Can You Sue a Doctor for Misdiagnosis?

by | Jul 26, 2022 | injury law

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Can You Sue a Doctor for Misdiagnosis?

Most people in the United States receive treatment from skilled and diligent doctors. However, even doctors sometimes make mistakes. If your doctor commits medical malpractice by failing to diagnose your condition correctly, yes, you can sue a doctor for misdiagnosis.

What is Misdiagnosis?

A misdiagnosis of your medical condition means the doctor misread your test results.

Alternatively, the doctor incorrectly believed he knew what your injury or illness was from your description of your symptoms and the doctor’s examination of you.

In either scenario, if the doctor does not make the correct diagnosis, there are several potential bad outcomes for you.

For instance, a wrong diagnosis could make your medical condition worse. The doctor could order treatment for a disease that you don’t have. That treatment does not resolve that actual illness you have. Therefore, you get sicker.

Likewise, the wrong diagnosis could delay the treatment of your actual illness. A delayed diagnosis means your condition can worsen since you are not receiving the required treatment.

Misdiagnosis cases can also apply if your doctor makes no diagnosis.

Common Misdiagnoses

In fact, there are common misdiagnoses that doctors make. For instance, they can misdiagnose asthma as recurring bronchitis.

It is not uncommon for Lyme disease to be misdiagnosed as the flu, depression, or mononucleosis.

As another example, they could misdiagnose a patient with a panic attack or indigestion when they are actually having a heart attack.

In these and other instances, if the doctor’s misdiagnosis violates the “medical standard of care” required of doctors, and the misdiagnosis injured you, you may have a valid medical malpractice claim against the doctor.

What Injuries Can Result from a Misdiagnosis?

It’s not enough to produce evidence showing the doctor failing to make the right diagnosis. To sue for medical malpractice, you will have to show that the incorrect or delayed diagnosis injured you. Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis can injure you in several ways.

For instance, because of the misdiagnosis, you wound up receiving more aggressive treatment for a longer time. In other words, if the doctor had diagnosed your condition sooner and correctly, you would not have needed the more aggressive treatment.

As another example, the doctor may have performed unnecessary surgical procedures, given your actual illness or condition.

Certainly, a misdiagnosis could increase the likelihood of complications, even wrongful death.

How Do You Prove Misdiagnosis?

To sue for medical negligence, you need to have four elements to the claim: duty, breach, causation, and damages:

  1. Did the doctor have a duty to care for you? Normally, when there is a doctor-patient relationship, the doctor has a duty to act as a reasonably competent doctor.
  2. Did the doctor breach that duty of care? Remember, just because a doctor misdiagnosed a medical condition, it doesn’t mean he was acting negligently. Therefore, to show a breach of duty, you’d have to prove that a different, reasonably competent doctor would have been able to diagnose the illness properly.
  3. Did the doctor’s misdiagnosis injure you? Unless you can show that the doctor’s misdiagnosis actually injured you, a medical malpractice lawsuit is not an option.
  4. Did the misdiagnosis damage you? The doctor may have misdiagnosed you with one condition and not your actual illness. Nevertheless, your illness eventually resolved itself in a relatively brief time, with no long-lasting side effects or injuries. In that instance, even though the doctor misdiagnosed you, the misdiagnosis (fortunately) did not result in damages to you.

Remember-There May Be Statute of Limitations Issues Concerning Medical Malpractice Claims

If you believe you have been the victim of an incorrect diagnosis, contact a medical malpractice attorney to review your case. Indiana has a two-year statute of limitations for suing a doctor, hospital or other healthcare worker for medical malpractice.

Indeed, medical malpractice cases can be complicated. Medical experts will have to be found to investigate whether the doctor in question committed malpractice. That takes time. You don’t want to run out of time to sue your doctor for malpractice because you didn’t contact an attorney soon enough.

Experienced Indiana Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Sue a Doctor for Misdiagnosis

If a doctor misdiagnosed you or a loved one, resulting in an injury, you need experienced medical malpractice attorneys. First, the law firm will investigate the conduct of the doctor that led to your injury. We will retain experts to support your claim of medical malpractice. Then we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.

Contact us at our Hammond office at 219-200-2000 or online at alexmendozalaw.com for a free consultation.

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