagnosis, medical negligence solicitors can help you make a negligent claim.
What are the Most Common Misdiagnosed Conditions?
Many health issues may arise as a result of misdiagnosis by a medical professional, but some conditions are misdiagnosed more often than others. According to the NHS Litigation Authority, these conditions include:
Fracture misdiagnosis usually occurs when a patient suffers a fracture as one of several injuries. The fracture may go undiagnosed by a doctor or A&E department because it is less obvious.
Fractures can be very painful and may prevent the patient from moving the affected area. Symptoms of fracture include bruising, swelling, deformity and tenderness around the injured area. If a patient manifests these symptoms, it is the duty of the doctor to use X-rays to provide clear images of the area. X-rays will also show the type of fracture the patient has suffered and its location within the bone.
Cancer misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor fails to deliver the correct cancer diagnosis. This could mean that they completely miss your cancer symptoms or misinterpret the symptoms as a different illness. For instance, tonsillitis and throat cancer share similar symptoms; so, a doctor may misdiagnose the symptoms. According to a report by All Can, 4 in 10 patients suffer cancer misdiagnosis before they are correctly diagnosed.
If you have received the wrong treatment for your cancer condition or your doctor dismissed your symptoms and left you untreated, you may be entitled to make a medical negligence claim.
Tendons are tough fibres that attach the muscle to the bone. They ensure the movement of the bones and joints during muscle contraction.
Despite how crucial they are to body movement, however, tendon injuries can be easily overlooked and incorrectly ruled out as a minor injury that doesn’t require treatment. Sadly, when there is a delay in the diagnosis and treatment of tendon injuries, recovery may become more difficult, treatment may become more expensive and may even require surgery, and the victim may suffer permanent disability.
The wrist joint is made up of the numerous small, intricately arranged bones – the scaphoid is one of them. Scaphoid injury usually occurs when a someone tries to protect themselves during a fall. The impact on the outstretched hand can lead to a fracture of the scaphoid bone.
The elaborate nature of the wrist and its numerous bones and tendons can make it difficult to detect fracture of the scaphoid bone, even if an X-ray is used. Whatever the reason for scaphoid misdiagnosis may be, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation if it amounts to medical negligence.
Hip related problems are some of the most frequently misdiagnosed conditions. When a patient has a hip problem, the doctor may immediately consider other most probable conditions such as osteoarthritis and greater trochanteric pain syndrome. If your doctor has failed to conduct holistic evaluation of your hip condition and makes an incorrect diagnosis, you may be able to make a hip misdiagnosis compensation claim.
How Much Compensation Can I Claim for Misdiagnosis?
If you or your loved one have been a victim of misdiagnosis, you probably want to know how much compensation you can claim. But first, it is important to stress that every case is unique. There are different types of misdiagnosis, patients’ circumstances differ, and the severity of injuries vary considerably. As a result, all misdiagnosis claims are handled on an individual basis.
However, medical negligence compensation awards are usually calculated based on certain key factors. These include:
- Nature of your ailment or injury due to misdiagnosis
- Pain and suffering you have suffered
- The impact on your life due to the negligence
- Impact on your life expectancy
- Extended recovery time caused by the misdiagnosis
You may also be able to pursue claims for any income you have lost as a result of the misdiagnosis. In this case, you can usually make claims worth up to £500,000, although claimants have secured more on some occasions. If the doctor’s negligence also means you will miss out on more work in future, you can make medical negligence claims for this too. In this case, you can usually make claims worth up to £400,000, although, again, claimants have secured more on some occasions.
Is There a Time Limit for Making Misdiagnosis Claims?
As is the case with all medical negligence claims, there is a three-year time limit for misdiagnosis claims. This time limit usually begins from the date of the incident or the date you became aware that the injury suffered was due to misdiagnosis. If possible, it is best to get in touch with misdiagnosis claims solicitors immediately, as leaving your claim until the last minute may make the process more complex and difficult.
If your child has been a victim of misdiagnosis, you may be able to make a negligence claim on their behalf. If you do not, they will be eligible to make a claim on their own when they turn 18. However, it is always ideal that you make the claim on your child’s behalf as soon as possible, while the details of the case are still fresh. In most cases, the financial settlement from the claim will be put in a trust until the child’s 18th birthday.
Suing My Doctor for Misdiagnosis – How Do I Make a No Win No Fee Claim?
When you work with Medical Negligence Direct, you can rest assured that your misdiagnosis case will be handled on a No Win No Fee basis. What does this mean?
No Win No Fee medical negligence claim is officially known as the Conditional Fee Agreement. It is a payment structure that allows a claimant to pursue claims at no cost. This means that you wouldn’t have to pay any upfront fee to secure the legal services of our panel of misdiagnosis claims solicitors.
Do not worry if you do not have so much in your bank currently; you too can make a claim. You can also count on us to make the claims process as hassle-free as possible for you. If your case is strong enough for a claim, our medical negligence solicitors will let you know and waste no time in taking you through the path that will help you secure the medical negligence compensation you deserve.