Experienced Medical Misdiagnosis Lawyer in Chicago
In a disturbing report, The American Cancer Society found that nearly 1,640,000 Americans were diagnosed with cancer in 2011. Additionally, about half of all American males, and one third of all American females will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. While these statistics are shocking, what is even more devastating is that many of these cases will fall victim of misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis or failure to diagnose.
We trust physicians, nurses, dentists, technicians and other medical professionals with our health, our safety and our lives. Unfortunately, a work-related mistake can mean the difference between life and death for the patient.
That’s why it’s so important that medical professionals take all the necessary steps to diagnose cancer and other life-threating illnesses in a timely manner. If you know someone (maybe even yourself) who has been a victim of misdiagnosis, it makes sense to seek help from our team of Chicago malpractice attorneys.
What factors can lead to medical misdiagnosis?
It would be impossible to list all the possible situations that can lead to a negligent health care worker making a misdiagnosis, but some of the more common causes include:
- Misrepresenting signs and symptoms a patient may be showing
- Failure (or delay) in reporting or acting on questionable diagnostic test results
- Incorrectly interpreting diagnostic test results
- Failure to perform the correct tests and/or screening
Of course, a medical provider’s failure to recognize and treat serious diseases and conditions can have a devastating result on the patient and family. Chicago medical malpractice attorney Steven J. Malman and his team have handled manycases involving medical misdiagnosis that have led to serious injury, lifelong conditions and even death. We are committed to seeking justice for our clients, and we do everything we can do obtain the maximum amount for you.
What conditions are commonly misdiagnosed?
If you suspect that a doctor has misdiagnosed your condition, it never hurts to get a second opinion. In fact, it could save your life. With that in mind, the following conditions are among the most misdiagnosed:
- Brain tumors
- Colon cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Lung cancer
When doctors misdiagnose or fail to diagnose, family members and friends suffer along with the victim. Prolonged hospital stays, expensive (and potentially unnecessary) surgeries, and emotional pain and suffering are just some of the consequences. According to Illinois law, you may be eligible for reimbursement for these losses.
That’s why it is important to seek the assistance of our experienced malpractice lawyers in Illinois as soon as possible. At Malman Law, we work on a contingency fee basis. That means our services are free unless we collect for you through a settlement or court verdict.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Will a confirmed misdiagnosis automatically lead to a valid legal claim against the health care provider?
No, not automatically. Illinois allows doctors to make human mistakes. The legal issue is whether the doctor’s failure to accurately diagnose your condition represented a failure to meet the legal standard of care that applies to him or her. The standard of care that applies to a doctor is much higher than the standard of care that applies to an ordinary person, and the standard of care for a specialist is higher than the standard of care for a general practitioner. You might need expert medical testimony to prove that your doctor violated the standard of care.
Another issue is whether the misdiagnosis itself actually harmed you. A misdiagnosis that caused no effect other than to simply delay an accurate diagnosis of your condition by a couple of weeks might not support a lawsuit, if your condition did not worsen during this period.
In many cases, however, a misdiagnosis will support a medical malpractice lawsuit. The answer to the question of whether or not you have a valid claim depends on the facts of your case, and may require some investigation to answer.
How are damages determined in a misdiagnosis case?
In a misdiagnosis case, the amount of your damages is not measured strictly by the severity of your condition. Rather, it is measured by comparing your condition at the point that your condition was finally accurately diagnosed with the condition that you would have been in had the doctor properly diagnosed your condition in the first place. The difference between these two alternatives forms the legal basis for measuring the amount of damages that you are entitled to.
You will be entitled to compensation for all of your past, present, and future economic losses arising from the misdiagnosis, plus an amount for any noneconomic losses such as pain and suffering. Noneconomic damages sometimes exceed economic damages by a large margin.
If I die as a result of the misdiagnosis, will my claim die with me?
No, not as long as you would have had a valid personal injury claim if you had lived over the misdiagnosis. If you die as a result of the misdiagnosis, the personal representative of your probate estate will be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit, in the name of your estate within one year of your death. Your estate will be able to claim damages for funeral and burial expenses, outstanding medical bills, grief suffered by your close relatives, and any other amounts the court considers fair under the circumstances.
The amount for grief or other intangible damages suffered by your close relatives will be distributed directly to them, while amounts for medical, funeral, and burial expenses will be distributed to your estate, since it is your estate that will be liable for these expenses.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit, and how long is it likely to take before I receive compensation?
Under Illinois medical malpractice law, you must file a medical malpractice lawsuit within two years of the malpractice that triggered the lawsuit. There is a loophole in this deadline, however when it comes to a misdiagnosis – the two-year period doesn’t begin to run until you knew or should have known of the misdiagnosis.
Obviously, since even the doctor didn’t know that his or her original diagnosis was wrong at the time when it was made, there would be no way that you could have known about it on the day that it occurred. You might accidentally miss the deadline, however, if you negligently fail to see a doctor after it becomes obvious that your condition is progressing in an unexpected manner.
It is impossible to say with certainty how long it could take from the time when you retain a personal injury lawyer until the time you put money in your pocket. Although in most cases the process takes anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, it is possible for years to elapse before you receive compensation. The stronger your case is, the more quickly the opposing party is likely to offer a generous settlement.
Does Illinois apply any limits on medical malpractice damages?
Many states have enacted caps on personal injury damages in medical malpractice cases. Although the Illinois legislature has enacted statutory caps on noneconomic damages (such as pain and suffering) that have yet to be repealed, these caps were declared unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court in 1997. Punitive damages are not allowed in medical malpractice cases.
Contact Our Medical Misdiagnosis Attorneys Today
For over 20 years, Malman Law has represented more than 15,000 personal injury victims from neighborhoods and towns in and around the Chicago, Illinois area, as well as clients from cities and counties throughout the state. Many of our clients live in Cook County in Riverside, Westchester, Berwyn, Sauk Valley, Cicero, Lansing, Bellwood, Maywood, Dolton, South Holland, Olympia Fields, Hazel Crest, Blue Island, Homewood, Matteson, Oak Lawn, Chicago Heights, Harvey, and Oak Park. We also have clients that reside in Lake County, DuPage County, and Will County.
To better serve our clients, Malman Law employs a full time Registered Nurse with over 30 years experience working and operating various nursing homes throughout Chicagoland. Our nurse is dedicated to reviewing all of the nursing home and medical malpractice cases to assist in the prosecution of the cases.
We care deeply about the rights of the injured, and we won’t back down from the fight. Dial 1-(888) 625-6265 or fill out our free online consultation and schedule a completely free medical malpractice case evaluation.