Doctors and nurses do not always correctly diagnose conditions. In fact, experts estimate that each year, doctors misdiagnose 12 million people, missing 20% of serious medical conditions. Kentucky residents would do well to get a second, third or even fourth opinion when diagnosed with a condition.
Misdiagnoses harm patients in various ways. For instance, people may have undergone unnecessary surgical procedures, had unnecessarily aggressive treatments performed or developed avoidable complications.
Individuals who are misdiagnosed and injured as a result might be able to recover compensatory damages under medical malpractice law. In this state, victims are required to file their malpractice claim within one year of the date when they incurred the injury. Most of the time, victims file a claim against their primary care physician, but some suits will involve other health professionals. In any case, since doctors are considered to be independent contractors, victims do not sue the hospital or another medical facility.
For a claim to be valid, there must be evidence of negligence or failure to live up to generally accepted medical standards. To look at it a different way, victims must show that another doctor of similar skills and experience could have avoided the mistake made by the defendant. Victims must then connect the negligence to their injuries.
Victims can hardly be expected to do all this alone, which is why there are attorneys who work in medical malpractice law who can handle each step of building up and negotiating a case. Victims may want to schedule a case evaluation. An attorney may request an inquiry with the local medical board and hire investigators to gather evidence supporting the claim. A lawyer may strive for an out-of-court settlement, taking the case to court as a last resort.