Misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose: when is it medical malpractice?

Law Offices of Steven Zwick
Mar 05 2019

Many patients visit their doctors with vague symptoms such as pain in a general area or fatigue. That’s why doctors perform tests or recommend a specialist to ensure these symptoms aren’t indicators of an underlying, potentially life-threatening condition.

When a doctor fails to provide an accurate diagnosis, medical malpractice law gives patients the ability to file a personal injury claim to receive compensation for any harm done to them. That said, when is a doctor’s failure to diagnose a health condition considered medical negligence or medical malpractice?

What does a viable medical malpractice claim look like?

You need to prove three things to file a medical malpractice claim for a misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose. These three elements include:

  • A doctor-patient relationship
  • Proof the doctor’s error rose to the level of negligence
  • Proof that you’ve suffered harm because of the misdiagnosis/failure to diagnose

You first need to establish that you have a doctor-patient relationship with the doctor you’re filing your personal injury claim against. This means you need to have been a patient of the doctor at the time they were negligent.

When a doctor enters a doctor-patient relationship, they’re required to provide reasonably competent care. This includes recognizing and properly diagnosing potential health conditions.

What’s the difference between error and negligence?

A doctor acts negligently when they’ve broken their duty of care. This means they’ve failed to provide the quality of care that a reasonable and competent doctor would have provided under the same circumstances.

A negligent doctor might have incorrectly conducted a test, incorrectly interpreted a test, failed to include an important potential medical problem on the diagnosis list, fail to recognize the urgency of the possible medical issue, or fail to provide diagnostic medication.

It’s also important that you’re able to prove that you’ve suffered injury because of the doctor’s negligence.

Looking for a personal injury attorney for your medical malpractice case?

Up to 20,000 medical malpractice claims are filed every year, and 225,000 people die from medical malpractice annually. If you’ve been the victim of personal injury because of a doctor’s medical malpractice, the personal injury lawyers of Zwick Law can help.

Whether you need help filing your personal injury claim or legal advice for a medical malpractice settlement, we can help. For more information on personal injury claims, schedule a consultation at the law offices of Steve Zwick today.