Every medical professional has a duty to provide the best care and treatment to their patients. You need be able to trust that your doctor is acting in your best interests.
In Australia, we have a very high-quality of medical care. But medical misdiagnosis cases are not uncommon – in fact, there are 140,000 cases every year!
Medical misdiagnosis can have serious, sometimes fatal, consequences. If you’ve been misdiagnosed by a medical professional, you may be able to claim medical negligence compensation.
However, you need to meet specific criteria to make this claim. Making a claim when a doctor misdiagnoses your condition requires detailed knowledge to navigate the claims process. Our medical misdiagnosis lawyers can help you build your case and get the compensation you deserve.
What is medical negligence?
Medical negligence occurs when a medical professional fails to meet the required standard of care, causing injury or harm to a patient. Medical misdiagnosis is a common example of negligence.
What is medical misdiagnosis?
Medical misdiagnosis occurs when a medical professional diagnoses the wrong condition or fails to diagnose a condition at all. Some misdiagnosed conditions include leukemia, pancreatitis, stroke, heart attack and cancer.
Misdiagnosis can occur for many reasons, including overconfidence, fatigue or distraction. A doctor may be under pressure to assess patients quickly or be inexperienced with a particular condition.
There are many potential consequences of misdiagnosis, including incorrect treatment, no treatment and delayed treatment. All can cause serious harm to a patient. Medication Errors can also be grounds for a medical negligence claim.
Is misdiagnosis always medical negligence?
Medical misdiagnosis may be negligence if the doctor breaches their duty of care and causes harm to a patient. But misdiagnosis isn’t always caused by negligence.
For example, the doctor may lack the medical evidence to make a correct diagnosis initially. And if there is no harm to the patient, it’s unlikely to be negligence.
Additionally, medical misdiagnosis is not usually considered malpractice unless the doctor deliberately intends to cause harm.
Making a claim for medical misdiagnosis
To make a successful medical misdiagnosis claim, you need to prove that:
- your medical professional caused the misdiagnosis by not taking reasonable care or not having the skills expected at their level; and
- you were directly harmed by the misdiagnosis.
If you can provide evidence of this, you may be eligible for medical negligence compensation to cover past and future medical costs, lost income, and pain and suffering as a result of your injury.
The compensation amount would depend on the extent of your loss and your injury. It could range from tens of thousands to millions.
Timeframes for misdiagnosis claims
Medical misdiagnosis claims can take a while to settle – sometimes years – as the condition may deteriorate over time or need to stabilise before compensation can be determined.
The best place to start is to get professional legal help from a medical misdiagnosis lawyer to determine whether you have a claim.
There are time limits for making a claim – usually within 3 years of:
- discovering your misdiagnosis
- the death of a loved one who was misdiagnosed.
For a child, there is no time limit until they turn 18, when the 3-year rule applies.
How Main Lawyers help
If we determine that you have a case for making a claim when a doctor misdiagnoses your condition, we will collect the evidence you need to support your claim, negotiate with insurers on your behalf and meet the necessary time frames. Generally, you won’t need to go to court, though we will support you through the process if you do.