Failure to Diagnose or Misdiagnosis

Johnson City Injury Attorneys Handling Medical Malpractice Claims

Patients rely on doctors and other medical providers to listen carefully to their symptoms and complaints, run any necessary tests, and correctly interpret the results of those tests. When this does not happen, a patient can lose crucial treatment time or even be treated for the wrong illness. Serious injuries and wrongful death can result. The attorneys of the Meade Injury Law Group in Johnson City are prepared to pursue maximum compensation for all forms of medical malpractice, including misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose, for victims throughout East Tennessee.

Diagnosis Errors and Tennessee Malpractice Law

Tennessee medical malpractice law also called health care liability law, requires that a potential malpractice claimant proves that his or her injuries would not have occurred absent negligent conduct by a doctor, hospital, or other medical providers. The first step in this process is establishing the duty that the medical provider owed the patient at the time of the alleged medical error.

This requires the use of expert testimony from a medical provider who was licensed in Tennessee or one of the eight states that border Tennessee at the time of the act for which the patient seeks to recover damages. Prior to filing a lawsuit, the patient must file a certificate of good faith confirming that he or she has, in fact, consulted an appropriate medical expert and that the expert believes that there is a basis for filing suit based upon the information that is available.

Once the case is filed and the matter proceeds towards a trial by jury, the claimant must also show that the defendant breached the duty of care owed to him or her, that the claimant was damaged because of such breached duty, and that the claimant’s damages were actually caused by the defendant’s breach of duty.

A claimant may seek compensation for both economic and noneconomic damages resulting from an act of malpractice. “Economic” damages are those that are relatively easy to calculate and may include reasonable and necessary medical care, rehabilitation services, custodial care, loss of income, and loss of services. Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify and may include elements such as pain and suffering. If any damages claimed by the patient have been paid by another party, such as by insurance provided by an employer, social security benefits, service benefit programs, or unemployment benefits, the defendant may be entitled to an offset.

Types of Diagnostic Errors

Sometimes, a medical provider makes an inaccurate diagnosis, and the patient receives the treatment that may exacerbate – rather than improve - the patient’s actual condition. Doctors may also fail to diagnose any medical condition at all, when in fact, the patient is very ill. Misinterpretation of tests can result in a physician or other health care provider failing to:

  • Order further tests, such as a biopsy or blood tests;
  • Refer the patient to a specialist; and/or
  • Diagnose a rapidly advancing condition, such as cancer.

These types of mistakes can be made by emergency room doctors, radiologists, family doctors, and others. Any medical provider or health care facility that was at least partially at fault in a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose case may be named as a defendant. If more than one party is at fault, the jury can allocate fault between the defendants.

Time Limits for Medical Malpractice Claims

The Tennessee statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is very short, especially compared to other states. In Tennessee, a patient has just one year to file suit, or else he or she is barred from any recovery against the health care providers whose negligence caused him or her further injury. Only in rare cases is this time period extended, and even then the patient usually has only a maximum of three years to file suit.

Johnson City Lawyers Who Can Help with Error in Diagnosis Cases

Unfortunately, medical errors are relatively commonplace in our society. Success in a medical malpractice lawsuit is, however, far from a given. There is a tremendous amount of work that must be done before a case is even filed, and that is only the tip of the iceberg. The medical malpractice lawyers at the Meade Injury Law Group handle claims arising in and around Johnson City, including those involving birth injuries, failure to diagnose, and other errors.

If you would like to schedule a free initial consultation, call us today at (423) 464-7779 or contact us online. We welcome clients from throughout East Tennessee, including Kingsport, Greeneville, and Mountain City.

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