What Is the Legal Recourse for Misdiagnosis in New York State?
People trust doctors to properly diagnose their ailments. While not all problems can be correctly diagnosed in a timely manner, medical professionals have the duty to properly diagnose those conditions that other medical professionals would have been successful in identifying. If they don’t, they can face liability for a misdiagnosis.
Medical misdiagnosis refers to a category of medical malpractice errors relating to the faulty diagnosis of a patient. These errors include:
- Incorrect diagnosis: A doctor provides a patient with a wrong diagnosis
- Delayed diagnosis: A physician fails to diagnose a condition in a timely manner when other reasonable physicians would have
- Failure to diagnose: A physician simply does not identify a condition that others would have
Other instances of medical misdiagnosis include failure to identify complications and failure to recognize secondary conditions. In every case of misdiagnosis, an injury victim seeking compensation must demonstrate that any other reasonable medical professional would not have committed a misdiagnosis error in their case.
Legal Recourse for Misdiagnosis
Because physicians and other medical professionals have a duty of care toward their patients, they may be sued for damages when they violate this duty and cause injuries or death. To be successful in their case, a victim must demonstrate that the physician’s actions fell below the accepted standards of medical care. This detailed task requires significant medical knowledge.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
If you have suffered a misdiagnosis, the main recourse you have for seeking justice is a medical malpractice lawsuit.
However, before your suit can be filed, an attorney must fill out a certificate in which they declare that they have investigated the case thoroughly and consulted at least one qualified medical expert to come to the conclusion that they believe malpractice has occurred. This requirement protects the medical profession from endless frivolous lawsuits.
You may demand economic damages for the financial losses caused by your misdiagnosis. These damages cover the following losses:
- Any medical treatment you’ve gotten as a result of the misdiagnosis
- Lost wages occasioned by a loss of work and employment opportunities
- Miscellaneous costs paid to cover home care services, such as yard work and cleaning
If the misdiagnosis causes death, then the personal representative of the decedent may file a wrongful death lawsuit and seek funeral and burial expenses as well as lost inheritance, loss of financial support, and loss of household support. Any compensation awarded goes to specific family members.
Victims of misdiagnoses may also claim a host of non-economic damages, which cover non-pecuniary losses, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Psychological distress
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of consortium
Once again, in the event of a death, the personal representative may seek wrongful death damages, which include non-economic damages, that address the pain and suffering of the deceased before dying, as well as loss of parental and familial guidance and nurturing.
Punitive damages are reserved for those cases in which the court seeks to make an example out of the defendant. Punitive damages are awarded only when the defendant’s conduct is malicious, spiteful, or evil in some way and demonstrates a conscious and intentional disregard for others’ rights.
No Cap on Damages
New York is one of the few states that don’t establish a cap on medical malpractice damages. This means juries are free to award significant compensation to patients who have had to deal with the horror of a misdiagnosis.
Statute of Limitations
As you can see, there is a clear avenue for victims of misdiagnoses to pursue compensation for their losses. However, swift action is of the essence in cases of this nature. Victims of medical malpractice of any sort in New York have two years and six months from the date of the misdiagnosis to start a case for damages.
Patients with valid claims lose out on significant compensation all the time for waiting too long to act. Don’t let this happen to you.
Turn to a Medical Malpractice Lawyer for Help
No one deserves to experience the tragedy of a misdiagnosis. If a medical professional’s negligence has caused them to misdiagnose you or someone you love, call Silberstein, Awad & Miklos to learn how our medical malpractice lawyers can fight for the compensation you need for the losses you have suffered. Call today.