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California Failure To Diagnose Attorney

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A visit to a doctor is predicated on a sense of trust – or at least it should be. After all, they’ve earned that trust through their training, expertise, and experience, so whether they diagnose an illness or send you home with a good bill of health, you should be able to take their word for it. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. In fact, the majority of medical malpractice claims are the result of a doctor’s failure to diagnose a serious medical condition. When an oversight of this kind can mean the difference between life and death, there is simply no room for negligence in the medical field.

If you have suffered health problems due to a failure to diagnose a serious condition, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim. At Berberian Ain, LLP, our team of experienced failure to diagnose lawyers can review your situation to determine if legal action is recommended to recover compensation on your behalf.

What is “Failure to Diagnose”?

“Failure to diagnose” is a specific type of medical malpractice claim in which a doctor or medical professional either fails to diagnose, misdiagnoses, or delays the diagnosis of a serious disease or illness such as cancer, heart disease, or stroke, which can lead to the problem worsening, further complications, and even death.

When it comes to serious medical conditions, every week, day, and even hour that passes without the proper treatment is absolutely critical, because it could mean that the patient may lose his or her window of opportunity for recovery. Should a patient be left untreated, his or her health may worsen. When the right diagnosis and treatment are finally discovered, the patient may then be limited to only a partial recovery or none at all. In the worst cases, the patient may suffer a wrongful death.

Have you been harmed by a failure to timely diagnose your health condition? Let a failure to diagnose lawyer evaluate your potential case by contacting us at (818) 808-0048.

What Leads to a Diagnostic Error?

It goes without saying that doctors are not infallible. Like all people, they can make mistakes. But when a failed, missed, or delayed diagnosis is caused by an act of carelessness or a mistake that could have easily been avoided, then human error certainly does not qualify as a viable excuse.

Common causes for diagnostic errors in the medical field can include:

  • Inattention or negligence in recognizing symptoms
  • Poor communication between doctors, nurses, and clinicians
  • Inaccurate interpretations of test results or medical charts
  • Failure to refer a patient to the appropriate specialist
  • Failure to refer a patient to a more acute level of care
  • Misplaced paperwork and clerical errors
  • Failure to order the proper diagnostic tests
  • Failure to follow up on diagnostic tests in a timely fashion

Examples of Diagnostic Errors

The most common failure to diagnose cases include:

  • Cancer. Failure to diagnose any type of cancer such as lung cancer, breast cancer, lymphoma, colon cancer, skin cancer, and prostate cancer can have extremely devastating consequences. When caught early, many of these types of cancer are survivable. If a doctor fails to diagnose a patient’s cancer in a timely manner, the spread of abnormal cells in the body can quickly become uncontrollable, untreatable, and deadly.
  • Heart Attack or Stroke. One common example of a doctor overlooking symptoms is when a patient comes into the emergency room complaining of severe chest pains. In some cases, these chest pains could simply be a symptom of heart burn. However, the doctor should not assume the condition is heartburn. If the proper tests are not ordered and the patient later suffers a heart attack, the doctor should be held accountable for the misdiagnosis.
  • Spinal Disease. A spinal disease such as an abscess is completely treatable when it is properly diagnosed. Failure to diagnose can lead to extremely serious health complications including paralysis.
  • Infections. While some infections are mild (such as the common cold), there are others that can be much more serious. Failure to diagnose bacterial or viral infections can lead to sepsis, septicemia, coma, brain damage, or paralysis. 

Failure to Diagnose: Injury Claims

If you have suffered health problems due to a failure to diagnose a serious condition, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim.

These types of injury claims are often very complex legal matters. A thorough investigation of the facts and circumstances of the case is required. An understanding of both medical and legal procedures is also required. Furthermore, the testimony of expert witnesses must show what should have occurred instead of what did occur in handling the patient and be able to communicate this to a judge and jury.

At Berberian Ain, LLP, our failure to diagnose attorneys are experienced in providing skilled legal representation throughout all phases of personal injury cases. Our firm is dedicated to seeking maximum compensation for losses caused by medical malpractice and other forms of negligence.

What Compensatory Damages Can A Patient Recover?

Victims of medical malpractice in California can sue a doctor or medical professional for failing to diagnose an illness and recover the following damages:

  • Economic damages including medical bills, prescription fees, nursing costs, physical and occupational therapy, lost wages, and future capacity to earn.
  • Non-economic damages for non-monetary losses such as pain and suffering, emotional injuries, loss of consortium (note: according to California Civil Code 3333.2, there is a cap of $250,000 on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases).
  • Punitive damages are different from economic and non-economic damages in that they are designed to punish the defendant for committing oppression, malice, or fraud.

What is the Statute of Limitations for a Failure to Diagnose Case?

In California, the victim must file a failure to diagnose lawsuit no later than three years after the date of the injury or one year after the discovery of the injury.

If the victim is a minor (under 18 years of age), then the lawsuit must be filed no later than three years after the alleged wrongful act, or, if they were less than 6 years old at the time of the injury, before the child’s eighth birthday.

Exceptions that could extend the statute of limitations for medical malpractice in California include:

  • The healthcare provider committed fraud or intentionally hid the medical mistake.
  • The medical professional unintentionally left a foreign object with no therapeutic or diagnostic purpose inside the patient (i.e. a surgical instrument accidentally left behind after a procedure).

Our Medical Malpractice Attorneys Are Here To Help

Your case may seem overwhelming in the beginning, but there are others who have been in similar situations and found a way forward. Our team can help you make the next steps. Contact Berberian Ain LLP today to schedule a free initial consultation with our lawyers. You can also call us at 818-808-0048.