What are my rights regarding failure to accurately diagnosis an injury?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What are my rights regarding failure to accurately diagnosis an injury?

I was injured about 10 months ago. I saw an urgent care doctor right after the injury and he advised me to have an MRI done, however he said that I had to have my primary doctor order it. So I saw my primary doctor and she ordered an X-ray which showed nothing; she left it at that. Yet, the injury has gotten progressively worse and I am now under the care of a different doctor who sent me in for MRI which showed that I have extensive degenerative disc and nerve damage. Is this something I can sue the former doctor for?

Asked on November 20, 2018 under Malpractice Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

To successfully sue the former doctor, you would have to be able to show both of the following:
1) Fault--that she was careless in some way, or did not provide the level of care that a doctor is reasonably expected to provide. If she did provide the expected level or quality of care, she would not be liable; doctors are only liable when they don't do what we expect of doctors. The fact that she did not catch the degenerative disc and nerve damage does not prove that her care was careless, since if a reasonable doctor would have done and thought what she did, she fulfilled her obligations. (The law accepts that good doctors sometimes miss things.) To prove negligent care, you would need another doctor, who has examined you and your records, to offer the professional opinion based on his/her experience and medical eduction that the former doctor did the following things wrong.
2) The carelessness must have injured you--caused additional damage, for example, due to a lack of treatment. If the same damage and problems would have occured anyway, even if your former doctor had made the correct diagnosis 10 months ago, there is no liabilty, because you can only sue for the injury caused by the misdignosis, so no injury due to it, nothing to sue for. That the misdiagnosis caused your injury or condition to get worse would also have to be proven by another doctor's expert opinion.

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption