Medical misdiagnosis occurs when a medical practitioner fails to diagnose a medical condition or wrongfully diagnoses a patient with the wrong condition. Medical diagnosis can be detrimental and can lead to serious consequences for the patient.
Some examples of misdiagnosis include:
- Making the wrong diagnosis: this includes diagnosing a patient with the complete wrong disease or condition.
- Delayed diagnosis: this occurs when a medical practitioner makes the correct diagnosis however after a considerable amount of time has passed.
- Missed diagnosis: this occurs when a medical practitioner does not make a diagnosis and determines that the patient is fit and healthy when they in fact suffer from a condition or disease.
- Failure to diagnose a related or unrelated condition: this occurs when a medical practitioner accurately diagnosis and treats one condition but does not diagnose a related or unrelated condition.
Is medical misdiagnosis considered medical negligence?
Medical misdiagnosis is a complex area of law however, it does not always amount to medical negligence. For medical misdiagnosis to amount to medical negligence it must be shown that:
- When making the misdiagnosis the medical practitioner had a duty of care and that duty of care was breached. That is, the medical practitioner did not exercise the reasonable skill, care or expertise to be expected of a medical practitioner of his or her position; and
- The misdiagnosis caused more harm than would have been caused if the misdiagnosis did not occur.
What is the process of making a claim?
Generally, a medical misdiagnosis claim must be made within three years of the date of discoverability of the injury or condition.
Your lawyer will engage with the relevant medical experts to carry out assessments and to provide reports detailing how your treatment was negligent. Once it is confirmed that you will be successful in making a claim for medical negligence, your lawyer will build the evidence to support your claim.
Once you have stabilised and reached a stage of maximum medical improvement, usually one year after the date of misdiagnosis or negligence, your lawyer will be able to put together a claim.
The next step involves both parties coming together for a mediation. At this stage, all parties try to come to a resolution.
In some cases, if the matter cannot be resolved at mediation, your lawyer may advise you to go to court to resolve the dispute to maximise your compensation.
How much can I claim?
Claims for medical negligence can be made between the tens of thousands to the millions of dollars. The amount you can claim will depend on the extent of your injuries caused by the misdiagnosis. Generally, the following can be claimed:
- Past and future losses including lost income and future earnings that you will lose because of your injuries.
- Pain and suffering to compensate you for the pain and suffering that your injury has caused you.
- Domestic assistance which is the cost of getting help at home.
- Travel expenses including the cost of getting to and from appointments for treatment.
- Medical treatment expenses because of your injury.
The area of medical negligence is an extremely complex area of law. A medical misdiagnosis can leave a patient in an extremely stressful and often daunting situation. The lawyers at Alliance Compensation and Litigation Lawyers will be able to help make a very stressful process smoother. If you think you might have a medical misdiagnosis or negligence claim, please contact us to speak to one of our expert lawyers.