Most of us know this frightening statistic — one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Perhaps even more frightening, however, is that, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, as many as 31 percent of breast cancers are misdiagnosed. The New York Times reports that tens of thousands cases of metastatic breast cancer are misdiagnosed annually. These facts are especially disturbing because breast cancer treatment has the highest chance of success if detected and correctly diagnosed early enough. Whether a breast cancer is erroneously missed on a mammogram, or a cyst or other lesion is mistakenly diagnosed as a malignancy, far too many women, and some men, have suffered terribly as a result of a breast cancer misdiagnosis.
If you or a loved one has been misdiagnosed with breast cancer or misdiagnosed as being free of a breast malignancy, you can file a lawsuit against those who caused you physical, emotional, and financial distress. If you live in New Jersey, you should consult with our skilled, compassionate team of personal injury attorneys at Nagel Rice LLP. We are prepared to file a medical malpractice lawsuit on your behalf and will work diligently to make sure that you receive just compensation for the awful ordeal you have been through or continue to endure. If you have lost a loved one to a breast cancer misdiagnosis, we will assist you in filing a wrongful death suit. Though it will never replace your lost family member, it may bring you some measure of justice.
While the statistics on breast cancer misdiagnosis vary widely depending on which study is used as a reference, all sources agree that mistakes occur much more frequently when the doctor consulted is not a breast cancer specialist and that even a few mistaken diagnoses are too many. Nagel Rice attorneys have won millions of dollars to compensate patients who have suffered and/or died as a result of a delayed or mistaken diagnosis. In two breast misdiagnosis cases, we won settlements of $700,00 and $400,000 for the two plaintiffs.
The Ways Mistakes in Breast Cancer Diagnosis Occur
Medical mistakes can occur anywhere along the path to diagnosis. Most often such errors occur when mammograms or ultrasounds are misread or signs of the malignancy, such as a lump in the breast or a swollen lymph node, are missed during examination. Some doctors, even though they notice a lump, take a wait and see approach, failing to order a mammogram or needle biopsy in a timely manner when prompt and thorough follow-up is required. Even when mammograms, ultrasounds, and needle biopsies are performed, results can be misread or misinterpreted by the radiologist. A mistake or oversight anywhere along the diagnostic line can lead to disaster.
Although some misdiagnoses are picked up in time and no major harm is done, except psychologically, too frequently misdiagnosed breast cancers result in unnecessary, uncomfortable, dangerous, or disfiguring medical interventions, or, even worse, in the death of a patient who should have received prompt, aggressive treatment. At Nagel Rice we are dedicated to protecting your rights and seeing that those responsible for such egregious mistakes pay, insofar as it is possible, for your pain.
Types of Injuries Caused by Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis
There can be any number of negative consequences of a breast cancer misdiagnosis, including:
- Unnecessary radiation and/or chemotherapy, both of which have side effects
- Unnecessary surgery — lumpectomy or mastectomy (unnecessary mutilation)
- Delayed treatment that allows the cancer to progress and metastasize
- Need for reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation
- Medical bills, lost wages
- Physical pain and emotional suffering
- Wrongful death
At Nagel Rice we are dedicated to fighting for victims of breast cancer misdiagnosis and all other types of medical malpractice. We know only too well the pain and difficulty such negligence can cause the patient and the patient’s loved ones.
Our Legal Knowledge and Medical Consultants Can Help
Whatever action or lack of action has caused your difficulties, Nagel Rice attorneys can assist you. We not only are savvy about medical malpractice law, but we have access to medical experts who will provide “Affidavits of Merit,” documents required by New Jersey law to proceed with medical malpractice suits. In the Affidavit of Merit, which must be given to the defendant’s lawyer within 60 days of response to the lawsuit, a well-credentialed doctor in the breast cancer field must declare under oath that there is “a reasonable probability that the care, skill or knowledge exercised or exhibited in the treatment, practice or work that is the subject of the complaint, fell outside acceptable professional or occupational standards or treatment practices.”
Damages You Are Entitled To Receive If Your Breast Cancer Has Been Misdiagnosed
At a victim of medical malpractice in New Jersey you are entitled to two basic types of compensation: economic and non-economic damages.
- Economic damages are meant to reimburse you for actual, calculable expenses, such as medical and rehabilitative costs, lost wages (present and future), and ongoing disability and health costs.
- Non-economic damages are designed to compensate you for non-tangibles, such as physical pain, emotional suffering, disfigurement, and loss of quality of life.
In rare cases where the medical negligence is particularly egregious, resulting in the unnecessary removal of a breast or the fatal progression of disease, Nagel Rice attorneys may be able to obtain punitive damages for you, monies over and above the compensatory damages you receive. Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant and to serve as a deterrent to others who may be reckless when dispensing a medical case.
Are there caps on damages for medical malpractice in New Jersey?
According to New Jersey law, there are no caps to either of economic or non-economic damages. Punitive damages in the state, however, do have a cut-off: $350,000 or five times the awarded compensatory damages, whichever is greater. You can be sure that when you come to Nagel Rice with your case of breast cancer misdiagnosis you will be treated with care and compassion and that we will fight hard to get you and your family every dollar you deserve.
Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations in New Jersey
Under New Jersey law there is a 2-year statute of limitations for filing a claim, usually dating from the time the harm was inflicted. Exceptions are made under some circumstances, however, extending the time limit to 2 years from the date on which you discovered, or could reasonably have been expected to discover, that you suffered harm as a result of medical malpractice. This extension is important in cases of breast cancer misdiagnoses when the harm resulting from the medical mistake may often not cause disastrous harm until years later.
Our Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawyers Want to Help
If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of a breast cancer misdiagnosis, our experienced trial attorneys know exactly what to do to help you receive the damages you deserve. Once we take your case, you can trust our medical malpractice knowledge, our powerful work ethic, and our moral commitment to win you the highest possible compensation. Please get in touch with us by phone or by filling out a contact form on our website.