DC Delayed Diagnosis Lawyer

Modern medicine and technology allow medical professionals to take swift action to diagnose and treat various illnesses. The sooner you know the source of your health problems, the better your outcome may be.

Unfortunately, your health may deteriorate if your diagnosis is delayed because of your physician’s or healthcare provider’s negligence. If you have experienced this situation and are suffering because of it, contact a DC delayed diagnosis lawyer right away to determine whether you are entitled to compensation. One of our medical malpractice attorneys could help you understand the legal implications of a doctor’s or hospital’s errors in terms of late diagnoses.

Reasons for a Delayed Diagnosis

Doctors’ offices and hospitals are profit-driven businesses, sometimes at the expense of patients. For example, when cost-saving maneuvers result in understaffing, patients may not receive the attention they need to adequately communicate their symptoms, which is crucial to ordering the right tests for a speedy and accurate diagnosis. Besides understaffed medical facilities, other reasons for delayed diagnoses include:

  • Failure to order the correct lab or diagnostic tests
  • Sub-standard follow-up care after the patient’s initial visit
  • Scheduling discrepancies
  • Misinterpreting test results
  • Mishandling of patient paperwork
  • Failure to refer a patient to the proper specialist

A delayed diagnosis can lead to a patient’s condition worsening, or in some cases, allow a deadly disease to spread. A local lawyer could delve into the facts surrounding a patient’s injuries or illness to determine whether a medical professional was at fault.

What is the Role of Negligence in Delayed Diagnosis Cases in the District?

Sometimes, a diagnosis is delayed because a conscientious physician wants to run a wide range of tests. This method can be especially useful to a patient suffering from a rare condition that is not easily identifiable. However, if a physician is careless and fails to follow through on a patient’s care, this could be considered negligence by a local civil court. A plaintiff must prove that the defendant physician did not provide the same level of care that a reasonable healthcare provider with the same qualifications would have provided under similar circumstances. It is also necessary to prove that this negligence directly harmed the claimant. A well-versed attorney could sift through the patient’s medical history to determine whether the poor timing of their diagnosis amounts to negligence.

Statute of Limitations

Patients who suffer undue harm because of a delayed diagnosis must file civil lawsuits against liable healthcare providers within a certain amount time after the negligence occurs. The statute of limitations defined in the Code of the District of Columbia §12–301 generally allows an injured or sick patient three years to file a lawsuit for medical errors. Exceptions apply when the plaintiff is less than 18 years of age, ruled mentally incompetent, or incarcerated.

Consequences of Filing Late

The initial filing deadline must be met because if a plaintiff is even a day late, the defendant will file a motion to dismiss the case citing the statute of limitations. The court will likely grant the motion, and the plaintiff will lose the right to be compensated for the harm someone else’s error caused.

Are Damages for a Delayed Diagnosis in DC Capped?

While many states restrict, or cap, the amount of non-economic and punitive damages a plaintiff can receive, the District of Columbia does not cap awards for pain and suffering, the loss of enjoyment of life, or emotional anguish. It also does not limit punitive damages, which are meant to punish a defendant who acted fraudulently, recklessly, with ill will, or wanton disregard for the victim’s welfare.

A Washington DC Delayed Diagnosis Lawyer Could Help

If your doctor does not diagnose your condition in a reasonable amount of time, your health could worsen, or you could miss the window in which a cure or treatment was possible.

If a medical professional took too long to identify and treat your condition and you suffered additional harm as a result, a DC delayed diagnosis lawyer could help you navigate the complex legal system and achieve financial compensation. Call today for your initial consultation to start building your case.