Can I File a Medical Malpractice Claim if I Was Misdiagnosed?

There are many different types of medical malpractice, but one of the most unsettling problems involves errors in diagnosis. A delay in a proper diagnosis means the medical condition has time to worsen or even become terminal. A misdiagnosis can also lead to a patient getting unnecessary medical treatments rather than the ones they need. Research conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine shows that the most frequently misdiagnosed conditions are cancers, infections, and vascular events. These three conditions alone make up nearly 75% of all patient harm associated with misdiagnosis. Delays in correctly identifying or diagnosing medical conditions are incredibly devastating for the patient since many diseases can be treated if they are detected early. According to Virginia medical malpractice laws, victims can recover financial compensation if they are able to prove that a physician failed to meet the medical standard of care when treating them. If you experienced harm due to a misdiagnosis or other medical error, an experienced Virginia Beach medical malpractice lawyer from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can advise you on your legal options. Call today to schedule a free consultation. 

What Are the Elements Of A Misdiagnosis Case?

Although they are grounded in the legal concept of negligence, medical malpractice claims based on misdiagnosis are somewhat different than other types of personal injury cases. In a misdiagnosis case, you have to prove that: 

  • A doctor/patient relationship existed 
  • The doctor breached the standard of care by acting negligently
  • The injuries sustained were a direct result of this breach
  • The misdiagnosis led to resulting damages

How Can Someone Be Misdiagnosed?

A lot of mistakes in diagnosing a patient’s medical condition could give rise to a medical malpractice claim. These errors include:  

  • Inaccurate diagnosis: This occurs when a healthcare provider diagnoses a patient with the wrong condition. This can result in the patient receiving dangerous or unnecessary medical treatments.  
  • Delayed diagnosis: The healthcare provider takes too long to diagnose a patient’s illness, meaning certain treatment options are no longer effective or available.
  • Failure to recognize complications: The healthcare provider correctly diagnoses the patient’s medical condition, but fails to recognize and treat related complications.
  • Failure to diagnose an associated condition: The healthcare provider fails to identify and treat other health problems relating to a properly diagnosed condition.  

Other common causes of misdiagnosis include:

  • Misinterpreting test results
  • Failure to order appropriate tests
  • Failure to refer to a specialist
  • Failure to follow up
  • Failure to fully review a patient’s medical history
  • Mixing up test results or patient medical records

Virginia Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice

The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims based on misdiagnosis in Virginia is two years from the day the injury occurred. Failing to file a lawsuit before this deadline passes means you will be barred from collecting financial compensation. When a medical mistake is not determined to be the cause of illness, injury, or death until long after the error was made, the statute begins running on the day of discovery. A 3-year statute applies in cases of objects left behind during surgery. In cases where a misdiagnosis causes a fatality, the statute of limitations begins running on the day the death occurred. 

Virginia Medical Malpractice Cap 

Virginia limits the amount of money that can be recovered in a medical malpractice claim, including cases of misdiagnosis. State law provides for a $50,000 yearly increase in medical malpractice caps until 2031 when the limit will reach $3 million. This cap applies to all Virginia medical malpractice claims for cases resolved through trial by judge or jury and is for the total amount of compensation for any injuries or fatalities stemming from medical malpractice, including punitive damages.  

Were You Medically Misdiagnosed?

The first and most crucial step to take in a misdiagnosis case is seeking skilled legal representation. An experienced Virginia Beach personal injury lawyer from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can assist you in collecting strong evidence to support your claim, dealing with insurance-related matters on your behalf, and advocating for you in court. 

Given the consequential and overwhelming nature of a medical misdiagnosis claim, it is essential to partner with a medical malpractice lawyer who has a track record of success in litigating these types of claims as we did when we secured a $2.23 million jury verdict for the family of a woman who died due to a delayed diagnosis of hospital sepsis. If you suspect you were misdiagnosed, call us at (833) 997-1774 or contact us via our website to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. Our offices are located in Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Hampton, and Norfolk. 

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