When patients visit their physicians, they generally trust that these highly trained professionals can assess symptoms, order appropriate tests, and make an accurate diagnosis before recommending a treatment plan. Unfortunately, everyone makes mistakes. When a doctor fails to diagnose a medical condition, the error can sometimes be catastrophic for the patient. In some cases, the failure to diagnose can provide the basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
When patients visit the law firm of Rutter Mills in Virginia to discuss the failure to diagnose medical malpractice, our lawyers will thoroughly investigate the case and explore your options for legal recourse.
Should I file a ‘failure to diagnose lawsuit?
Even the most highly trained and experienced doctors sometimes make mistakes, and not all medical errors can provide the basis for a lawsuit. To file a lawsuit, you must be able to prove that the failure to diagnose a condition resulted in harm to you. For example, if your doctor failed to diagnose sepsis resulting in the amputation of a toe or foot, you have suffered grievous injury, and you could have the basis to file a lawsuit.
When evaluating your case, our failure to diagnose lawyers will consider whether the elements of medical malpractice are present. They are as follows:
- There was a doctor-patient relationship (the physician owed a duty of care).
- The duty of care was breached.
- The patient suffered harm.
- The harm was the direct result of the physician’s negligence.
Before filing a lawsuit, we will consider whether the physician acted or failed to act in a way that a similarly trained physician could reasonably be expected to act. It should be noted that even competent doctors can make diagnostic errors sometimes. This is known as the standard of care. A breach in the standard of care could form the basis for a failure to diagnose a lawsuit.
How can a lawyer prove medical malpractice?
An attorney will often use expert testimony to prove that a doctor negligently breached the standard of care. An expert, such as a similarly trained doctor, could testify that the plaintiff’s physician failed to act in a way that would be reasonably expected, given the patient’s symptoms and medical state.
Specifically, the expert witness may provide a differential diagnosis, a list of all possible medical causes of the patient’s symptoms. This list is then narrowed down through medical tests, exams, and assessments until the doctor develops a definitive diagnosis. Some of the specific errors that may be made in a failure to diagnose case could include the following:
- The doctor might have been negligent in developing the differential diagnosis, meaning that one or more possible diagnoses might not have been considered.
- The doctor might have failed to order a necessary medical test or exam.
- The doctor may have failed to interpret the results of a medical test correctly.
- The doctor should have referred the patient to a specialist but failed to do so.
In some cases, a failure to diagnose results from the negligence of other medical professionals. For example, a lab technician may have mixed up a sample, used an improper procedure, or provided wrong test results. A lawyer will consider all the possibilities before naming the defendants in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
It’s also possible that the diagnostic equipment itself was malfunctioning. In this case, the medical equipment manufacturer might be held liable for design or manufacturing defects.
Our lawyers are ready to meet with you.
For more than five decades, the legal team at Rutter Mills has been fighting for the rights of victims of medical malpractice. If you have suffered harm due to a delayed diagnosis, misdiagnosis, or other medical mistakes, please get in touch with us immediately to discuss your case. Initial consultations are free, and there is no obligation to file a lawsuit. Call us 24/7 at our law firm in Norfolk and Newport News, VA to request an appointment with a medical malpractice attorney.
Rutter Mills attorneys have the skills and experience to win your case. We’ve focused on social security law for over 50 years and helped thousands of clients get the benefits they need – and deserve. Rutter Mills is proud to serve some of the following Virginia cities and their surrounding areas.
- Virginia Beach Social Security Disability Lawyers
- Norfolk VA Social Security Disability Lawyers
- Chesapeake VA Social Security Disability Lawyers
- Newport News Social Security Disability Lawyers
- Hampton Social Security Disability Lawyers
- Suffolk Social Security Disability Lawyers
- Portsmouth Social Security Disability Lawyers
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