At Cuneo & Leonetti Law Firm, our Cherry Hill Misdiagnosis Lawyers understand the life-altering impact a medical misdiagnosis can have on you and your loved ones. With extensive experience in the intricacies of medical malpractice law, we are committed to providing you with the personalized and expert legal representation you deserve. Whether you’ve suffered from a delayed diagnosis, incorrect treatment, or a complete failure to diagnose a medical condition, we are here to vigorously advocate for your rights and pursue the justice and compensation you’re entitled to. Contact us today to begin the crucial process of holding the responsible parties accountable for their errors.
What is A Medical Misdiagnosis?
Medical misdiagnosis is a form of medical malpractice that can occur when a healthcare provider fails to accurately identify and diagnose a medical condition, diagnoses it too late, or incorrectly identifies one condition as another. This can lead to ineffective treatment, lack of treatment, or even harmful treatment, potentially causing severe harm to the patient. The right Cherry Hill personal injury lawyer can help hold the responsible party accountable.
Misdiagnosis can be subject to legal action if it results in harm to the patient and it is established that the healthcare provider failed to meet the standard of care expected in the medical community. Such cases are complex and often require expert testimony to establish that a misdiagnosis indeed occurred and that it led to demonstrable harm.
Common Types of Misdiagnosis Claims
Misdiagnosis claims can fall under several categories, each with its own set of legal implications and challenges. Here are some common types:
- Delayed Diagnosis: In these cases, a healthcare provider eventually makes the correct diagnosis, but only after a significant delay that leads to worse outcomes for the patient. For instance, delayed diagnosis of cancer may lead to progression of the disease, making it more difficult or impossible to treat effectively.
- Incorrect Diagnosis: Here, the healthcare provider diagnoses the patient with the wrong condition. As a result, the patient may receive incorrect treatment, potentially exacerbating the actual underlying condition and causing harm.
- Failure to Diagnose: This involves situations where a healthcare provider fails to identify the presence of a medical condition altogether. As a result, the patient misses out on treatment that could have alleviated or cured the condition if diagnosed early.
- Misdiagnosis of Severity: In some cases, a healthcare provider might correctly identify a condition but misjudge its severity. This can result in inadequate treatment that fails to address the actual needs of the patient.
- Multiple Conditions: A misdiagnosis can also occur when a healthcare provider correctly diagnoses one condition but fails to recognize the presence of another, often related, condition. This is particularly problematic if the undiagnosed condition requires immediate attention.
- Failure to Recognize Complications: Sometimes, a healthcare provider may correctly diagnose a condition but fail to identify potential complications, resulting in inadequate treatment and poorer patient outcomes.
- Diagnostic Test Errors: Errors in the process of conducting or interpreting diagnostic tests, such as blood tests, MRIs, or X-rays, can also lead to misdiagnosis.
Common Causes That Can Lead To A Misdiagnosis Claims
Here are some of the most frequent reasons for misdiagnosis claims:
- Inadequate Medical History: Sometimes, healthcare providers may not take a comprehensive medical history or may fail to consider key elements of the patient’s history. This lack of information can lead to incorrect or delayed diagnosis.
- Failure to Order Tests: Some misdiagnoses occur because a healthcare provider fails to order appropriate diagnostic tests that could have revealed the condition.
- Misinterpretation of Tests: Even when tests are conducted, errors can occur in interpreting the results. This can be due to inexperience, oversight, or even faulty equipment.
- Symptom Overlap: Some conditions have symptoms that closely resemble those of other conditions, leading healthcare providers to make an incorrect diagnosis based on symptomatic similarity.
- Time Constraints: In busy medical settings like emergency rooms, healthcare providers may be rushed and not give adequate time to each patient’s case, which can result in mistakes.
- Lack of Specialist Referral: Primary care providers or general practitioners may sometimes fail to refer patients to specialists for conditions that are outside of their expertise, resulting in a misdiagnosis.
- Communication Errors: Misdiagnoses can also result from poor communication between healthcare providers or between healthcare providers and patients. Important details may be overlooked or misunderstood.
- Systemic Issues: Broader systemic issues, such as understaffing or inadequate training, can also contribute to misdiagnosis.
- Confirmation Bias: Sometimes, healthcare providers form an initial opinion about the cause of symptoms and fail to consider other possibilities, leading to misdiagnosis.
- Negligence: Ultimately, some cases of misdiagnosis come down to general negligence on the part of the healthcare provider, where the standard of care that the patient should expect is not met.
Affidavit of Merit in Misdiagnosis Claims
An Affidavit of Merit is a crucial document that must generally be filed early in the litigation process. The Affidavit of Merit serves to demonstrate that the plaintiff’s claim is not frivolous and has a legitimate basis for proceeding through the legal system. This is especially important in cases involving medical misdiagnosis, where proving negligence can be particularly complex.
Under New Jersey law, an Affidavit of Merit must typically be submitted within 60 days of the defendant’s filing of an answer to the initial complaint, although this period can sometimes be extended for good cause. The affidavit must be prepared by a medical expert in the same field as the healthcare provider who is the subject of the claim. The expert should review the medical records and other relevant data to determine whether the healthcare provider deviated from accepted medical standards. This affidavit is essentially a sworn statement that confirms the expert’s opinion that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the standard of care was breached. Failure to file a proper Affidavit of Merit within the stipulated timeframe can result in the dismissal of the case.
Statute of Limitations in Misdiagnosis Claims
In Cherry Hill, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims, including those involving misdiagnosis, is generally two (2) years from the date the cause of action accrued. In simple terms, this usually means that you have two years from the date you became aware of, or reasonably should have become aware of, the misdiagnosis to file a lawsuit. It’s important to note that the “discovery rule” can sometimes extend this timeframe; this rule applies when the injured party could not have reasonably discovered the malpractice earlier.
There are some notable exceptions to this general rule:
- Minors: For children who were under the age of 18 at the time the malpractice occurred, the statute of limitations typically does not begin to run until their 18th birthday. However, parents or guardians can file a claim on behalf of a minor before that time.
- Mental Incapacity: In cases where the victim is mentally incapacitated, the statute of limitations may be tolled (paused) until the incapacity is lifted.
- Fraud or Concealment: If the healthcare provider fraudulently concealed the malpractice, the statute of limitations may be extended. However, proving fraud or concealment often requires substantial evidence.
- Continuous Treatment: In some instances, if you continue to receive treatment from the healthcare provider who made the misdiagnosis, the statute of limitations may not start until the end of that treatment period.
- Wrongful Death: If the misdiagnosis led to the patient’s death, different statutes of limitations could apply for a wrongful death claim.
Contact Our Cherry Hill Misdiagnosis Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered due to a medical misdiagnosis, the time to act is now. At Cuneo & Leonetti Law Firm, our Cherry Hill Misdiagnosis Lawyers are experienced professionals in this complex field of law. We are committed to advocating vigorously on your behalf to secure the justice and compensation you are entitled to. Time-sensitive statutes of limitations are in play, so don’t hesitate—reach out to us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Your well-being is our Cherry Hill medical malpractice lawyer’s top priority; let us put our experience to work for you.