We depend on doctors to accurately diagnose our conditions and provide us with the necessary treatment. In some cases, misdiagnosis can be the difference between life and death. Given the amount of faith we place in doctors, it may be surprising to find out that misdiagnoses are common. However, depending on the circumstances, victims may be entitled to compensation. If a doctor misdiagnosed your condition and caused harm, you need to seek legal advice from an Albany, Georgia medical malpractice lawyer.
What You Need to Know About Misdiagnosis
Stories about surgeons amputating the wrong body part are more likely to make headlines. However, these instances are rare. Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis are much more common forms of medical malpractice. So much so, that an estimated 12 million Americans are affected each year. It is also believed that 40,000 to 80,000 people die from diagnostic errors in the United States annually. The National Academy of Medicine defines a diagnostic error as one where a doctor:
- Fails to find an accurate and timely explanation for a patient’s health problems; or
- Fails to communicate that information to the patient
Misdiagnosis can be caused by several mistakes on the part of the doctor. they may neglect to:
- Read test results properly
- Send the patient to the necessary specialist
- Screen for a disease or condition
- Consult properly with the patient about their symptoms
- Follow through to determine the possible causes of the patient’s symptoms
Some of the illnesses and conditions that are likely to be misdiagnosed are:
- Clogged arteries
- Pulmonary embolisms
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Lyme’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
If you have suffered harm because a doctor failed to make an accurate, timely diagnosis, you may be entitled to compensation. An experienced Georgia medical malpractice attorney can help you to make sense of your case.
Building a Case for Medical Malpractice if a Doctor Misdiagnosed Your Condition
Not every diagnostic error can be considered medical malpractice. You will need to prove three elements in order to have a successful claim. With the help of your attorney, you will have to show that:
- There was a doctor-patient relationship.
- A typical doctor in a similar practice and a similar situation would not have made the same mistake.
- The doctor’s negligence caused you harm.
If a doctor misdiagnosed you but the error was caught before you suffered harm, you won’t have a case. However, not all diagnosis errors are merely an inconvenience. Misdiagnosis can result in a patient undergoing unnecessary surgery or taking medication that makes them worse. Sometimes correcting the complications requires complex procedures or surgeries.
When that happens, you’ll want to get full and fair compensation. Most medical malpractice cases are settled out of court. Therefore, your attorney will try to negotiate a settlement with the doctor’s insurance company. However, if they can’t arrive at an amount that’s acceptable to you, they will take the case to court. If you can prove that the doctor’s negligence led to harm, you can claim both economic and non-economic damages. These include related medical expenses, compensation for lost wages, and pain and suffering. In Georgia, punitive damages are only awarded when a healthcare provider engages in malice, misconduct or fraud.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim
If you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice, you need to reach out to a lawyer immediately. You generally have two years to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Georgia. While there are exceptions to this statute of limitations, you don’t want to take chances. When you work with an experienced lawyer, they will ensure you don’t miss any important deadlines. If you wait too late to file a lawsuit, the court will likely refuse to hear the case. It won’t matter how serious your injuries were or how negligent the doctor was.
Contact an Attorney at Joe Durham Jr., P.C. Today if a Doctor Misdiagnosed Your Condition
When you need a Georgia law firm that handles medical malpractice cases, reach out to our experienced team. Each diagnostic error is unique. You need to have an expert investigate your case and give you a professional opinion. We’ll help you to determine whether the doctor was truly negligent and explain all your options to you. If you were a victim of malpractice, getting the compensation you need can help you to recover. You shouldn’t have to suffer if someone else is responsible for your injury or illness. Malpractice cases can be complex but the team at Joe Durham Jr., P.C. has the necessary knowledge and skills. Contact us to schedule a free consultation. The sooner we can get started on your case, the better it will be for you.