Physicians receive years of education and training to examine, diagnose, and treat ailments. When a misdiagnosis is made, it could cost a patient immensely. They may suffer serious harmed or even die due to a doctor’s misdiagnosis.
If a physician misdiagnosed your medical condition and your health deteriorated as a result, a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney may be able to help you file a lawsuit based on medical negligence. Consulting with a well-versed Albany misdiagnosis lawyer could be the first step to recovering the compensation you deserve.
Types of Misdiagnosis in Albany
Some medical misdiagnoses do not have serious consequences, but others could impact a patient’s entire life. Common examples of misdiagnosis in Albany include:
- Asthma which sometimes may be misdiagnosed as recurring bronchitis
- A cancer misdiagnosis that results in painful, debilitating, and unneeded treatment like chemotherapy and radiation
- Heart attack misdiagnosed as indigestion, panic attack, or another issue
- Lymph node inflammation misdiagnosed as appendicitis, possibly leading to unnecessary surgery
- Staph infection that is mistaken for the common flu
- Stroke which could be dismissed as migraine or another similar issue, especially in younger patients
Does it Matter if the Misdiagnosis was for a Minor Issue?
No matter what type of misdiagnosis a patient receives, an Albany misdiagnosis attorney may be able to help them recover compensation if the error causes injuries and damages. Even for relatively minor instances of misdiagnosis, the patient’s quality of life and ability to perform as they normally would at work and home could be grounds for a legal claim.
Legal Requirements for a Medical Misdiagnosis Claim
Patients injured by a doctor’s negligence are legally entitled to seek compensation for their damages through the civil court system. However, they must follow certain laws and requirements when doing so.
One such requirement is the statute of limitations. Under New York Civil Practice Law and Rules §214-a, plaintiffs in a medical misdiagnosis case only have two years and six months to file their claim in court.
This makes consulting with a misdiagnosis lawyer in Albany soon after learning of the misdiagnosis potentially very important. If this deadline is not adhered to, injured patients may be barred from seeking compensation for their injuries.
What is a Certificate of Merit?
A certificate of merit is required for all medical cases in Albany, per New York Civil Practice & Law Rules §3012-a. With a certificate of merit, the attorney for the plaintiff states that one of the following circumstances is true:
- The attorney consulted with at least one medical professional with experience in the same type of medicine as the defendant who agrees that a valid legal claim exists
- The attorney attempted three separate times in good faith to meet with medical professionals with the experience in the same type of medicine as the defendant but was unable to do so
If completing the requirements for the certificate of merit would delay the case filing past the statute of limitations, an additional 90-days to file the certificate is allowed after filing the case. Without a certificate of merit, the case could be quickly dismissed by a judge.
Deadline to File a Misdiagnosis Lawsuit
When it comes to medical malpractice lawsuits related to misdiagnosis, there is not an unlimited amount of time to move forward with legal action. Every plaintiff must comply with the strict legal deadline referred to as the statute of limitations.
According to state law, a plaintiff must file their lawsuit within 30 months of the misdiagnosis. The failure to meet this deadline could have a devastating impact on a personal injury lawsuit. Typically, missing this deadline would result in a permanent dismissal of the case. This makes the statute of limitations one of the most dangerous pitfalls for anyone considering a malpractice lawsuit.
There are some exceptions to this rule to be aware of. Minors under the age of 18 generally have additional time to file their suit: the statute of limitations does not being to expire until the minor reaches their 18th birthday. In other words, the statute of limitation for a minor could be as much as 30 months after the day the turn 18. However, this deadline cannot be paused longer than 10 years before the statute begins to expire. This means younger plaintiffs may need to pursue legal action with the help of their parents or guardians prior to their 18th birthday. A misdiagnosis lawyer in Albany could advise someone as to when a particular deadline will be.
There is another exception known as the discovery rule. The 30-month statutory period usually begins to expire on the date the misdiagnosis happens. However, this window of time is paused in some cases where the plaintiff does not immediately discover that they were misdiagnosed. Specifically, it is possible to toll the statute of limitations involving the misdiagnosis of cancer.
There are different categories of monetary damages that could be available through a misdiagnosis lawsuit. Some of these monetary awards are designed to compensate someone for their losses while others are intended to punish the careless medical care provider that was responsible for the misdiagnosis.
Compensatory damages are so named because they are designed to compensate a patient following a misdiagnosis injury. There are also two subcategories of compensatory damages: actual and general damages.
Actual damages are the measurable, out-of-pocket losses that come with misdiagnosis. These actual damages are easy to quantify and can be measured down to the dollar. Some common examples of actual damages include hospital bills, lost wages, or the cost of necessary home renovations to accommodate a disability.
General damages are not quantifiable. While they are designed to compensate the person, this compensation covers those subjective damages like pain and suffering, disfigurement, or mental anguish.
Punitive damages do not exist to compensate a patient for their damages following a misdiagnosis injury. Instead, they punish a doctor, nurse, or medical professional for their recklessness.
This form of monetary damages is not available in every case. For a judge to award punitive damages, there must be a showing of conduct that was so egregious that court felt a monetary award was necessary to deter similar future behavior.
Hire a Skilled Albany Misdiagnosis Attorney Today
If your life is impacted by a misdiagnosis of any kind, it may be time to retain a skilled Albany misdiagnosis lawyer. By showing the court that the defendant negligently caused your damages, an attorney could help you more effectively seek the compensation you are entitled to receive. Call today to learn more.