Cancer is a leading cause of death in America today, according to information released by the U.S. Center for Disease Control. Fortunately, patients who receive a cancer diagnosis have advanced knowledge about the disease and innovative treatment methods at their disposal. However, many of these treatments are more effective and may lead to an increased chance of survival when they are used sooner rather than later.

If you received a delayed diagnosis, you might have lost valuable treatment time for cancer, which could serve as grounds for a malpractice case that a qualified cancer malpractice attorney could help you file. An Albany delayed cancer diagnosis lawyer could help answer questions and file legal claims for patients who experience this form of malpractice.

Seeking Compensation for a Delayed Cancer Diagnosis

The first step in seeking civil compensation for delayed cancer diagnosis in Albany is to meet with an experienced attorney. Once a potential plaintiff explains their circumstances and potential damages, their lawyer could help them determine if they have a valid claim.

There are numerous types of compensation available in these cases. These damages usually fall into one of two broad categories: economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages replace a patient’s financial losses and return them to the position they were in prior to the delay in diagnosis. This generally includes covering medical bills, lost wages, and other measurable losses. Proving these damages is possible through the use of documentary evidence like hospital bills, cancelled checks, or receipts.

Non-economic damages cover a different range of losses. These damages provide compensation for subjective losses like a plaintiff’s emotional distress or mental anguish. A late cancer diagnosis has the potential to lead to severe injuries and losses for the patient and their family members, so plaintiffs should discuss the following potentially recoverable damages with their legal counsel:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Physical limitations
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Loss of consortium
  • Past and future lost income
  • Past and future medical bills

Since these losses are subjective, it is not possible to establish the amount of damages accrued using documentary evidence.

What is the Statute of Limitations?

As found in New York Civil Practice Law and Rules §214-a, plaintiffs seeking compensation for a delayed cancer diagnosis have a time limit of two years and six months to file their claim. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations and is state-imposed. If a cancer patient does not file their case within this time frame, they would likely not have the legal right to pursue compensation.

Exceptions to the statute of limitations are rarely used by the courts. In most cases, the failure to file a lawsuit within the 30-month window will mark the end of a patient’s chances of financial compensation. However, there is an important exception that applies to the delayed diagnosis in cancer cases. This exception is known as Lavern’s Law.

What is Lavern’s Law?

Until 2018, patients in New York who were dealing with a delayed cancer diagnosis were often left with few legal options. In many cases, the statute of limitations expired before the patient ever learned of their misdiagnosis. This left many patients not only with cancer that might have been treatable if addressed at the right time, but also with the inability to hold anyone accountable for their negligence.

In 2018, the state adopted something known as Lavern’s Law. This law, named for a 41-year-old mother who died after a delayed cancer diagnosis, extends the statute of limitations when the diagnosis of cancer is delayed.

The issue in these cases is that many cancer patients do not learn of their condition until years after the diagnosis was missed by the doctors initially. Because the statute of limitations traditionally begins to expire from the date of this misdiagnosis, many patients only discovered they had cancer after their opportunity to pursue legal action had already expired. Under the change in the law, the statutory period no longer begins to expire at the point where the misdiagnosis occurred. Instead, it is tied to the discovery of the cancer, which could provide plaintiffs with several more years to pursue a lawsuit. This approach provides a fair resolution to those families who are facing a cancer diagnosis that might have been avoided through proper medical intervention in the past.

It is important to note that this exception is narrow. While the change in the law now extends the statute of limitations as it applies to delayed cancer diagnosis, it does not extend it to other types of malpractice cases. That means that many other victims of medical malpractice are unable to rely on the discovery standard when it comes to calculating the amount of time they have to file suit. Given the complexity of the statute of limitations and how it applies to malpractice cases, it is important to always consult with an Albany delayed cancer diagnosis attorney.

What is Gathered in the Discovery Phase?

After a lawsuit is filed, the discovery phase of the case begins. During this time, both sides of the case research and share information such as:

  • Medical records
  • Sworn depositions of the plaintiff, defendants, and any witnesses
  • Insurance policies
  • Medical bills
  • Employment records

A settlement could be negotiated during this phase or any time up to and during a trial. A settlement is not an admission of guilt on the part of the defendants, but rather an agreement to pay the plaintiff a sum to drop the lawsuit.

In return, the plaintiff agrees to not seek legal compensation by filing another lawsuit for the same event against the defendant. A delayed cancer diagnosis lawyer in Albany could fight for the best settlement possible on a plaintiff’s behalf before trial.

Seek Legal Help From an Albany Delayed Cancer Diagnosis Attorney

All people deserve timely and appropriate medical care, especially when they suffer from any form of cancer. If you received a delayed cancer diagnosis, you might be experiencing consequences that could have been avoided if your diagnosis was made sooner.

By hiring a qualified Albany delayed cancer diagnosis lawyer, you might find that you are entitled to compensation for your late diagnosis damages. Call today to get the legal help you may need to pursue financial recovery effectively.