As a Philadelphia cancer misdiagnosis attorney, one deals with tragic situations every day. Cancer is among the most insidious, destructive diseases that can befall anyone, and an improper diagnosis can make things exponentially worse.
Many of the cancer misdiagnosis clients we help have already suffered irreparable damage to their health by the time they first visit us. While a cancer misdiagnosis attorney from The Cochran Firm can’t do anything to help you reverse this harm, we can take legal action against the health care provider responsible for the situation, to help you seek financial compensation for what happened.
Here we delve into more detail on how cancer misdiagnosis lawsuits work and how you might be able to benefit from one.
How Does Cancer Misdiagnosis Occur?
First, it’s important to define what “cancer misdiagnosis” means. It’s a blanket term that refers to a number of types of diagnostic errors related to cancer, including:
- Failure to spot cancer symptoms
- A mix-up of test results, such as where one patient receives results meant for someone else
- Failure to order diagnostic tests in a timely fashion
- Misinterpretation of test results
- Failure to refer a patient to a specialist.
Of course, some of these errors have more serious repercussions than others. If a doctor mistakenly tells you that you have cancer when, in fact, you do not, you may suffer significant emotional trauma, but your physical well-being will not be at risk.
On the other hand, if you’re wrongly given a clean bill of health following cancer screening, you’ll likely lose valuable time that could have been spent in treatment. As cancer is a disease for which early intervention is crucial, a mistake like this has the potential to cause massive damage to your health.
According to this study, cancer misdiagnosis most commonly occurs due to “errors in clinical judgment,” such as the failure to order diagnostic tests quickly enough. The report also found that the majority of the diagnostic errors it looked at (85%) were of “high severity.”
The Philadelphia cancer misdiagnosis lawyers at The Cochran Firm deal with medical malpractice issues of all types. If you or a loved one has had to deal with worsened health outcomes because of a botched cancer diagnosis or another such issue, you can trust us to deal with your claim.
The Process of a Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim
As soon as you receive confirmation that a misdiagnosis has occurred, it’s time to consult with a cancer misdiagnosis lawyer in Philadelphia. Your attorney will be able to explain the process that lies ahead and guide you through the initial steps.
Once you’ve decided to pursue legal action, our Philadelphia cancer misdiagnosis attorneys will start the case-building process. This involves collecting and examining medical records, lab results, radiology reports, and expert testimony. We’ll also need to establish that the physician in charge of your testing failed to properly discharge their duty of care to you and that this failure caused you harm.
Before filing a lawsuit, we will attempt to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company of the doctor or the health care facility employing them. However, if no settlement is possible at this point, we’ll proceed with a court filing. From here, both sides embark on the discovery process; this involves the exchange of documentation and other key pieces of evidence, and there may also be depositions.
A lawsuit filing does not mean that your case must end up before a judge and jury; there will be further opportunities for one-on-one negotiations during and after the discovery process. In fact, the majority of cancer misdiagnosis lawsuits are settled outside the courtroom. Your case might also be settled through mediation, where both parties agree to hire a neutral third party to facilitate negotiation and discussion. The mediator does not issue any binding requirements in relation to your case.
If no satisfactory settlement presents itself through any of these means, the case will go to trial, and a judge or jury will decide whether the doctor was negligent and if this negligence caused harm to the patient. If the decision is in the patient’s favor, the court will determine the amounts of damages to be awarded.
Wrongful Death Claims Arising From Cancer Misdiagnosis
Diagnostic errors frequently have deadly results in cancer cases. This paper from Johns Hopkins reveals that an estimated 100,000 Americans either die or suffer permanent disability due to incorrect or delayed diagnoses every year, and 37.8% of these misdiagnoses are related to cancer.
If your parent, child, or spouse dies due to a cancer misdiagnosis, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the doctor or health care facility responsible for the error. In Pennsylvania, potential damages in wrongful death cases include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Costs associated with handling the deceased person’s estate
- Medical costs incurred before the deceased person’s death, particularly those related to the misdiagnosis
- Wages and benefits the deceased person would have earned had they lived
- Compensation for pain and suffering the deceased person endured before their death due to the misdiagnosis
- Loss of consortium or loss of companionship. Damages of this type compensate family members of a deceased person for their emotional pain and suffering, as well as the loss of the deceased’s love, companionship, and care.
It’s important to note that under Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations for wrongful death claims, you must file your lawsuit within two years of the date of death. Though there are limited exceptions to this rule, you will generally lose your entitlement to file suit if you fail to do so in advance of this deadline.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How common is cancer misdiagnosis?
Sadly, misdiagnoses of serious illnesses occur much more regularly than you might think. According to this 2020 study, almost 10% of people with symptoms related to cancer, an infection, or a major vascular condition will be incorrectly diagnosed in the United States.
What types of cancer are misdiagnosed most often?
Reports suggest that the most common cancer misdiagnoses occur in cases of breast cancer, skin cancer, lymphoma, colorectal cancer, and lung cancer. However, misdiagnosis is possible for cancers of all types.
Does every cancer misdiagnosis case go to trial?
No, the majority of cancer misdiagnosis lawsuits (and personal injury lawsuits in general) are settled via out-of-court negotiation.
What kind of evidence is used in a cancer misdiagnosis case?
The most important pieces of evidence in cancer misdiagnosis cases typically include medical records, expert testimony, and personal testimony about the impact of the misdiagnosis on your life.
Contact a Philadelphia Cancer Misdiagnosis Attorney From The Cochran Firm Today
The repercussions of cancer and its symptoms, by themselves, are a massive blow. The extra medical difficulties and emotional trauma brought about by a botched diagnosis are often too much for families to bear.
If you’re in the process of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, you need proper legal representation. The Cochran Firm in Philadelphia works with families like yours every day, striving to get as much compensation as possible for clients so they can get their lives back on track. Don’t let negligent medical facilities and their insurance companies bully you into accepting less than you deserve; work with us to give yourself the best possible shot at a proper settlement.
You can schedule your free initial consultation with us over the phone at 800-969-4400 or via the form on our website. Remember, you won’t have to pay us a dime unless and until we emerge from your case with a settlement.