What damages is a doctor responsible for regarding a misdiagnosis?

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What damages is a doctor responsible for regarding a misdiagnosis?

I broke my hand and had surgery 3 months ago. My surgeon said that I was healed. I don’t have use of 2 fingers and decided to get a second opinion. The second doctor said I am not healed. He also said that there were a couple of other things that were not done right. I am looking at having a second surgery which means more time off work. Can I try to get the first doctor to cover lost wages and co-pays for the second surgery?

Asked on November 22, 2012 under Malpractice Law, Michigan

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

When you complete your medical treatment and are released by the second doctor or are declared by the second doctor to be permanent and stationary, which means having reached a point in your treatment where no further improvement is anticipated, obtain your medical bills from both doctors, medical report from the second doctor, and documentation of wage loss. 

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 doctor, it may be possible to settle the case with the first doctor's malpractice insurance carrier.  Your claim filed with the malpractice insurance carrier should include your medical bills from both doctors including co-pays, the medical reports from the second doctor, and documentation of wage loss.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury 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 first doctor's malpractice insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the first doctor's malpractice insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file your lawsuit for negligence against the first doctor.  If the case is NOT settled with the first doctor's malpractice insurance carrier, you will need to file your lawsuit for negligence against the first doctor prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.  In a lawsuit for negligence against the first doctor, your damages would be compensation for the medical bills, compensation for pain and suffering, and compensation for wage loss.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

At first it seemed that you were inquiring about a "failure to diagnose" case but I think tat what you may have here is a medical malpractice case.  He might have botched up the original treatment of the injury which has caused an inability to use your fingers and will cause you significant time lost from work (money) and pain in the future.  You need to seek help from an attorney.  The doctor will not pay you directly for the time dealing with the second surgery but if you are ultimately successful, that money lost will be included in an award by a Judge or jury in Court.  Good luck.


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