When you go to a routine physical or find a doctor because you feel there is something wrong with your health, you trust your medical provider to use the correct diagnostic tools. In some cases, however, medical professionals do not follow the proper procedures, causing critical delays in getting an accurate diagnosis and starting treatment.
Delayed diagnoses can exacerbate medical problems, leading to complications that would not have occurred if treatment started earlier. This can cause prolonged pain and disrupt your daily life, and you may even have to deal with additional medical expenses. By working with an experienced medical malpractice attorney, you can hold the negligent parties accountable for their actions. A Harrisburg delayed diagnosis lawyer can fight for you to receive the compensation you need to overcome your injuries.
Delayed Diagnosis as a Form of Medical Negligence
While healthcare providers occasionally exercise their due diligence and still miss a patient’s medical condition, some professionals overlook a disease or injury due to negligence. Per 1996 Act 135 § 821A(b), medical negligence is the result of a provider failing to meet the standards of care required of their profession. This duty of care may be breached when a doctor:
- Dismisses a patient’s claims without investigation
- Fails to order required diagnostic tests
- Ignores pertinent information in a patient’s medical history
- Uses diagnostic tools that are inappropriate for the patient’s symptoms
- Fails to complete proper follow-up care
The key to discerning whether a medical mistake is based in negligence is the professional standard of care. If a doctor uses the standard procedures other professionals would use under the same circumstances but they are ineffective for diagnosing a specific patient, the doctor may not be at fault. However, if a medical professional ignores the standard diagnosis practices, that mistake could be an act of medical malpractice.
Under 2002 Act 13 §504(b), a medical expert’s testimony is required to show that a medical provider deviated from the profession’s standard of care. Harrisburg attorneys can coordinate with the appropriate experts to determine whether negligence was the direct cause of a delayed diagnosis.
Laws Governing Delayed Diagnosis Claims
No matter how solid a medical negligence claim may be, the case may be dismissed if the injured party does not file the necessary paperwork within the statute of limitations. In delayed diagnosis claims, an injured patient typically has two years from when the injury occurred to file a lawsuit per 42 Pa. Code 42 § 5524(2).
There is no cap on compensatory damages for Pennsylvania personal injury cases. Patients injured by a delayed diagnosis can request compensation for current and future medical bills arising from the delayed diagnosis, as well as for pain, suffering, and other noneconomic damages.
Wrongful Death Claims
A delayed diagnosis can be a fatal mistake. When that is the case, the deceased’s family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit under 42 Pa. Code § 8301. Under this statute, a patient’s spouse, adult children, or parents can file for wrongful death. Statute 42 Pa. Code § 8301(b) states that regardless of which beneficiary files the action, any damages awarded must be shared among all beneficiaries in accordance with the deceased’s will or Pennsylvania intestacy laws.
Through a wrongful death claim, loved ones can seek compensation for expenses related to funeral arrangements and the deceased’s prior medical care. Harrisburg lawyers can help people injured by a delayed diagnosis or their bereaved family members follow the necessary laws and court procedures for a successful lawsuit.
Seek Support From a Harrisburg Delayed Diagnosis Attorney
Initiating a medical malpractice suit after experiencing the consequences of a delayed diagnosis can be a lot to manage, especially as you work to maintain or recover your health. With the help of a Harrisburg delayed diagnosis lawyer, that burden can be lifted. Using their legal knowledge and experience, your attorney can build and present your case so that you can focus on your recovery and still receive the compensation you need. Contact Lowenthal & Abrams, Injury Attorneys, today.