Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis account for a large percentage of medical malpractice complaints and interestingly, when surveyed, tends to fall onto doctors who don’t treat patients kindly rather than the actual prognosis of the consultation.
The key in proving a medical malpractice claim based on misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis is the reasonable comparison test. What did the treating doctor do (or didn’t do), and how would other competent and reputable doctors have done? Is it reasonable to expect the average doctor of that specialty to do the same thing or different? Is it reasonable to assume that most other doctors would have made the same misdiagnosis?
A lot of complications can occur at childbirth, including:
- Failure to diagnose a medical condition of the mother
- Failure to identify birth defects
- Failure to identify ectopic pregnancies, or
- Failure to diagnose a disease that could be contagious to the mother’s fetus
- Failure to respond to signs of fetal distress
- Failure to order a cesarean section when one was appropriate, or
- Incompetent use of forceps or a vacuum extractor
These suits are related to incorrectly prescribing medication, or prescribing the wrong amount of medication to a patient. For drug related cases, please see our drug injuries page.
Anesthesia & Surgery Errors
Complications can occur from negligence from the anesthesiologist or surgeon depending on the situation. These cases can be difficult to establish, however situations have arisen in certain hospitals that warrant this type of case.
Dental Surgery Errors
Dentists can also be liable for improper dental work and that severely impair the patient’s jawline, cause head trauma, and suffer unnecessary pain.
Juries are less sympathetic to elective cosmetic plastic surgery procedures, however because of the increasing popularity of plastic surgery, more and more doctors are entering the field and more likely to make negligent mistakes.
Generally speaking, medical malpractice claims are complex, including expert witnesses and testimony from various parties. The victim must prove the following:
- Establish that their doctor made an unreasonable mistake that would not have been made by another doctor under the same circumstances.
- Demonstrate how their doctor’s mistake harmed them in a way that they would not have been if they received different treatment.
- Show the extent of the damages sustained as a result of the doctor’s negligence.
Medical malpractice cases must be brought soon after the injury; in California, this is three years from the date of one’s injury, or if the person could not have known at the date of one’s injury, one year from the date at which a person realizes an injury has occurred. This time period in which one may file a claim is referred to as the “statute of limitations.” Statutes of limitations vary based on the type of suit being filed. If a lawsuit is not filed within the specific period of allotted time, the court will automatically dismiss the case, regardless of the facts of the injuries of the patient/victim.
How We Can Help
An issue that often arises in such cases, especially, is that of whether to sue for compensatory as well as punitive damages. The former refers to costs sought to be recouped just by virtue of having experienced an injury, so it includes an estimate of what it will take financially to make the injured or aggrieved party whole. However, punitive damages are often sought, especially when a medical provider acted so improperly, and especially when there is cause to believe that such conduct is routine rather than an aberration.
In medical malpractice cases, expert testimony is often required, to prove in a scientific manner that the injuries incurred were, in fact, significant and thus deserving of some measure of compensation. In such cases, will discuss the nature of your injuries, including how the incident arose, and all of the other relevant particulars to strengthen your case, which will undoubtedly help in increasing the chance that you are able to secure leverage in settlement talks or in winning the case.