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Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis May Be Grounds for a Medical Malpractice Suit

Posted on in Medical Malpractice

Winnebago County medical malpractice lawyersWhen most of us visit a doctor or other medical professional to address a health concern, we trust that he or she knows what they are doing and will be able to help. Understandably, doctors do not always immediately know what aliment is causing their patient to suffer. However, doctors, nurses and other health care professionals have a duty to treat patients to the best of their ability. When a negligent medical professional misdiagnoses a patient and the resultant medical treatment (or lack of treatment) causes the patient harm, a medical malpractice suit may be appropriate.

Diagnostic Errors Are One of the Most Common Causes for Medical Malpractice Claims

The law does not expect doctors to be perfect. Many times, a patient suffers from a complex array of conditions which may be challenging to identify and treat. Doctors and other medical professionals are not held legally responsible for every diagnostic error they make. However, when carelessness or negligence causes a patient harm, doctors should be held accountable. A successful medical malpractice suit includes the following elements:

  • An established doctor-patient relationship;
  • The doctor or other health care worker was negligent; and
  • The negligent party’s actions caused actual injury to the patient.

Understanding When a Doctor is Negligent

Negligence can be tricky to understand in the context of a medical malpractice suit. A misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis itself may be a mistake on the part of the health worker, but not necessarily evidence of negligence. Generally, a medical professional is negligent when he or she not provide treatment in a reasonably skilled and competent way. When deciding if a medical professional was negligent or not, courts may invite other similarly trained or experienced professionals to weigh in on the matters. If most medical professionals of similar expertise would have made a different decision than the medical professional accused of malpractice made, it is likely he or she will be considered negligent.

Damages Resulting from Misdiagnoses

In order to receive compensation in a medical malpractice suit, the patient and his or her legal team must prove that the doctor's negligent actions caused the patient damages. For example, if a delayed diagnosis of cancer caused a patient’s condition to worsen, he or she may be able to argue that the delay resulted in pain and suffering as well as additional medical bills. If a medical malpractice victim can prove his or her claim, they are entitled to “compensatory” damages for measureable financial losses, including all misdiagnosis-related medical costs and compensation for lost wages. Illinois medical malpractice victims may also be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering endured as the result of the malpractice.

An Experienced Rockford Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

To speak with a medical malpractice attorney about your possible case, contact the knowledgeable Winnebago County medical malpractice attorneys at Mannarino & Brasfield, A Division of KJS, today. To schedule your confidential, cost-free initial consultation, call us at 815-215-7561.




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