What To Do When Injured By a Misdiagnosis in Georgia
When we are sick or injured, we trust that medical experts will properly diagnose our symptoms and give us the proper medical care. Yet, that isn’t always the case. At times, a doctor can fail to accurately diagnose a medical condition. When a doctor commits a diagnosis error, it can lead to incorrect treatment, delayed treatment, or no treatment at all making a patient’s condition much worse and potentially causing death.
Suppose you were misdiagnosed or not given proper care by a medical caregiver and suffered significantly. You would want to recover to the best of your ability both physically and emotionally. You also deserve to recover financially by being compensated for the injuries caused by the misdiagnosis.
How to Prove Medical Malpractice Based on Misdiagnosis
In Georgia, medical professionals have a duty to treat patients according to the appropriate standard of care – this means in accordance with what other medical professionals would do (or not do) under like circumstances. Despite rapid advances in medical diagnostic equipment and technology, medicine is still an art and misdiagnosis happen even under circumstances where the doctor acted appropriately. Thus, the law does not hold doctors accountable for every diagnostic error, even if it leads to a patient’s injury.
Still, if you were injured due to a misdiagnosis, it is essential to consult with an experienced attorney immediately. In Georgia, an injured patient only has two years to file a lawsuit from the date the harm was caused – this is called a statute of limitations. Date of injury from a misdiagnosis is not always clear, and the defense will argue that it begins for statute of limitations purposes from the date of the alleged misdiagnosis.
In order to prevail in a medical malpractice case on the basis of a misdiagnosed, three things must be proven:
- That the doctor did not follow the appropriate standard of care in evaluating his/her patient
- That had the doctor followed the appropriate standard of care, the proper diagnosis would have been made
- Failing to properly diagnose the patient caused the patient substantial harm
Proving a Doctor’s Misdiagnosis Negligence
The existence of a misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis is not proof of negligence – even if the patient suffered harm as a result. Competent doctors can misdiagnose when using reasonable care. As stated above, medicine remains an art, not an exact science.
To prove a doctor was negligent, the doctor must have breached the standard of care in his or her evaluation of the patient.
Whether a doctor met the acceptable standard of care requires an evaluation of the doctor’s actions/inactions or failure of efforts to arrive at a specific diagnosis. Below are just some of the questions that must be investigated in assessing whether there is a potential medical malpractice case for a misdiagnosis:
- Did the doctor take an appropriate medical history?
- Was the differential diagnosis methodology performed properly? In other words, did the doctor consider likely medical conditions based on symptoms presented?
- Did the doctor perform tests that should be performed to rule out or confirm the presence of potential conditions?
- Were test results interpreted properly? If so, were they communicated to the treating doctor timely and appropriately?
- Were follow ups requested based on the results?
- Had the proper evaluation been performed, would a competent doctor have made the proper diagnosis at that time?
The burden is on the plaintiff to prove medical malpractice. The law requires that in order to even bring a case, the plaintiff must present sworn testimony in the form of an affidavit from another doctor who practices in the same specialty as the defendant doctor stating the precise failure of the doctor and how this caused the patient harm.
Misdiagnosis Causes Injury
In some situations, a misdiagnosis can lead to serious injury causing life altering harm or even death. However, even if your medical condition was misdiagnosed, to prevail, you must show that a competent doctor would have correctly identified your condition and you would have made a timely recovery from that condition had the proper diagnosis been made timely. Expert testimony is crucial in a patient’s case to prove this. In most all misdiagnosis cases, whether or not a proper and timely diagnosis would have made a difference is an issue that is vigorously disputed.
Evaluating Your Misdiagnosis Suit
If you suffered an injury due to a doctor’s misdiagnoses, you might be entitled to compensation. You can potentially receive money wasted on the wrong treatment plan as well as recover monetarily for lost wages, damaged health, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of function, pain, and additional worry due to damaged health caused by the misdiagnosis.
In Georgia, you have a limited time to file your medical malpractice claim. We encourage you to contact our office at The Baer Law Firm. Or call us at 404.THE.BAER (404.843.2237) to discuss your case.
Attorney Bryan Baer has twenty (20) years of legal experience representing clients in serious and catastrophic personal injury and medical malpractice cases. He has been first chair in more than a dozen twelve-person jury trials on both the plaintiff and defense sides. Recognized as a leader in his legal community, he is frequently asked to speak at legal seminars on trial topics ranging from “Best Practices in Voire Dire” to “Maximizing Damages at Trial” as well as insurance issues such as “Navigating the Insurance Landscape” and “Injury Demands & Negotiations.” Learn more here.