How to Go About Suing Your Doctor for Failure to Diagnose
We all want to believe that our doctors know best, but the truth is that they can’t possibly know everything, which is why it is important to get a second opinion if you feel that something is wrong. In truth, most doctors will refer you to a specialist rather than risk a misdiagnosis of some sort, but there may be cases in which you simply aren’t diagnosed with the condition that ails you. And this could end up being an injurious or even fatal mistake, depending on your condition. You might be surprised to learn that, along with misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose is the most common form of medical malpractice. But if you are the victim of this oversight, you might not know if you’re even able to launch a lawsuit, much less how to go about it. So here are a few tips that will help you to determine if you should sue for failure to diagnose, as well as how you should file your claim.
First and foremost, you need to decide if the offense is worth suing for, and this may be based on the potential (or actual) damage from the failure to diagnose. If, for example, your doctor failed to diagnose a non-fatal condition like ADD or migraines, you might not have much of a case, or you simply may not want to put forth the time, effort, and money to pursue a lawsuit. While these conditions can be uncomfortable or difficult to live with, they aren’t likely to kill you or completely ruin your life. And most people aren’t that keen to get involved in a lawsuit. But if your doctor fails to diagnose a serious and potentially fatal condition like cancer or diabetes, you could become a lot more interested in the prospect of a lawsuit, especially since early diagnosis could be a lifesaver.
You may have a good case for this type of malpractice lawsuit if any of several conditions are met. If your doctor fails to pay heed to your complaints by conducting a proper exam, running tests, or referring you to an appropriate specialist, it could fall under the category of failure to diagnose. Also applicable are misreading test results, missing obvious indications of the disorder, and failing to recommend appropriate exams, screenings, tests, follow-ups, and treatments based on past history or other risk factors. Should these conditions occur, you probably have a case for malpractice.
As for how to proceed, your first step is to find a lawyer. You’ll want to hire someone that is well-versed in your type of case, whether that means securing the services of an attorney that is an expert at claims where tumors have been diagnosed as benign or a surgical mesh complication attorney. You might be surprised at the specialties within the legal community, and the more your lawyer knows about your particular type of case, the better chance you have of winning your suit. Once you’ve found an attorney that will take your case, your portion of the proceedings will mainly revolve around providing appropriate legal documents (medical reports, for example) and testimony, which your lawyer will prompt you to produce. From there it’s just a matter of deciding whether to settle before the trial begins or have your day in court.