Misdiagnoses and Failure to Diagnose Lawyer

If a medical misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose by a medical professional has harmed you or a loved one, you could be entitled to compensation. Not only is a misdiagnosis traumatizing and potentially medically harmful, but it can also affect your livelihood, prognosis, and quality of life. Talk to an experienced misdiagnosis lawyer at Freedland Harwin Valori Gander to learn how your case could make you eligible for damages.

Written and edited by our team of expert legal content writers and reviewed and approved by Daniel Harwin

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Hundreds of thousands die or develop life-changing disabilities every year after receiving misdiagnoses for their diseases or injuries. Over 420,000 people each year suffer brain damage, vision loss, loss of limbs, organ damage, or widespread cancer due to a medical professional missing their condition.

When a health care provider misses your condition, the odds are that your misdiagnosis affects your well-being, ability to work, and ability to function. If the health care provider didn’t meet the minimum duty of care, you could be entitled to compensation. 

An experienced team of misdiagnosis attorneys can present your case so you receive the compensation you deserve. If you’re struggling with a misdiagnosis in Florida, Freedland Harwin Valori Gander will be with you through the entire legal process.

Can You Sue if You or a Loved One Was Misdiagnosed in Florida?

You can sue if a misdiagnosis by a medical professional results from negligence and leads to demonstrable harm. 

A misdiagnosis can be a type of medical malpractice. You can file a lawsuit if your doctor, hospital, or lab breached their duty of care. Healthcare professionals are legally obligated to provide a reasonable standard of care. This also applies to pediatric cases, where doctors may fail to diagnose problems in children, leading to potential pediatric errors.

However, not all misdiagnoses or failures to diagnose conditions result from negligence. A misdiagnosis can occur even when your provider goes above and beyond the standard of care. 

You could also be misdiagnosed because lab results don’t clearly show your disorder’s typical diagnostic signs, imaging is too unclear for even experienced providers to interpret, or your disorder presents atypically. 

The statute of limitations limits your time to file a malpractice suit against the provider who misdiagnosed you. The length of time is different in each state. For instance, in Florida, the statute is two years from the date of the medical error. 

If you’re unsure whether your health care provider gave you the minimum standard of care, take the time to consult with our experienced malpractice lawyers at Freedland Harwin Valori Gander. Our medical malpractice law firm in Fort Lauderdale and Coral Gables, Florida handles cases across the state and nation. We can help you understand whether you have a strong case for a lawsuit.

Legal Definition of Misdiagnosis

A misdiagnosis occurs when the provider makes the wrong diagnosis, fails to diagnose the actual medical condition, or does not diagnose a health condition in a timely manner. 

Florida doesn’t have a specific legal definition for misdiagnoses, but a misdiagnosis may comprise medical negligence if it results from a breach of the duty of care.

Under Florida Statutes Chapter 766, Section 102, medical negligence occurs when a health care provider breaches the prevailing professional standard of care, which is defined by the statute as follows:

The prevailing professional standard of care for a given health care provider shall be that level of care, skill, and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar health care providers.

Misdiagnoses Examples

Some misdiagnoses or failures to diagnose conditions result from negligence and constitute medical malpractice. Others happen even though the health care providers met the appropriate standards of care. Those do not constitute malpractice.

Negligent Misdiagnosis Examples

Here are some examples of negligent misdiagnosis:

  • An elderly gentleman presented to the ER with a spinal cord injury. However, the injury went undiagnosed, worsened, and left him with a permanent spinal cord injury. Freedland Harwin Valori Gander obtained a $5.3 million settlement for him. 
  • A woman presented to the emergency room with signs and symptoms of a pulmonary embolism. However,  the condition was undiagnosed, and the woman died. Freedland Harwin Valori Gander represented her family in a wrongful death action and obtained a $1.4 million settlement.  We have handled many cases involving the failure to diagnose a pulmonary embolism.
  • A common type of misdiagnosis involves failing to diagnose an ischemic stroke. Our firm has handled many cases involving patients who presented to the hospital or physician with signs/symptoms of a stroke that were ignored and led to a significant delay in treatment.
  • Sandra Kaus received a stage III breast cancer diagnosis. Within two weeks, her doctor informed her that she should have been diagnosed earlier. She underwent a double mastectomy, which would have been unnecessary if she had been diagnosed sooner.
  • A patient at the University of Kansas received a false pancreatic cancer diagnosis. She had a healthy organ removed, which the hospital covered up. Soon, she learned that she never had cancer after all.

Misdiagnosis Without Negligence

You must demonstrate negligence to win compensation in a misdiagnosis case. However, a doctor can order all the proper tests and fulfill their duty of care, but you may still receive incorrect results and a missed diagnosis. 

Some examples of misdiagnosis without negligence include:

  • Atypical presentation: Sometimes, a patient’s symptoms might not fit the typical pattern for their condition’s presentation, making it harder to narrow down the cause. This is especially true if your symptoms mimic a more common ailment. 
  • Incomplete information: Your doctor’s screening and testing recommendations depend on having a complete medical history. If your doctor doesn’t have all of your family history, surgical history, or current history on file, they could miss a serious diagnosis. 
  • Diagnostic testing limitations: Diagnostic tests aren’t infallible. False negatives or false positives can lead to a wrong diagnosis.

How To Prove You Were Misdiagnosed

For your medical malpractice claim or lawsuit to succeed, you must prove your health care provider negligently misdiagnosed you, causing you harm. To do that, you must establish certain elements.

Health Care Provider-Patient Relationship

You must demonstrate that you had a provider-patient relationship with the health care provider, giving rise to a duty of care.

Duty of Care and Breach

A health care provider has the legal duty of care to provide the minimum acceptable standard of services. A health care provider breaches that duty of care when they fail to provide acceptable care. Examples of such a breach include the failure to order appropriate tests, misreading imaging results, or missing significant symptoms.

Causation and Harm

You must also establish both causation and harm. It must be clear from your medical records, expert testimony, and other evidence that the provider directly harmed you with their failure to meet their duty of care. You must also establish that you would not have suffered the harm but for the provider’s negligence.

Expert Testimony

The opinion of a subject-matter expert carries hefty weight in any lawsuit case, so an experienced law team will find a specialist who can support your legal claims with an in-depth analysis.

Why You Should Hire Freedland, Harwin, Valori, and Gander to Pursue a Misdiagnoses Lawsuit

FHVG has over 20 years of experience to guide you in the right direction. We’ve recovered over $2.6 billion in damages for clients who suffered from a misdiagnosis incident. 

A few of our successful cases include the following:

  • A $5.3 million settlement for failure to diagnose an epidural abscess, leading to paralysis  
  • A $2.7 million settlement for failure to read testing results appropriately, leading to a delayed cancer diagnosis 
  • A $1.25 million settlement for failure to timely diagnose and treat a post-operative infection after a total knee arthroplasty

Our clients are regularly satisfied, including one who had the following to say:

“I met Dan (Harwin) when I was in therapy and he came and right away it felt like a family member visiting you, a connection, like a brother. He’s been on both sides of the fence. He’s represented the hospitals and the doctors, and then he jumped over to the other side. It is a fantastic group, it was like Bill Belichick leading the team. They changed my life and still check on me. I recommend FHVG to anybody and they thank me.” – Larry

Pursuing Compensation in Florida Misdiagnosis Lawsuits

You could be eligible to receive a few types of damages as compensation in a misdiagnosis lawsuit. They include:

  • Medical expenses, both current and future
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity and opportunities
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Emotional distress

Steps in a Misdiagnosis Lawsuit

Pursuing compensation after a misdiagnosis can be a complicated and long process. Throughout the process, our misdiagnosis lawyers will remain by your side every step of the way. It’s typical for your relationship with a lawyer to follow this progression:

  • Consultation: First, you’ll meet with one of our attorneys specializing in medical malpractice. We will assess the viability of your case by gathering information about the misdiagnosis, the nature and extent of harm caused, and evidence of negligence on the provider’s part.
  • Establishing malpractice: To pursue a medical malpractice claim, you must prove a health care provider’s actions deviated from the standard of care and led to harm. We will work with medical specialists to determine whether the provider breached this standard. 
  • Investigating and gathering evidence: We will conduct a thorough investigation and gather evidence to support the case, including medical records, diagnostic tests, expert testimonies, and statements from the client. We can also collect your medical records and interview witnesses.
  • Filing the lawsuit: Once we determine there’s a strong case, we will file a lawsuit on your behalf against the health care provider or institution responsible for the misdiagnosis. 
  • Discovery phase: During this process, you’ll exchange information and evidence related to the case with other involved parties. It can include depositions, documents, and transcripts of interrogations. 
  • Expert witnesses: We will need a medical specialist to offer a professional opinion on the standard of care. The expert will discuss how the other party deviated from that standard of care and how the misdiagnosis caused harm. 
  • Settlement negotiations: Before the trial, we will negotiate with the opposition to obtain a settlement for the compensation you deserve. If the negotiations succeed, you can avoid going to court. 
  • Going to trial: If we cannot obtain a fair settlement, our skilled and experienced trial attorneys will try your case. It is important that when you hire an attorney for a potential malpractice claim, that you hire someone the defense knows will take the case to trial if necessary.
  • Verdict and compensation: The judge or jury will deliver a verdict after the trial. If you win, you will be awarded compensation for damages. These damages may include pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages. 
  • Appeals: If either party is dissatisfied with the verdict, they may choose to appeal the decision. We will advise you on the proper steps to take.

Having a skilled legal team at your disposal is critical to help you maximize your compensation. We can help you gather comprehensive medical records to substantiate your case and calculate the long-term impact of your misdiagnosis case.

Get Started on Your Diagnostic Error Lawsuit Today

Don’t wait for justice in your misdiagnosis case. The statute of limitations limits the time you have to pursue a claim. It’s critical to get the legal process rolling as soon as possible. 

Put our 20+ years of experience to work for you. Contact us for a free consultation anytime, or call (954) 945-8203.

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