Medicine is a constantly evolving field, and medical professionals typically face some margin of error in every case they handle. However, diagnosing physicians are required to follow appropriate diagnostic procedures to correctly determine a patient’s condition. A differential diagnosis procedure assesses a patient’s symptoms and medical history and then requires a process of elimination to accurately determine the patient’s condition. While diagnostic mistakes can and do occur at no fault of the diagnosing physician, misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose can occur when a physician fails to uphold the appropriate standard of care required in a specific situation.
Failure to diagnose or a misdiagnosis can have disastrous consequences for a patient. If their attending physician provides an erroneous diagnosis, they could be subjected to treatment that worsens their condition or leaves their actual problem unaddressed. Delayed diagnosis or failure to diagnose could lead to the patient being unable to receive potentially lifesaving medical care they need in a dire situation. If your family has recently experienced any such situation, a Morgantown failure to diagnose attorney is the best resource to consult to determine your options for legal recourse.
If you or a loved one recently suffered harm due to a diagnostic error or a doctor’s failure to accurately diagnose a medical condition, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim. All medical professionals have a professional responsibility to prevent harm to their patients and use acceptable methods for diagnosing and treating their patients. While honest mistakes can happen and some medical conditions mirror the symptoms of others, medical negligence of any kind that results in patient harm qualifies for a medical malpractice suit.
Some of the most common signs of medical malpractice include:
Ultimately, misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose can occur in many ways, and it is not always apparent that a diagnosing physician was negligent in their handling of a patient’s condition. If you are unsure whether a recent experience occurred because of medical negligence, it is essential to speak with a Morgantown medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
While a medical malpractice claim is a type of personal injury claim, there are unique statutes that come into play for this type of case. First and foremost, the plaintiff cannot directly sue the defendant immediately after their injury. The medical malpractice laws of West Virginia require the plaintiff to obtain a certificate of merit from a qualified medical expert who can verify that the defendant in question failed to adhere to appropriate diagnostic techniques and the standard of care the patient required.
Once you obtain this certificate of merit you must send it along with a Notice of Claim to the defendants you intend to sue. Your Morgantown failure to diagnose lawyer will assist you in these preliminary steps to get your case moving appropriately. Once the defendant receives these materials, the case may proceed to a private settlement negotiation process or a trial.
Medicine is a constantly evolving field, and the medical community must reach consensus regarding acceptable treatments, procedures, and diagnostic techniques, as new information and methods become available. For every known medical condition, there is an appropriate standard of care that an attending physician must respect while caring for a patient. Deviations from the standard of care are only acceptable when a patient has unique medical concerns that preclude the standard method of diagnosis or treatment. When medical professionals stray from the standard of care due to negligence, incompetence, or without any clear and appropriate justification, this constitutes medical malpractice.
Along with the procedural requirements unique to medical malpractice claims in West Virginia, state law also dictates the damages a plaintiff can seek in a medical malpractice suit. There is no limit on the amount of economic damages a plaintiff can claim in their suit. These economic damages are likely to include the cost of any necessary corrective medical treatment the plaintiff required to fix the defendant’s mistakes as well as compensation for income lost during recovery. If the plaintiff is left completely unable to return to work due to the defendant’s negligence, they can add lost future earning potential to their economic damages.
When it comes to noneconomic damages for pain and suffering, West Virginia state law caps these damages at $250,000 in medical malpractice claims. However, this cap will increase to $500,000 if the defendant’s actions caused a wrongful death or permanent deformity to the plaintiff in the form of permanent disfigurement or disabilities that diminish the plaintiff’s quality of life. The caps are adjusted to reflect a cost-of-living adjustment. Your Morgantown medical malpractice attorney can help you determine the full scope of the damages you can include in your lawsuit.
It’s important to act quickly to build your medical malpractice claim if you have been harmed by a negligent physician’s misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a medical condition. The right attorney can provide valuable support and guidance in this situation, helping you gather the documentation and evidence you need to substantiate your claim. West Virginia law allows for a two-year statute of limitations, beginning on the date an incident of malpractice occurs, or two years from the date of discovery of harm from malpractice. This may seem like plenty of time, but it’s always best to start building your case as soon as possible to have the best chance of success.
The Wilson, Frame & Metheney, PLLC Law Firm has more than 75 combined years of experience representing clients in the Morgantown, WV area in a wide range of civil claims. We have successfully guided many past clients through medical malpractice claims related to misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose and we are ready to apply this experience to your case. If you are ready to discuss your situation with an experienced Morgantown failure to diagnose attorney, contact us today to schedule a consultation.
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