Medical Misdiagnosis Claims Australia - Know Your Rights | Law Partners

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Medical Negligence, Injury and Rehabilitation | 05 March 2020

Medical Misdiagnosis Australia – Claims Guide

If you’ve had a medical condition or illness misdiagnosed in Australia, you might be entitled to claim compensation. This claims guide answers the most commonly-asked questions and includes legal advice and links to get help with medical misdiagnosis claims.


Can you claim for medical misdiagnosis?

Yes, if the misdiagnosis was the result of negligence and has resulted in a worse clinical outcome, then you may be able to claim compensation for medical misdiagnosis. To be eligible for medical misdiagnosis compensation you’ll need to show that the misdiagnosis was due to negligence. You’ll need to prove that the behaviour of the medical professional didn’t meet the appropriate standard of care and that you suffered an injury or loss as a result. A specialist medical misdiagnosis solicitor will be able to assess your situation and tell you if it’s likely that you have a valid claim.

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What is misdiagnosis?

Medical misdiagnosis occurs when a medical professional diagnoses the wrong condition or fails to diagnose a patient’s condition altogether. If a medical condition is misdiagnosed it can result in a worse outcome for the patient through delays in treatment, incorrect treatment or no treatment at all.

Delayed diagnosis is when a medical professional fails to correctly diagnose symptoms or refer a patient for appropriate investigations, resulting in a delay in a condition being diagnosed. Delayed diagnosis can lead to delayed treatment that can result in a worse outcome for the patient.


Is misdiagnosis medical negligence?

Yes, misdiagnosis can be considered medical negligence, if it can be shown that the medical professional breached his or her duty of care and the result was a worse clinical outcome for the patient. Medical negligence misdiagnosis forms a large part of medical negligence claims in Australia against general practitioners, specialists, hospitals and emergency departments. For detailed information on medical negligence, read our Guide to Medical Negligence Compensation.


What do you do if you’ve been misdiagnosed?

Misdiagnosis can have serious implications, especially if it results in delays to treatment for life-threatening illnesses like cancer. If you believe you’ve been misdiagnosed:

  • Make sure you’re clearly communicating your concerns to your treating medical professional
  • Provide them with as much information as possible
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions and try to fully understand your diagnosis
  • Ask what other possible diagnosis there could be for your symptoms
  • If you feel in any way uncertain seek a second medical opinion


Can you sue for misdiagnosis?

Most medical misdiagnosis claims settle by way of mediation, where all parties agree on a medical misdiagnosis compensation settlement. However, if mediation fails, then your claim may need to proceed to a hearing in order to claim compensation. To find out if you can sue for misdiagnosis, it’s important to get legal advice from a specialist medical misdiagnosis lawyer to understand what are the chances of your claim succeeding.

Pursuing legal action can be risky and potentially costly, however a “no win no fee” medical misdiagnosis lawyer may take on your case and fund it for you if they’re confident of succeeding.


How do I prove medical misdiagnosis?

To prove that medical misdiagnosis has occurred, you’ll need a medico-legal expert to undertake a thorough assessment and conclude that the medical professional was negligent in his or her duty of care. Medical misdiagnosis claims are complex, and you’ll need to engage the services of a specialist medical misdiagnosis solicitor to build the case on your behalf. Many law firms will provide a free assessment of your situation and advise you on the chances of successfully proving medical misdiagnosis before you proceed.

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What are some examples of misdiagnosis?

Medical misdiagnosis cases involving a serious condition like cancer where early treatment is important can have a devastating impact on a patient. They can result in worse outcomes, longer treatment times and a significant psychological and financial burden. In particular, misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of the following cancers can have serious implications for the patient:

  • Breast cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • Testicular cancer

In a situation where a patient has presented to a medical professional with symptoms of cancer, but the medical professional misdiagnosed the cancer, then the delay in treatment could allow the cancer to spread and result in a much worse outcome.

Other conditions that are sometimes misdiagnosed resulting in a worse outcome for the patient include:

  • Heart attack
  • Meningitis
  • Stroke
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
  • Mental illness

For example, a heart attack can be misdiagnosed as anxiety or indigestion; however, it can be deadly without timely treatment.

If you’re not sure about your situation you can have a free, confidential conversation with a specialist medical midiagnosis lawyer in Australia by calling 13 15 15.

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