Medical misdiagnosis claims are personal injury claims which may involve:
- A wrong diagnosis;
- An incorrect diagnosis; or
- A failed diagnosis of a medical condition.
Because of these issues, medical misdiagnosis claims typically also involve medical malpractice which results in:
- Financial loss; or
- Long-term disease.
The parties who may be liable for medical misdiagnosis cases may include:
- Doctors, physicians;
- Hospital staff; and
- Medical institutions, such as when the institution has unsatisfactory diagnosis policies and procedures.
A medical misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor fails or delays in properly diagnosing a patient. This may be legally actionable if that misdiagnosis resulted in injury to the patient or further and unnecessary progression of the condition in question.
Medical misdiagnosis claims typically involve negligence and medical malpractice laws. In order for a plaintiff to prove that a doctor is liable, they must show that the healthcare professional:
- Owed a duty of care to the plaintiff;
- Breached that duty of care; and
- That breach was the actual cause of the injuries to the patient.
Causation is generally the most difficult part of medical misdiagnosis for a plaintiff to prove. In other words, it may be difficult to determine whether the healthcare professional caused the injury to the patient because of the failure to properly diagnose the condition.
For example, in cases involving cancer, metastasis, or the spread of cancer to other areas of the body, this process may be unpredictable. Therefore, if the healthcare professional fails to diagnose the cancer, it may be difficult to determine whether or not that condition would have spread even if properly diagnosed.
What are the Types of Medical Misdiagnosis?
There are numerous forms of medical misdiagnosis which may lead to other errors being made by a healthcare professional, which may include:
- A failure to diagnose, which occurs when a physician completely fails to properly diagnose or fails to detect an existing condition. For example, if the patient is suffering from various symptoms, but the healthcare professional does not recognize the connection between the symptoms and the underlying condition;
- Misdiagnosis, which occurs when a healthcare professional lists the cause of illness as one disease when the condition, in fact, is different;
- A delayed diagnosis, which occurs when a healthcare professional is unable to make a proper diagnosis until later in time when further injury may have occurred. This may also be caused by the inattention of the healthcare professional;
- Receiving improper treatment, which is not necessarily a diagnosis problem, but if the healthcare professional has made an incorrect diagnosis, it may lead to erroneous or unnecessary treatment resulting in further injury; and
- The failure to treat, which occurs when a diagnosis has been made, but the healthcare professional completely fails to treat it. This occurs, for example, if the healthcare professional was attempting to treat a different condition.
The standard of proof which a healthcare professional will be held to typically corresponds with the standards which are set by their particular field of practice. The proof required, however, may differ according to the situation of the individual patient.
For example, a healthcare professional may be held liable if they fail to diagnose a disease which is known to be easily diagnosed or detected. If, however, medical standards dictate that certain diseases are very difficult to diagnose, the healthcare professional may be held to a different standard when making a diagnosis.
What are Some Examples of Misdiagnosis?
Examples of misdiagnosis may include, but are not limited to:
- Failure to diagnose an existing condition such as, for example, fibroids
- Diagnosing the condition incorrectly, for example, diagnosing asthma when the patient actually has popcorn lung disease;
- Pregnancy misdiagnosis, or failing to diagnose a pregnancy, not diagnosing a pregnancy as twins, etc.;
- Diagnosing the incorrect patient;
- Diagnosing an ailment multiple times, which leads to unnecessary surgery or prescription medications; and
- Diagnosing an incorrect treatment, surgery, or medication for a known condition.
As previously discussed, misdiagnosis typically refers to medical misdiagnosis. In cases of medical misdiagnosis, expert medical witnesses may be required during a trial to prove what actually occurred during the diagnosis process.
What is a Bulging Disc?
Bulging discs occur when spinal discs bulge because of:
- Swelling; or
- Being out of place.
Bulging discs can also be referred to by other names, including slipped discs or herniated discs. Bulging discs can be extremely painful and may restrict an individual’s movement, both at the site of the disc bulging and for the individual’s general back or torso movements.
There are also numerous other terms which can be used interchangeably, and, in some cases, mistakenly, including:
- Ruptured discs;
- Torn discs;
- Collapsed discs;
- Disc diseases; or
- Collapsed discs.
Although each of these terms may describe slightly different conditions, bulging and swelling also is often associated with these conditions.
What Legal Issues are Associated with Bulging Disc Cases?
One of the main legal issues which is associated with a bulging disc case is medical misdiagnosis. As previously noted, there are numerous different terms which are associated with bulging discs and similar conditions.
In addition, it may be difficult to determine the condition of an individual’s disc. Therefore, these types of legal claims may involve medical misdiagnosis, which may include failing to diagnose a bulging disc condition or the characterization of a condition as something less serious than it actually is.
In addition to issues related to diagnoses, other legal issues which may be associated with bulging disc cases may include:
- Improper treatment for the bulging disc symptoms;
- Insufficient treatment or the lack of follow-up treatments;
- Prescription errors for pain; and
- Various other issues, which may be related to negligence.
Can I Recover Damages for Bulging Disc Claims?
A bulging disc case is different from other types of back injury cases because they may result from direct trauma or injuries. Therefore, it is often possible for an individual to claim damages for bulging disc issues in cases such as:
- Car accidents;
- Slip and fall cases;
- Work-related injuries; and
- Other types of cases.
Compensation for medical diagnosis claims typically are in the form of monetary damages. The injured individual may be entitled to reimbursement for things such as:
- Medical costs;
- Medical treatment; and
- Medications which are associated with the misdiagnosis.
In addition, the individual may be entitled to receive compensation for their lost wages and other damages which may be related to the misdiagnosis.
As previously discussed, the most difficult part of obtaining a legal remedy is proving that the misdiagnosis was the actual cause of the patient’s injury. If, however, the patient clearly suffered measurable injuries as a result of the misdiagnosis, the plaintiff will likely succeed in obtaining monetary damages.
In certain cases, compensation for pain and suffering may also be included. However, the availability of these types of damages may depend on the laws of the state.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Bulging Disc Claims?
It is essential to have the assistance of a personal injury lawyer for any issues, questions, or concerns you may have related to a bulging disc claim. Your lawyer can review your claim, provide you with legal guidance and advise you on the laws of your state, as well as represent you in court.