Doctors, like all other human beings, make mistakes. Because of their extensive and rigorous training, and because of their power to make life and death decisions concerning their patients, health care providers are held to a higher standard of behavior than most. They are expected to have a high level of concentration and a strong sense of responsibility to their patients. Nonetheless, not every misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose constitutes malpractice. For medical malpractice to occur there must be negligence that likely caused a bad outcome. That negligence must be what an expert witness testifies in their opinion was a failure to comply with “the standard of care.”
If you have suffered permanent injury, or if a family member has suffered a wrongful death, due to a mistaken or failed diagnosis that was the result of improper care, you are entitled to substantial damages. If you reside in Middle Tennessee, you should consult with Brian Cummings of Cummings Law, one of the finest personal injury attorneys whose office is located right here in Nashville. You will find his legal counsel astute and his response to your situation compassionate. Don’t let his warm demeanor fool you, however. He is a vigorous, agile fighter during pretrial negotiations and in a court of law.
Meeting the Standards of Medical Malpractice
In addition to fulfilling the test of failing to meet accepted medical standards as mentioned above, the following criteria must also be met:
- A doctor-patient relationship existed at the time of the alleged diagnostic error
- The doctor’s negligence caused the patient harm
- This negative outcome would not have occurred in the absence of the doctor’s mistake
Types of Diagnostic Errors
There are a number of ways a physician may be negligent relative to diagnosing the patient:
- Failing to consider a potential medical problem when making the original diagnosis
- Administering or interpreting tests incorrectly
- Not recognizing the urgent nature of the patient’s symptoms and delaying diagnosis
- Misinterpreting a medication response, resulting in an inaccurate diagnosis
- Not properly communicating with other health care providers
- Not properly following up on test results or other information
The most difficult aspect in a diagnostic medical malpractice case is proving that the physician’s negligence was the direct cause of your injury or disease and that a sharper, more focused doctor would have made a correct diagnosis under the same circumstances. Fortunately, Brian Cummings has 20 years of experience in the medical malpractice field and has several innovative tactics with which to attack the problem. He also has a strong track record of winning millions of dollars for his clients – including obtaining over $20 million for his clients over just the past three years.
Our Failure to Diagnose Attorney Has the Strategies to Win You Substantial Damages
If you have had the misfortune to be misdiagnosed or to have your doctor fail to diagnose a serious, or even fatal, illness, Brian Cummings knows the extent of your pain. If you give us the chance, Cummings Law will fight strenuously to get you the compensation you are entitled to. In a misdiagnosis/failure to diagnose lawsuit, you and your family deserve damages to cover both your economic and non-economic needs.
Economic compensation reimburses you for all the costs caused by your misdiagnosis or your failure to be diagnosed. These damages include medical and rehabilitation costs, lost income (both present and projected in the future), necessary medical devices and/or equipment, and services you can no longer perform yourself (e.g. cleaning the house, mowing the lawn).
Non-economic compensation is designed to serve as a kind of reparation for the intangibles you may have lost as a result of your doctor’s misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose. These intangibles include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, shortened life span, damages to your relationships with loved ones, and permanent disability or disfigurement.
Certificate of Good Faith
Medical malpractice lawsuits are complicated and require a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to be handled properly and successfully resolved. In Tennessee, the plaintiff’s attorney must file a certificate of good faith, also known as an affidavit of merit, when a medical malpractice lawsuit is filed. This certificate states that the plaintiff has consulted with one or more experts in the specific medical discipline who can attest to the fact that the defending doctor has, in fact, been negligent in terms of his or her diagnosis. Without this certificate, the case will be permanently dismissed.
Another specific regulation in Tennessee is that any medical experts who testify during a medical malpractice trial must have been licensed to practice medicine in the specialty either in Tennessee or in one of its bordering states during the 12 month period prior to the date the negligence occurred. The expert must also have practiced in the profession during that same time period.
Statute of Limitations for Misdiagnosis/Failure to Diagnose Lawsuits in Tennessee
According to Tennessee law, all misdiagnosis claims must be filed within 1 year of the date the injury is discovered, but not more than 3 years after the date the injury occurred. The only exception to this regulation is when the misdiagnosis involves a situation in which the doctor failed to remove surgical equipment from the patient.
Caps for Damages in Misdiagnosis/Failure to Diagnose Lawsuits in Tennessee
Like several other states, Tennessee puts a cap on medical malpractice damages, limiting the amount of money you (the plaintiff) can collect. This cap is only applicable to non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering or loss of mobility, which are capped at $750,000. (Economic damages are unlimited in Tennessee.) This cap for non-economic damages goes up to $1,000,000 if the plaintiff has suffered catastrophic injuries due to the doctor’s misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose. Tennessee law includes the following under the umbrella of “catastrophic injuries.”
- Spinal cord injuries resulting in partial or total paralysis
- Amputation of two hands, two feet, or one of each
- Third-degree burns covering 40 percent or more of the body or face
- Wrongful death of a parent of one or more minor children
Caps on damages also do not apply if the defendant intended to inflict harm on the plaintiff, acted with malicious intent, deliberately falsified or destroyed records to attempt to avoid liability, or treated the plaintiff while impaired by alcohol or drugs. The aforementioned circumstances will most likely lead Cummings Law to sue your doctor for punitive, as well as compensatory, damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant and to discourage other medical professionals from similar misconduct.
Contact Our Nashville Misdiagnosis Attorney
At Cummings Law, we have the tools and compassion to help you through this very difficult time in your life. We know all too well how failure to diagnose cancer at an early stage can result in unnecessary pain, miserable treatments, and possible early death.
We have seen patients anguished by the results of medical malpractice, including a misdiagnosis or a failure to timely diagnosis a problem. We have known patients to undergo unnecessary surgeries, to fail to get procedures they urgently needed, or to be further medicated when their original symptoms stemmed from an unsuspected medication reaction. Call us or fill out a form on our website and we will see you through your hardships and win you every bit of compensation you deserve.