Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis – What Damages Are Available in California?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 23, 2012

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Damages in breast misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis cases vary depending upon each situation. However, according to Dan Hodes, an attorney whose practice focuses on these types of cases, there are some commonalities.

According to Hodes, “Non-economic damages are capped at $250,000 by law in California. Economic damages, which are defined as loss of earnings and un-reimbursed medical expenses, are a bit more complicated. For instance, if a woman’s stage at diagnosis is such that they are more likely than not to recur and not survive, in California, one can recover the future loss of earnings and the future cost of medical care, even though that person, at this particular point in time, is cancer-free.”

“In other words, the patient is diagnosed with advanced Stage III or Stage IV disease, and if it’s our position that that patient should have been diagnosed at a Stage I or Stage II, our argument would be that we are entitled to recover now for all of the future damages that are more likely than not to occur. That would include future loss of earnings and future cost of care. Those damages are frequently awarded in such cases.”

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancers amongst North American women. Diagnosed early, and correctly, can often save a woman’s life. When this isn’t done, patients become victims and should be compensated fairly. According to Hodes, “The lifetime risk of breast cancer is one in nine, so it’s a disease that, unfortunately, is with us to stay. When you have those kinds of numbers, there’s going to be a certain small percentage of these women who, in spite of best efforts, didn’t get timely diagnosed. Itýs an invariably progressive disease untreated and undiagnosed. Those women deserve quality representation and quality help and compensation when appropriate.”

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