Can You Sue a Doctor for Misdiagnosis? April 4, 2023.

Can You Sue a Doctor for Misdiagnosis?

It's hard to imagine that a highly trained medical professional would make a potentially devastating mistake such as a misdiagnosis. However, doctors are prone to error. Some engage in accidental negligence, and some prove deliberately reckless.

Can you sue for misdiagnosis, though? As long as you can bring forward evidence that the medical institution's misdiagnosis caused you harm, a civil court can award you damages based on the economic value of your losses.

What is Misdiagnosis?

Civil courts classify a medical misdiagnosis as a medical institution's failure to appropriately categorize and treat a person's illness or condition. An institution may prove guilty of misdiagnosis in cases involving errors such as misinterpreted test results and inappropriate medical testing.

Examples of Commonly Misdiagnosed Medical Conditions

Some of the most common conditions to fall victim to diagnostic error include:

What You Should Do if Your Health Declines After Seeing the Doctor

You have a right to a correct diagnosis when visiting a doctor. If your health starts to decline after a doctor dismisses your symptoms, provides you with ineffective medication, or refuses to treat you, you need to seek alternative care. While doing so can impact future medical malpractice lawsuits' statute of limitations, nothing is more important than your health.

As soon as you feel able, you should also contact a personal injury attorney. If it turns out that a doctor incorrectly diagnosed your condition or failed to provide you with appropriate medical care, suing for misdiagnosis may be your next best option.

Suing a doctor for misdiagnosis can be intimidating. Don't let someone talk you out of your right to explore legal action, however. You can discuss the intricacies of a legal case with an attorney before making any concrete decisions about your path forward.

Misdiagnosis vs. Missed Diagnosis: Do They Carry the Same Weight?

In a misdiagnosed illness, a patient receives treatment for the wrong medical condition. A missed diagnosis means a medical condition has gone entirely undetected until its most severe symptoms make themselves known. A missed diagnosis may even result in a person's death.

Misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis cases do not carry the same weight. Missed diagnosis cases are often more severe and may entitle a person's family to wrongful death damages.

Filing a Medical Misdiagnosis Lawsuit Against Your Healthcare Provider

Can you sue a doctor for misdiagnosis? Yes and no. Most medical professionals work under the protection of a healthcare provider. If you suffer long-term injury or illness due to inappropriate medical care, you can sue the responsible medical institution. 

Loved ones of a person whose death resulted from a medical professional's negligence may also have the option to pursue a medical malpractice claim. Interested parties can explore their legal options with an attorney.

How the Process Works

If you choose to move forward with a medical misdiagnosis or malpractice lawsuit, you can work with an attorney to:

  • Investigate your case and gather evidence of relevant negligence
  • Compile claims regarding liability and the value of your case in a complaint
  • File your complaint within your state's statute of limitations
  • Decide whether you want to negotiate for a settlement or pursue a civil trial

Statue of Limitations You Should Know About

The general statute of limitations for relevant misdiagnosis cases in Ohio is one year instead of the standard two years for most other cases. The clock that controls your right to file a claim begins ticking on the same day that you discover your misdiagnosis or seek alternative care for your condition.

However, you can work with a personal injury lawyer to extend your case's statute of limitations. You can choose to formally inform the party you intend to hold liable for your losses that you plan to initiate legal action against them. In doing so, you can add 180 days to your statute of limitations. You must submit your claim within that time period or else you may lose your right to civil action entirely.

Unfortunately, the state places further restrictions on your right to legal action. If you discover an incorrect medical misdiagnosis more than four years after it happened, you may not have the right to legal action under Ohio's statute of repose. The only time when the statute of repose does not apply to your case is when you could not have reasonably discovered your condition, your condition stems from a lodged foreign body, or when a court deigns to pause your statute of limitations. For example, a court may pause a medical malpractice case's statute of limitations when the acting party is a child or otherwise unable to represent themselves.

In other words:

  • Courts can categorize your medical malpractice case as a personal injury case, but you need to specify that classification to better understand your statute of limitations.
  • If you pursue a medical malpractice claim, you have no more than a year to investigate your losses and file your claim.
  • You can file for an extension on a medical malpractice case's statute of limitations by communicating with an allegedly liable party.
  • You cannot act on a medical misdiagnosis if you discover that diagnosis more than four years after your initial treatment.

If you want to clarify your case's statute of limitations, discuss the specific nature of your case with an experienced attorney.

Get Help Seeking Compensation for Damages

The medical professionals who misdiagnose your illness do not face the physical consequences of their negligence. You are the one who has to bear the brunt of their oversights. And if you don't take action, those professionals may continue to engage in dangerous medical negligence.

It is time for you and your loved ones to take action against the parties responsible for all of the trials you have endured since your misdiagnosis. Let a personal injury attorney with Mellino Law Firm help you file for damages in civil court. You can discuss your diagnostic error and subsequent right to financial support during an initial case consultation with our team. Contact us to schedule your appointment by using our online form or calling our office during operating hours. We are ready to fight for you.