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Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Seek Help from Lawyers: When is Misdiagnosis Medical Malpractice?

What if a misdiagnosis by a health professional caused you to suffer serious and permanent or semi-permanent injury? Do you have legal rights as a patient? If you believe that your injury was caused because of misdiagnosis, the first step should be to seek legal advice from lawyers specialising in medical malpractice.

Misdiagnosis is more common than people think, but not all cases of misdiagnosis lead to serious injury and damages. If, however, the harm caused the reduction in enjoyment of life, loss of earnings and extra medical costs to treat the condition, then you may have been a victim of misdiagnosis and have the right to seek compensation with the help of a professional medical law lawyer.

When is the Misdiagnosis Malpractice?

There must be a doctor-patient relationship. The professional must thus have the duty of care. One cannot self-diagnose based on the information at the website of a health professional and then hold the practitioner accountable for the injuries suffered because of the diagnosis.

Only if the practitioner performed the diagnosis in the capacity of providing care to a patient, does it meet the requirement of duty of care. If you are unsure of who to hold accountable for the health-related injury suffered, get in touch with experienced personal injury or negligence lawyers to help you determine who had the duty of care.

Misdiagnosis constitutes medical malpractice when the misdiagnosis causes the patient to suffer serious harm. If the condition cleared up even when you have been misdiagnosed and treated for another condition and you have not suffered serious harm and damages, it does not constitute malpractice.

The misdiagnosis must have been the result of not following the correct procedure in diagnosing the patient. The test here entails determining whether another health professional with similar training in the same industry, faced with the same information and circumstances, would have followed the same procedure and would have come to the same diagnosis, or would they have followed another procedure and another diagnosis. To this end, the opinions of other medical experts are required. The lawyers thus seek such opinions to determine the validity of the malpractice claim.

You can claim compensation for damages suffered in terms of:

  • Past and future medical expenses.
  • Past and future loss of earnings.
  • Loss of life enjoyment (amenities).
  • Emotional trauma.

What you need for your first consultation with the lawyers:

  • Medical records if you have such available (otherwise the lawyers can assist you in getting such from the practitioner and relevant institutions.
  • Proof of costs (thus receipts for expenses, medical aid statements and invoices etc.)
  • Salary slips or bank statements.
  • List of contact details regarding health professionals that have assessed or treated you.
  • Your health history.
  • Detailed list of doctor visits, treatments received, communication with the practitioner, and so forth.
  • Prescription medicine bottles or packaging if you still have the items.

If you don’t have all the above available immediately you can still make an appointment with the lawyers who can help you obtain the necessary information. However, having as much information available on your initial appointment will make it easier to determine the potential merits of your case. Get in touch with Adele van der Walt Incorporated for legal advice if you believe that you have been a victim of medical malpractice.

*Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Call on our attorneys for legal advice, rather than relying on the information herein to make any decisions. The information is relevant as at the date of publishing – April 2020.

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