Misdiagnosis can be a matter of life and death. It can also result in the progression of disease conditions or in having to undergo dangerous or damaging treatments. If you have been seriously harmed by misdiagnosis, you may be a victim of medical malpractice and legally entitled to substantial compensation. Contact the sharp misdiagnosis attorneys at Nagel Rice LLP to find out if you have a viable case.
Why Misdiagnosis Occurs
The underlying cause of misdiagnosis that reaches the level of medical malpractice is negligence, the carelessness of medical professionals who do not give their full time and attention to patient complaints, physical evidence, medical history, and/or test results.
The major reasons for misdiagnosis include:
- Inadequate physical examination
- Failure to recognize symptoms of a medical problem
- Failure to perform regular screenings
- Failure to order appropriate diagnostic tests
- Misinterpretation of test results
- Failure to refer to a specialist
- Failure to follow up
Because misdiagnoses are not nearly as rare as one would suppose, second opinions for persistent symptoms and dismissive responses are always a good idea.
According to a 2019 research study by Johns Hopkins, the most common misdiagnoses that result in death and disability are strokes, blood infections (sepsis), and lung cancers. However, many other medical misdiagnoses have serious, even fatal consequences, including:
- Breast cancer
- Colon cancer
- Heart attack
- Pulmonary embolism
- Psychiatric conditions
- Multiple sclerosis
In many cases, the fact that the patient is not in the demographic for a particular disease may contribute to the doctor’s inability to think outside the box. For example, if a nonsmoker presents with symptoms of lung cancer, a young healthy person with symptoms of a heart attack, or an elderly person with symptoms of an STD, the doctor is more likely to come to an erroneous conclusion.
Categories of Misdiagnosis
Misdiagnosis falls into four basic categories:
This occurs when a medical professional pronounces a patient to be healthy when they are not. A false negative leaves a potentially serious condition, cancer for instance, free to worsen due to lack of treatment or even to prove fatal.
This happens when a doctor identifies a patient as suffering from one condition when they are actually suffering from another or from simply diagnosing a patient with a disease they do not have. Such a mistake can have terrible consequences, resulting, for example in a patient having a breast removed or receiving radiation or chemotherapy for no reason.
Failure to Diagnose a Root Cause
This type of misdiagnosis, treating the headache instead of the brain tumor, the cough instead of pneumonia, can clearly lead to a frightening, disastrous worsening of the undiagnosed condition.
Failure to Diagnose a Subtype
Unfortunately, failure to diagnose a subtype results in dangerous repercussions when patients with type 1 diabetes are misdiagnosed with type 2 diabetes and do not receive the insulin their body desperately needs. Similar disasters can occur when a patient is diagnosed with squamous cell skin cancer rather than melanoma since the latter can metastasize far more rapidly.
Why Misdiagnosis Victims Throughout New Jersey Turn to Nagel Rice
Our legal team is nationally recognized for exceptionally strong credentials and an impressive record of successful outcomes. Over our three decades in practice, we have won over $1 billion in settlements and verdicts for our grateful clients. We have the in-depth knowledge and legal skills to protect your rights and make sure you receive the damages you need and deserve.
Our accomplished misdiagnosis lawyers will carefully examine all medical records, interview witnesses, and handle all communications with opposing counsel. More than that, we will consult with medical experts in the appropriate field (e.g. oncology, urology, pulmonology) to verify our claim that your doctor did not behave the way a competent doctor in the same specialty would have under similar circumstances. This will go a long way to proving our case of medical malpractice.
Affidavit of Merit in New Jersey Medical Malpractice Claims
In New Jersey, we have to file a document known as an Affidavit of Merit within 60 days of receiving the defendant’s response to our lawsuit. The Affidavit of Merit is a statement by a doctor in the same field as your physician. This document must state that this expert validates, under oath, our premise that your doctor’s behavior “fell outside acceptable professional or occupational standards of treatment practices.” In other words, this respected individual will verify that your doctor was indeed negligent, violating his duty of care.
If we have good cause, we can get an extension of an additional 60 days to provide the Affidavit of Merit. However, this document is vital. If we fail to provide it we may have our case dismissed with prejudice, meaning that we won’t be able to sue at all, even in the future.
Nagel Rice Will Fight to Win Maximum Damages for You and Your Family
There is no cap on the compensatory damages you can obtain in a medical malpractice case in New Jersey. You can count on our savvy misdiagnosis attorneys to fight aggressively for every dollar of compensation you deserve for both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages will reimburse you for costs related to the malpractice, including:
- Medical, rehabilitative, and pharmaceutical expenses
- Lost income (present and future)
- Long-term nursing care
- Alterations to make your home accessible
- Replacement costs for services you can longer perform (i.e. household chores)
Non-Economic Compensation will cover intangible costs, such as:
- Physical pain
- Emotional suffering
- Permanent disability
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
If you have lost a loved one due to misdiagnosis, our compassionate attorneys are here to fight a wrongful death lawsuit on your behalf. While we know that nothing can take away your grief, we will fight vigorously to obtain funds to pay final medical and funeral expenses and to provide you with some recompense for the loss of financial and emotional support.
Contact Our Experienced Misdiagnosis Attorneys Now
While we know we cannot undo the trauma you and your family have endured, we are determined to bring you a sense of justice and to give you the resources you need to restart your life with a sense of security and control. Contact us today so we can begin formulating a winning strategy for your case.