Everything You Should Know Before Suing for Misdiagnosis June 12, 2023.

suing for misdiagnosis

Have you suffered because your medical provider failed to properly treat you and determine the true nature of your health issue? If so, you have the right to pursue a lawsuit for medical malpractice. At Mellino Law Firm, we have helped many people stand up to medical negligence. 

Misdiagnosis happens when a medical provider is negligent in properly determining what is wrong with a patient. A 2014 study from Dr. Hardeep Singh determined that misdiagnosis occurs in about 5% of all outpatient cases. 

Anyone could become a victim of this medical error, and if you have suffered, suing for misdiagnosis is definitely an option. 

Can You Sue a Doctor for Misdiagnosis?

You have the right to bring a lawsuit for misdiagnosis if you can prove the three elements required by law. The first is relatively easy because it only requires that you show the doctor had a duty to provide you care. Simply showing you were a patient of the doctor should be enough.

The second element is trickier. You must prove that the doctor provided you with care outside medical standards. This means that an average medical professional would not have followed the same protocols in diagnosing you or would have taken additional steps to reach a diagnosis. 

The last element is showing a direct connection between the misdiagnosis and your injuries. Any loss or health issues caused by the diagnostic error would satisfy this claim. 

What You Should Know Before Suing for Misdiagnosis

To prove your case when suing for misdiagnosis, you should understand a few crucial points, including the definition of misdiagnosis and how to prove negligence. You also should learn more about the compensation you might receive.

A Misdiagnosis Differs From a Missed or Delayed Diagnosis

If you wish to sue for misdiagnosis, you must have a misdiagnosis case and not another type of medical malpractice claim. The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine explains there are three types of diagnosis errors:

  • Missed: Your medical provider never found a reason for your illness or condition. This is a complete failure to diagnose. 
  • Delayed: An unacceptable amount of time passed from when you first saw your provider to when you received a correct diagnosis. 
  • Incorrect: Your provider gave you an incorrect diagnosis of a medical condition. 

It Must Be Proven That the Misdiagnosis Was Caused by Medical Negligence

An unsatisfactory result is not enough to bring a malpractice case. You must show that the doctor was negligent in their duties. They must have purposefully ignored standards or failed to do their job correctly. 

Negligence does not mean the actions were intentional. Sometimes it occurs due to a lack of knowledge or insufficient attention on the part of the physician. In complicated cases, such as those with no set standard of care or a rare condition, it can be challenging to prove negligence. 

Ohio has a distinct requirement you must meet before you file a misdiagnosis lawsuit to help you prove negligence. Under the Ohio Rule of Civil Procedure, your petition must include an affidavit of merit from an expert witness. 

This affidavit must come from a physician or other licensed healthcare professional. It is a document created under oath that states the medical expert is aware of the standard of care for your situation and has reviewed your medical records. They also must swear that they feel the care you received did not meet the standard of care and led to your injuries.

Compensation Looks Different From Case to Case

Medical malpractice claims are very personal situations. The law tends to be rather general, allowing courts to make determinations on a case-by-case basis. Because of this, you will notice there is no set financial compensation to expect from such a lawsuit. 

People suing for misdiagnosis may target any medical professional. They also could bring a case suing a hospital for misdiagnosis. 

Every case is unique as well. The losses suffered greatly depend on the medical condition and what happened with the person's care. Injuries and losses can vary from minor to extreme. Additionally, misdiagnosis lawsuit settlements can vary significantly because they rely on negotiations between the parties. When the judge makes the decision in a trial, it is very linear, but settlements involve more parties, which can influence the final result. 

Because of the variances, it is tough to answer the question, "How much can you sue for misdiagnosis?"  

It's Imperative That You Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney as Soon as Possible

Filing your case should happen quickly because Ohio law sets the statute of limitations at one year. You have one year from the error date or when you discover an incorrect diagnosis to sue a doctor for misdiagnosis. 

There is an exception for minors. They have one year after turning 18 to file their case. 

Because of the time limit, contacting an attorney as soon as possible is imperative. Not filing before the expiration of the statute of limitations will result in the court throwing out your claim. 

How Much Can You Sue for Misdiagnosis?

"How much can you sue for a misdiagnosis?" is a common question. Ohio law is specific about compensation allowed in medical malpractice lawsuits. The law allows for compensatory and punitive damages. 

Compensatory damages include economic, which are actual financial losses, such as lost wages and medical treatment costs, and non-economic, which are losses without direct monetary value, such as pain and suffering. 

Punitive damages are something the court imposes on the defendant as a punishment. They are not typical and do not occur in every case. 

The law puts a limit on noneconomic compensatory damages only. It is the larger of $250,000 or three times the economic compensatory damages up to $350,000. The law allows an exception when you suffer a catastrophic injury that permanently changes your life. The cap in that case is $500,000. 

Ohio also limits punitive damages to two times compensatory damages. 

Let Us Help With Your Misdiagnosis Lawsuit

Suing for misdiagnosis can be uncomfortable. You are saying your physician did not provide you with good care. 

You need someone on your side to fight for your rights and assist you with your case. At Mellino Law, we have experience helping people just like you. 

We can assist you with gathering evidence and proceeding through the legal process smoothly. Plus, we will handle the legwork while you focus on healing and taking care of your health. 

Please contact us today to speak with a misdiagnosis lawyer about your case.