Correctly diagnosing an illness or injury is crucial to a patient’s recovery. When a doctor makes a diagnostic error, the patient may fail to get proper treatment, resulting in even more serious injuries. And sometimes misdiagnosis can result in the death of the patient.
If you’ve suffered an avoidable injury because of a misdiagnosis, you may be able to recover financial compensation with a medical malpractice claim. An experienced Kansas City misdiagnosis lawyer can evaluate your situation, explain your legal rights, build a case against the negligent physician, and negotiate to attain a fair settlement for your losses.
Defining Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice is more than a simple error in judgment. True medical malpractice only occurs when all of the following apply:
A doctor/patient relationship existed. You can seek compensation from someone with whom you had an official in-office relationship – you can’t sue over advice you overheard at a party because you don’t have a professional relationship with the advice-giver.
Your healthcare provider violated his or her duty of care thereby committing negligence. Regarding medical malpractice, this means your provider did not follow protocol in accordance with best practices or in a reasonably skillful fashion.
Your provider’s negligence led directly to worsening symptoms, a poorer outcome, or injury. This is often one of the hardest points to prove in a malpractice case since many patients are already sick.
You incurred specific damages. The injury caused real damages as a result (for example, medical bills and lost wages).
Medical malpractice cases often rely on sufficient evidence for points two and three. For example, you must be able to prove it was negligence that led to a worse outcome in your case, not the nature of the disease or the medical condition itself.
How Does Negligence Relate to Misdiagnosis?
A misdiagnosis in and of itself is not enough to prove negligence. In fact, when you suffer from a relatively rare condition, many doctors might miss the diagnosis before arriving at its true cause. Skilled and competent doctors make diagnostic errors throughout their careers; this does not make them negligent. Negligence with regard to misdiagnosis stems from a provider action or inaction that deviates from an established standard of care. Doctors commit malpractice when they fail to do something a skillful doctor would have done under the same circumstances.
Healthcare providers may commit negligence if they fail to order the right diagnostic tests or refer to a specialist. Misdiagnosis can occur in any medical setting, but one of the most common places is in the emergency room, where doctors treat several patients at a time.
Commonly Misdiagnosed Medical Conditions
Diagnostic errors occur when the doctor incorrectly diagnoses a patient with a disease they do not have or fails to diagnose an existing condition accurately. Both of these errors may result in improper treatment and severe harm to the patient. Delayed diagnosis may also be considered medical malpractice.
Some of the medical conditions most commonly involved in misdiagnosis medical malpractice cases are heart attacks, strokes, infections and septic shock, multiple sclerosis, cancer, Lyme disease, blood clots, diabetes, meningitis, tuberculosis, and many other serious illnesses.
Common Causes of Misdiagnosis
There are various possible reasons for a wrong diagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to diagnose an existing condition. Miscommunication between medical providers or medical professionals within a hospital or clinic is a common cause of medical malpractice injuries.
Inexperienced physicians who are improperly supervised by another doctor sometimes make diagnostic errors. Overconfidence in a more experienced doctor can also lead to a failed diagnosis. A lack of resources or proper time spent with a patient may also cause diagnostic errors and serious injury.
Various Types of Testing Mistakes
Errors are sometimes committed with the handling of diagnostic tests or test results. Defective testing instruments may be used, results can be lost, and proper tests can be delayed too long or not followed up with properly, resulting in wrong treatment.
A failed diagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to diagnose an existing medical condition may result from all kinds of negligent actions on behalf of your doctor. The job of a Kansas City misdiagnosis attorney is to figure out exactly what kind of error occurred in your case. And then they must prove it.
Proving Negligence in Medical Malpractice Cases
In order to win a misdiagnosis claim against a doctor or hospital, not only must you prove that misdiagnosis occurred. You must also prove that the medical error was caused by negligence.
Medical negligence requires the doctor to have breached the legal duty of care that exists in a doctor-patient relationship. Your attorney must prove that your doctor failed to act with the expected standard of skill and care that another physician would be expected to provide under similar circumstances.
The Experts and Evidence Required To Support a Claim
Proving negligence in medical misdiagnosis cases can be challenging because sometimes misdiagnosis occurs even when the doctor acts with all due care and diligence. If this kind of benign failing to accurately diagnose a condition occurs, the physician’s failure to diagnose wasn’t necessarily due to negligence.
Therefore, a medical malpractice case requires an in-depth investigation to uncover the precise reasons the patient suffered harm. A negligent failure in the duty of care owed in the doctor-patient relationship must be proven. Otherwise, the injured patient has no legal right to compensation from the physician.
But investigating a medical incident can be difficult in modern medicine, which is often highly specialized and complex. On top of this, it must also be proven that the patient’s condition resulted from the misdiagnosis and not from another cause.
To build a viable case, an experienced misdiagnosis lawyer will gather a mountain of evidence. They’ll often hire various specialist medical experts, who can both help investigate the incident and support your claim with testimony in court before a judge and jury.
Potential Damages in a Medical Malpractice Claim
When a patient suffers injury or illness because of a Kansas City doctor’s failure to properly diagnose a condition, due to negligence, they have a right to pursue damages. Damages in a misdiagnosis claim may include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment in life, and damages for other kinds of losses.
Your attorney can calculate the full damages you have a right to pursue. They’ll then need to provide evidence to prove the value of each damage, such as medical records to prove medical expenses and psychiatrist records to prove emotional distress.
Loved Ones of Deceased Patients May Also Seek Compensation
A Kansas City failure by a doctor to diagnose a condition can result in life-altering injuries and even death. If you’ve lost a loved one because an accurate diagnosis wasn’t made in a timely manner, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the negligent doctor.
You may have a right to recover medical expenses and funeral costs. You may also pursue loss of consortium damages, emotional distress damages, and damages for other non-economic losses.
How an Experienced Misdiagnosis Lawyer Can Help You
Healthcare providers and doctors in the medical community often have well-funded insurers and legal defense teams. Because of this and also the challenge of proving negligence, many patients struggle to prove that their physician failed to provide the same quality of treatment that other doctors would have provided under the same circumstances, which resulted in the failure to diagnose, and their subsequent injury.
Building a strong case and winning fair compensation often takes an attorney with extensive experience in medical malpractice law. This is especially true if you need to file a medical malpractice lawsuit and have your case tried before a judge and jury.
Experienced Kansas City misdiagnosis attorneys understand how to prove the negligence of doctors and defend the rights of mistreated patients. They can retain medical experts, build a case based on robust evidence, and persuade a jury to award full and fair compensation.
Even during the free initial consultation with an attorney, injured patients can learn a great deal about their legal options. They can also learn the strengths, weaknesses, and overall value of their case.
If you need a skillful misdiagnosis attorney in Kansas City, contact Wendt Law Firm P.C. at 816-542-6734 for a free consultation. Our award-winning attorneys have won over $100,000,000 for our clients and can help you achieve a favorable financial resolution to your claim as well.