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Medical Misdiagnosis Claims Guide.

Medical misdiagnosis can lead to a delay in your treatment, the wrong treatment, or even no treatment at all.  If this has happened to you, you may be entitled to make a medical misdiagnosis claim. And as you’ll see from the examples in this article, these claims can run into the millions of dollars.

This claim guide has been compiled from the experience of our specialist medical misdiagnosis lawyers and explains everything you need to know about claims including:

Patient in hospital after falling victim to medical misdiagnosis.

Medical misdiagnosis claims – the most common situations.

Clients who come to us for help with misdiagnosis claims are generally in one of the following four situations:

Delayed treatment is a situation that can often lead to a misdiagnosis claim, especially where early intervention is critical to your recovery.

If you’ve received the wrong treatment because of a misdiagnosis, then it’s likely this delayed the treatment you actually needed. If this has resulted in a worse outcome for you, it’s likely you can make a claim.

Receiving no treatment at all due to a misdiagnosis can have serious consequences, and lead to permanent injuries or health complications. This is the basis for a lot of misdiagnosis claims.

A delayed diagnosis that leads to delayed treatment can have a serious impact on your health outcome or recovery and can be grounds for a compensation claim.

If you fall into one of these four categories, read on to learn more about making a medical misdiagnosis claim for compensation.

What do I do if I’ve been misdiagnosed?

If you think you’ve been given the wrong diagnosis, you don’t need to simply accept the situation and hope for the best.

Here are some tips from our medical misdiagnosis lawyers to help you get the correct diagnosis and the treatment you need as quickly as possible:

Can I make a claim for medical misdiagnosis?

If your misdiagnosis was the result of negligence and has resulted in a worse clinical outcome for you, then you may be able to make a medical misdiagnosis claim. To be eligible for compensation 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.

For example, if you broke your wrist but your doctor failed to send you for scans and diagnose and treat the break, it could result in long-term damage to your wrist. In this case, the long-term damage could have been avoided if the doctor had diagnosed your break sooner, so it’s likely you would have a valid claim.

Our specialist medical misdiagnosis lawyers can assess your situation over the phone and tell you if it’s likely that you have a valid claim.

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What are some examples of misdiagnosis?

Here are some examples of conditions and illnesses that are sometimes misdiagnosed resulting in a worse outcome for the patient:

If misdiagnosis delays your cancer treatment, it can result in a much worse outcome for you, and may qualify for a compensation claim. This is covered in more detail in the next section of this article.

Heart attacks are often misdiagnosed as anxiety or indigestion, which can delay essential treatment and put you at risk of further complications.

A failure to diagnose and treat meningitis can lead to permanent disability including epileptic seizures, hearing loss, and sight loss.

Strokes are a medical emergency and urgent treatment is essential. The sooner a person is diagnosed and receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage is likely to happen.

If DVT isn’t diagnosed in a timely manner it can lead to more serious symptoms including chest pains, coughing up blood, and breathlessness, which may be a sign of a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lungs).  

Cancer misdiagnosis.

Medical misdiagnosis cases involving a serious condition like cancer where early treatment is important can have a devastating impact on a patient. It 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:

If you’ve had an appointment with a medical professional with symptoms of cancer, but the medical professional misdiagnosed your cancer, then the delay in treatment could allow the cancer to spread and result in a much worse outcome. If this has happened to you, it’s likely you can make a medical misdiagnosis claim.

Is misdiagnosis medical negligence?

Misdiagnosis may be considered to be medical negligence if it can be shown that your medical professional breached his or her duty of care and the result was a worse clinical outcome for you.

But just because you’ve been given the wrong diagnosis, doesn’t necessarily mean the medical professional has been negligent. Sometimes an early diagnosis might be off the mark, but after considering further medical evidence, the correct diagnosis might become apparent. If the outcome for you as the patient is still positive, and you’re given the correct treatment in a timely manner, then it’s unlikely to be considered medical negligence.

How much can I claim for misdiagnosis?

Medical misdiagnosis compensation payouts can be substantial. Your compensation will depend on the extent of your injuries or illness caused by being given the wrong diagnosis, and the impact they have on your life.

One way to get an indication of the potential size of medical misdiagnosis claims is to look at past cases. Here are two cases we won on behalf of our clients:

Case 1: Misdiagnosed appendicitis – $750k

Our client went to her doctor with abdominal pain and was misdiagnosed as having an ovarian cyst. But after experiencing worsening pain and symptoms, she was eventually diagnosed with a ruptured appendix seven days after her initial examination. As a result, she has suffered long-term physical and psychological issues, which could have been avoided if the appendicitis hadn’t been misdiagnosed.

Our lawyers filed a misdiagnosis claim, and our client was awarded a medical misdiagnosis compensation payout of $750k.

Case 2: Paraplegia caused by wrong diagnosis – $4.5M

This was a particularly heart-breaking claim, where our client initially presented at hospital with severe neck pain. The hospital misdiagnosed him as having a muscle strain.

Some days later, our client collapsed at home and became unresponsive. He was rushed into surgery where it was found he had a cervical spinal epidural abscess caused by a Staph infection. Despite undergoing surgery, he was tragically left paraplegic and spent the next four months in hospital.

Our client was awarded a medical misdiagnosis payout amount of $4.5 million to cover his losses and pain and suffering and to support his future care and treatment expenses.

What medical misdiagnosis compensation can I claim?

Depending on the severity of your injuries or illness caused by a wrong diagnosis, your total compensation amount may include:

Lost incomeThe amount of income you’ve lost through taking time off work
Medical expensesThe expenses you’ve incurred from hospital and treatment for your injuries
Travel expensesThe cost of travelling to and from medical appointments and treatment
Domestic assistanceThe cost of getting help with your home duties while you recover
Pain and sufferingAn amount to compensate you for your pain and suffering, based on the extent of your injuries
Future lossesFor example, your future earnings that you’ll miss out on as a result of your injuries

You can read more about this in our guide to medical negligence compensation.

Call 13 15 15 or chat to us now for free advice

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How long do I have to make a medical misdiagnosis claim?

You have three years from the ‘date of discoverability’ of your injury or illness to lodge your medical misdiagnosis claim. This is the date you became aware of the injury or illness, and you had enough information to suspect it was caused by your misdiagnosis.

The date of discoverability can be difficult to pinpoint, and exceptions can be given to children and people with disabilities, so if you’re unsure whether you’re still able to claim in Australia, you can call 13 15 15 and speak to a medical misdiagnosis specialist. It’s a free service.

How to sue a doctor for misdiagnosis.

The idea of suing a doctor might seem daunting. But the reality is that if you’ve suffered losses as a result of being given the wrong diagnosis, compensation payments can be an essential part of your recovery, to cover your lost wages, treatment expenses, and the overall impact on your life.

The steps you need to take to sue a doctor for misdiagnosis are quite straightforward. Here’s an overview of how it works at Law Partners:

  1. Your first step is to talk to one of our medical negligence lawyers to establish whether you have a valid claim – they may consult with one or more medico-legal specialists to determine the likelihood of your claim succeeding
  2. If we believe you have a strong misdiagnosis claim, we’ll offer to run it for you on a no win no fee basis, so you won’t need to pay anything up-front
  3. Your Law Partners legal team will arrange all your medical appointments and do all the work to build your case – we’ll pay for all the appointments and medical reports
  4. In most cases, our medical misdiagnosis claims settle by way of mediation, where all parties agree on a compensation settlement for you
  5. If we can’t get agreement on a reasonable settlement for you, we’ll talk to you about taking your case to court to seek compensation

With Law Partners on your side, you’ll have a specialist legal team doing all the work on your behalf and guiding you through the whole process.

How do I prove I was misdiagnosed?

To prove medical misdiagnosis, our lawyers work with medico-legal experts to thoroughly assess your situation and conclude that the medical professional was negligent in his or her duty of care.

Medical misdiagnosis claims are complex, and vigorously defended by insurers. The medical evidence needs to be thoroughly investigated and compiled, along with a detailed assessment of your personal situation – the impact that misdiagnosis has had on every aspect of your life.

At Law Partners, we take time to get to know you personally and make sure the full impact of your injuries or illness is taken into account in your claim. This more personal approach is key to winning more compensation for you.

How long will my medical misdiagnosis claim take?

Medical misdiagnosis claims often take years to settle. This is because claims can be complex, and it may be necessary to wait for injuries or illnesses to stabilise before a claim can be made.

However, it’s possible for claims to settle in a shorter timeframe if injuries have stabilised and there’s clear evidence that medical misdiagnosis has occurred, or if your circumstances require a more urgent settlement.

If you feel your situation is urgent and you’re struggling financially, you can call us on 13 15 15 to discuss your options with one of our lawyers. There’s no cost for this call.

Getting help with your medical misdiagnosis claim.

At Law Partners, we have a team of leading medical negligence specialists. There’s no cost for one of our lawyers to review your situation and advise you on your options. And if you choose Law Partners to manage your claim, we’ll work on a no win, no fee basis, so you’ll have peace of mind. We win over 99% of our cases.

Robert Hopper bio pic

Robert Hopper

Managing Solicitor

An accredited specialist in personal injury law, backed by over 15 years’ experience in assisting injured Australians receive everything they’re entitled to with their workers compensation claim.

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