A medical misdiagnosis can have life-altering effects on a patient. In fact, medical errors are the third-leading causing of death in the United States today. Does this mean that medical malpractice is at play here? Absolutely. A misdiagnosis is just as severe as incorrect treatment, as it falls into the category of neglect. Throughout the United States, a large number of medical malpractice lawsuits stem from a case of medical misdiagnosis. Here’s how to prove your case…
Defining Medical Misdiagnosis
A medical malpractice lawsuit is 100% valid if it falls into the category of misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of an injury, illness, or any other medical condition.
When a medical professional’s diagnosis is inconclusive, delayed or non-existent, this leads to delayed treatment, incorrect treatment, or no treatment at all. In short, this misdiagnosis only exacerbates an illness or disease, which can even result in death.
With this in mind, medical misdiagnosis itself holds enough ground for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
How To Prove a Misdiagnosis Claim
In order to prove a case of misdiagnosis, medical negligence must be at the center of all your arguments. You will need to prove these four key elements:
- A Valid Patient-Doctor Relationship
You must prove that your relationship with the doctor that treated you was legitimate and you have medical records to prove this. The same goes for a consulting physician–you must have physical proof that they treated you directly.
- Your Doctor Was Negligent
If you are unhappy, depressed, or resentful of a diagnosis, this does not mean your doctor is liable for medical malpractice. You must prove that your doctor’s negligence has caused you legitimate physical suffering.
In other words, you should be able to prove that there is a connection between your doctor’s misdiagnosis and your medical condition.
- Medical Negligence Caused Your Suffering
In many medical malpractice lawsuits, it may be difficult to prove that a patient who was already sick or injured suffered from medical negligence.
For example, if a patient dies of cancer, it may be difficult to prove that the death was caused by a doctor rather than by the disease. In this case, you will have to prove that it was “more likely than not” the fault of a doctor’s negligence or misdiagnosis.
Generally, you will need the testimony of a medical expert in order to prove this type of negligence.
- Your Suffering Has Led to Other Damages
Even if you’re able to prove medical negligence by your doctor, you won’t be able to sue without proving you suffered harm. In some cases, this harm doesn’t have to be physical.
You also have a case for medical malpractice if you suffered from severe mental anguish; crippling, yet unnecessary, medical bills; and the incapacity to work and earn a living.
Understanding the Statute of Limitations in Illinois
From state to state across the United States, a patient has a specific time limit in which to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations.
In the state of Illinois, a patient has up to two years to file a medical malpractice claim. This is from the date that the patient fell ill, experienced symptoms, or was injured. A medical professional is also defined as a doctor, nurse, or dentist.
In contrast, a patient may not file a lawsuit more than four years after experiencing any form of medical neglect. In this case, the statute of limitations is enforced.
The state of Illinois does provide one exception in the case of minors below the age of 18. They have up to eight years to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, provided this is done before the age of 22.
Need a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
Every year, thousands of U.S. citizens fall victim to medical misdiagnosis and medical malpractice.
Don’t be another statistic. Let us help you win the compensation you so rightly deserve. Contact the Steigmann Law team today for expert assistance.