What are my rights if I was diagnosed with a simple infection but have something more serious?

I went to see a doctor about some symptoms I was having. I was diagnosed with a simple infection. Now, 3 months later, the doctor contacted me apologizing because my lab results happened to just get back (they were lost and I was not informed). My results show a serious infection and I have bigger issues because it was not treated right away. I’m scared and anxious. Can I take legal action?

Asked on November 7, 2015 under Malpractice Law, North Carolina

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).
Both the doctor and the lab are liable for negligence.  
Negligence on the part of the lab is failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable lab would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).
Prior to filing a lawsuit for negligence naming both the doctor and the lab as defendants, it may be possible to settle the case with their insurance carriers.
Your claim filed with the doctor's malpractice insurance carrier and the lab's insurance carrier should include your medical bills, medical reports, and if applicable, documentation of wage loss.
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.
If the case is settled with the insurance carriers for both the doctor and the lab, NO lawsuit is filed.  If the case is settled with one, but not both partys' insurance carriers, only name the party with whom the case has NOT settled as a defendant in your lawsuit for negligence.  If the case is NOT settled with either party, name both as defendants in your lawsuit for negligence.
If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance carriers, reject the settlement offers and file your lawsuit for negligence.
If the case is NOT settled, your lawsuit for negligence must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

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).
Both the doctor and the lab are liable for negligence.  
Negligence on the part of the lab is failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable lab would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).
Prior to filing a lawsuit for negligence naming both the doctor and the lab as defendants, it may be possible to settle the case with their insurance carriers.
Your claim filed with the doctor's malpractice insurance carrier and the lab's insurance carrier should include your medical bills, medical reports, and if applicable, documentation of wage loss.
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.
If the case is settled with the insurance carriers for both the doctor and the lab, NO lawsuit is filed.  If the case is settled with one, but not both partys' insurance carriers, only name the party with whom the case has NOT settled as a defendant in your lawsuit for negligence.  If the case is NOT settled with either party, name both as defendants in your lawsuit for negligence.
If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance carriers, reject the settlement offers and file your lawsuit for negligence.
If the case is NOT settled, your lawsuit for negligence must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.


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