What can I do about a misdiagnosis that my dermatologist made?

About 6 months ago I went to see my dermatologist about an extremely itchy rash that was affecting my everyday life. She told me it was all in my head and sent me on my way. She barely took 2 minutes of her time to listen to me, wouldn’t do a skin scraping or any small skin biopsy the rash was covering my body. Even though I assured her I didn’t have allergies, she told me to take Zyrtec because I “probably have allergies”. After 6 more months of suffering, I finally went to a new dermatologist. I told her my symptoms and she instantly knew what it was a bad case of scabies. Since finding out this diagnosis I have faced depression and could have been infecting so many people unknowingly with this horrible disease. Do I have a case against her?

Asked on October 15, 2015 under Malpractice Law, Florida

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Medical malpractice is negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care that degree of care that a reasonable medical practitioner in the community would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm.
Prior to filing a lawsuit for negligence against the first dermatologist, it may be possible to settle the case with her malpractice insurance carrier.  Obtain your medical bills, medical reports including the medical report from the second dermatologist and documentation of wage loss.  You may also be able to recover lost tuition from taking a semester off due to the doctor's negligence assuming that you paid tuition for that semester.  Your claim filed with the first doctor's malpractice insurance carrier should include those items.
Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your medical condition and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  Compensaton for lost tuition is straight reimbursement.
If the case is settled with the first dermatologist's malpractice insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.
If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the malpractice insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the first dermatologist.  If the case is NOT settled with the malpractice insurance carrier, your lawsuit for negligence against the first doctor must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.