You hope for accuracy, professionalism, and care when you seek medical assistance. Patients rely on healthcare professionals to improve their quality of life and prevent complications. Unfortunately, this does not always happen.
Making a correct diagnosis is the key to establishing an effective course of treatment. By failing to diagnose a condition, a doctor may be putting a patient's life in serious danger. When this happens, this patient may be entitled to compensation.
If you are a victim of a medical misdiagnosis, you could recover damages. By speaking with a Joliet failure to diagnose lawyer from Zayed Law Offices, you are increasing your chances of obtaining fair compensation. Call our Joliet personal injury lawyers for your free case evaluation.
Failure to Diagnose: Definition
When a doctor or another healthcare provider does not recognize the symptoms of an illness, it is considered a “failure to diagnose.” Failure to diagnose is a type of medical negligence that could worsen a current condition, affect the patient's quality of life, and even result in death.
Examples of failure to diagnose that could warrant compensation include:
- Not reading test results correctly
- Failing to refer the patient to another specialist
- Not asking the patient about all of their symptoms
- Ignoring obvious signs of another condition
- Failing to investigate the causes of the patient's symptoms
Many conditions, such as cancer, respond well to treatment when diagnosed early. For example, early detection of breast cancer leads to a 99 percent five-year relative survival rate. At the latest stages, it drops to 25 percent.
When a failure to diagnose occurs, a person can live for years without knowing about a condition that becomes less and less treatable. Eventually, the mistake could cost them their life.
If you can prove a doctor's negligence, you can seek compensation. It is easier to make your case and get the money you deserve with a lawyer by your side.
Responsible Parties in a Failure to Diagnose Lawsuit in Joliet, Illinois
If you did not receive a correct diagnosis, several parties might be at fault:
- Primary care physician
- Another medical professional
- Lab techs
If more than one party is responsible, they may distribute the damage amount according to the percentage of their fault. An attorney in Joliet can conduct an independent investigation to discover all responsible parties and increase your chances of receiving higher compensation.
Establishing Negligence in Failure to Diagnose Lawsuits in Joliet, IL
To demonstrate your right to damages in a failure to diagnose lawsuit, you must establish negligence. This requires extensive research, gathering evidence, and obtaining expert witness testimonies.
To establish negligence, you have to demonstrate that:
- The defendant has a legal duty of care to you - if a healthcare provider has a professional relationship with you, they have a legal duty of care to diagnose the condition to the best of their ability. This means you have to hire a doctor, and the doctor needs to agree to be hired. Any advice a doctor provides in a private conversation outside of this relationship does not count.
- The defendant breached the legal duty of care - this is usually the toughest part of proving negligence. To show that the breach occurred, you must demonstrate that a doctor failed to diagnose the condition, which another competent doctor (in the same circumstances) would have managed to diagnose. In other words, the healthcare professional does not need to give you the best care in the world. They simply have to provide reasonable assistance.
- The defendant's breach caused injuries - next, you would need to show that failure to diagnose your condition led to specific consequences. For example, a doctor failed to diagnose breast cancer in its early stages. With time, cancer progressed.
- The injuries lead to damages - you would have to prove that the injuries you incurred due to the breach led to damages. For example, progressing breast cancer resulted in medical expenses, lost wages, and reduced quality of life.
In short, you would have to prove that a doctor with whom you have a professional relationship failed to diagnose the condition, which a competent doctor could have diagnosed. This failure to diagnose caused consequences that harmed you.
Damages you recover in this type of lawsuit aim to bring your life as close to normal as possible.
Caps on Failure to Diagnose Payouts in Joliet, Illinois
Failure to diagnose could lead to sizable damages. For example, a patient may end up needing life-long treatment, lose their job, suffer from permanent disability, and much more. The claim amount could exceed millions. That is why many states implement medical malpractice damage caps.
Illinois also had a cap for non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits. However, a 2010 ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court called the cap unconstitutional. Today, there are no such legal limits on how much money you could recover.
However, the amount of your compensation can be limited by:
- The healthcare professional's insurance coverage.
- The healthcare professional's assets (if the insurance coverage is insufficient).
Without a legal damage cap in place, you can recover a sizable amount. By working with a failure to diagnose attorney, you increase your chances of getting morre compensation.
While it is possible to handle a medical malpractice claim on your own, it is easy to make mistakes and get less money than you deserve.
Statute of Limitations for Failure Diagnose Claims in Joliet, IL
The law that limits your time for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is called the Statute of Limitations.
In Illinois, you have two years to file a claim from when you:
- Knew about the consequences of the failure to diagnose.
- Should have known, through the use of reasonable diligence, about the consequences of the failure to diagnose.
- Received a written notice about the consequences of the failure to diagnose.
No matter when you discover the consequences, you cannot file a lawsuit if four years have passed after the incident.
For example, a doctor fails to diagnose cancer. You go to another doctor three years after the initial diagnosis and learn about the progressing condition. You only have one year left to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
That is why it is imperative to take action as soon as you learn about the problem. Even if four years have passed, you may still have a shot at recovering damages because the Statute has several exceptions.
Consider speaking to a Joliet failure to diagnose attorney to learn whether these exceptions apply to your case.
Affidavit of Merit in Joliet, Illinois
In Illinois, when you file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you also have to file an “Affidavit of Merit.”
It needs to accompany other documents and state that you already consulted a medical professional who:
- Has expertise in the medical issues discussed in the case.
- Now or in the past six years, practices or teaches in the area of medicine connected to the case.
- Knows about the claim's subject.
The medical professional in question should declare that there are grounds for filing a failure to diagnose lawsuit.
While you can find this medical professional independently, it may be reasonable to ask an attorney to do it for you. Medical malpractice lawyers know where to find expert witnesses and how to draft affidavits of merit correctly.
If you cannot attach an affidavit before the lawsuit filing deadline, you have 90 days to do it afterward. However, if you fail to present an affidavit at all, your case is likely to be dismissed.
Damages in a Failure to Diagnose Lawsuit in Joliet, Illinois
If you and your attorney can prove negligence in a failure to diagnose case, you may recover:
Past and Future Economic Damages
These damages involve any expenses you may have incurred due to the failure to diagnose.
They can include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- At-home care expenses
- Costs of surgery
- Loss of earning capacity
Besides covering current expenses, the compensation should also include past and future damages the failure to diagnose caused.
To prove the extent of these damages, you would need to gather evidence and expert witness testimonies. Doing this requires professional legal attention. If you miss a piece of evidence or do not find the right witness, the amount of compensation can go down substantially.
Past and Future Non-Economic Damages
These damages cannot be backed by tangible evidence. They are subjective but just as important as economic damages. The payout is aimed at helping you bring your life back to normal as much as possible.
Examples of these damages are:
- Emotional anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Just as with economic compensation, you can recover past, present, and future non-economic damages.
Courts use different systems to determine the amount of non-economic damages. In many cases, they can exceed economic damages.
Punitive damages punish the defendant. The judge may assign them in case the medical professional demonstrated outrageous negligence. These situations are rare.
The amount of all types of damages in a failure to diagnose case can depend on:
- The amount of evidence
- The quality of expert testimonies
- The expertise of the failure to diagnose attorney
- Insurance coverage limits
The judge will look closely at how the medical misdiagnosis influenced your life. It is up to you to record all the problems and challenges you face after failing to diagnose. An attorney can help you document this in the most detailed manner possible.
Why You Need a Failure to Diagnose Attorney in Joliet, IL
If a health professional failed to diagnose your condition, you are likely to face serious consequences of this mistake. From high medical bills to reduced quality of life, misdiagnosis can be tough to live with.
While you are dealing with medical issues, it may be nearly impossible to handle the legal aspects of a malpractice lawsuit. That is where the failure to diagnose attorney comes in.
A legal expert can:
- Investigate - to maximize your compensation, you need to conduct an independent investigation that involves discovering all guilty parties, gathering evidence, and speaking to expert witnesses. An attorney has experience doing all of this in a short time.
- Handle tough, time-consuming, and extremely stressful negotiations with insurance companies - Many people end up settling for lower amounts simply to “get it over with.” An attorney has your best interests in mind and negotiates ruthlessly to recover the money you deserve.
- Deal with paperwork - from evidence and depositions to claim filing and affidavits, failure to diagnose lawsuits involve endless paperwork. Even if you forget one document, it can affect your chances of getting a higher payout. An experienced medical malpractice attorney makes sure all paperwork is filed correctly and on time.
- Take your case to court - if you cannot negotiate a settlement with an insurance company, you may need to take the case to court. An attorney argues your case in front of the judge or jury. Doing this on your own can hurt your chances of obtaining any compensation.
- Answer your questions - medical malpractice lawsuits are complicated. The attorney walks you through the entire case, explaining what to expect and how to act.
Even if your medical malpractice lawsuit seems obvious and straightforward, it does not mean you can handle it alone. These lawsuits are usually complicated and require professional legal assistance.
Keep in mind that the defendant is likely to have a legal team on their side. The sheer size of possible payouts makes insurance companies fight hard to counter your arguments. Without a failure to diagnose lawyer on your side, you could lose the case.
Speak to a Joliet Medical Malpractice Law Firm Today
If you are suffering the consequence of a medical professional's negligence, you could seek compensation. Failure to diagnose claims can be complex and time-consuming. Without legal representation, they can take a serious toll on someone recovering from the consequences of a medical misdiagnosis.
By hiring an attorney at Zayed Law Offices, you improve your chances of obtaining fair compensation and gaining time to focus on your health. Contact Zayed Law Offices at (815) 726-1616 today to get started with your free case evaluation.