Getting diagnosed with cancer may be one of the most devastating things you ever deal with. When we hear that we have a serious illness, we worry. We get scared. And, when it comes to cancer, it’s important that we get started on treatment right away. A matter of a few weeks can make the difference between living and dying. So when we find out that our doctor didn’t diagnose our illness as soon as they should have, we want justice. This is when it’s time to call an experienced personal injury lawyer in Navarre, Florida.
Most people think that a diagnosis of cancer is a death sentence. In reality, most people who are diagnosed with cancer do survive. Your survival rate does depend on you getting treatment as soon as possible. This is why it’s really important that your doctor catch your illness the first time they examine you. Yes, they may need to send you out for tests. They may even need to send you to a specialist. However, your doctor has a duty to recognize the signs and symptoms of any kind of illness so that they can properly treat you. If they fail to do this, it may amount to something called negligence. When a medical professional is guilty of negligence, it amounts to medical malpractice.
If you believe your doctor failed to diagnose your cancer, then you need to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer right away. They can deal with the doctor’s insurance company so you can focus on getting better.
What is Medical Malpractice in Florida?
When doctors get their license to practice, they’re required to carry malpractice insurance. This way, if they make any mistake that harms a patient, their insurance company can cover it. While malpractice insurance covers a lot of things, there are some things that it doesn’t cover.
Some of the acts not covered by medical malpractice insurance include:
- Sexual misconduct
- Alteration of medical records
- Criminal acts
Chances are, if you’re dealing with a misdiagnosis issue, it probably has nothing to do with any of these types of acts. Of course, if the reason your doctor didn’t diagnose your illness is because they were drunk or high on drugs, it’s not clear which way the insurance company would go. But, for the most part, a failure to diagnose or a misdiagnosis would be covered by the doctor’s malpractice insurance.
When doctors and nurses make mistakes, people get hurt. It’s different than most other professions. If a personal trainer tells you to do too much cardio, you may not develop the kinds of muscles you want. If a hairdresser cuts a client’s hair too short, it will always grow back. But when a doctor misses something as big as cancer, people can die.
How Can Your Navarre Personal Injury Attorney Prove Medical Malpractice?
In order to prove that your doctor is liable for malpractice, your Navarre personal injury lawyer must prove several elements. Generally speaking, they have to prove negligence. This means they must show the following:
- A duty on the part of your doctor - This is established simply by showing that the defendant was, in fact, your doctor. The doctor-patient relationship includes a duty of care. Your physician is expected to properly evaluate and treat whatever sort of illness their client has.
- Your doctor breached this duty – This is probably the hardest part of your personal injury case. Your Navarre injury lawyer must demonstrate that your doctor did something wrong. They didn’t behave the way a reasonable doctor would have in the circumstances.
- You were injured – If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, you clearly have suffered an injury. The hard part will be proving that your injury has anything to do with your doctor’s behavior.
- Your injuries are caused by the doctor’s breach – This is where your Navarre personal injury lawyer will have to do their legwork. It’s not your doctor’s fault that you have cancer. That's nobody’s fault. You have to show that your medical condition is worse because your doctor failed to properly diagnose your cancer in a timely fashion.
It’s not enough to show that you have cancer. You have to show that your cancer is worse or your prognosis is worse because of your doctor.
How Can Your Doctor’s Actions Make Your Situation Worse?
In order to show that your doctor is liable, you’ll need to prove that you’re in worse shape because of your doctor. Your doctor has nothing to do with your getting sick. They didn’t give you cancer. However, their actions can make your situation worse.
If your doctor doesn’t diagnose you early enough, it can have a big impact on your treatment. For example, if a doctor misses the signs and symptoms of your cancer in January, it could be months before you see them again. It could be months or even a year before you visit another doctor. In this time, your cancer can progress from the point where it’s treatable to the point where it’s lethal.
The hard part about proving medical malpractice is that you can’t pinpoint exactly what your doctor missed. You may see a specialist or get a second opinion after seeing your primary physician. They may ask how long you’ve noticed a certain bump. They may ask how long you’ve felt a certain way. They may tell you that, in their opinion, you’ve been sick for months or even a year.
What Kinds of Damages are Involved in This Kind of Case?
Damages in a medical malpractice case are a little different than a car accident or personal injury case. A large part of your case will center on medical bills and pain and suffering. You won’t be dealing with personal property loss. And any time you miss from work will be hard to attribute to your doctor’s malpractice.
For example, if you’re diagnosed with cancer and have to undergo chemo, there’s a good chance you’ll miss a great amount of time from work. The timing of your treatment won’t make a huge difference in the amount of time you miss. Now, if your treatment is more intense or longer because of the later diagnosis, the defendant may be liable for this additional time.
As far as pain and suffering is concerned, in a situation like this, it can be quite high. If you go from a prognosis of living cancer-free to a fatal prognosis, no amount of money can help. Every day is precious. If your chances of survival are reduced because of your doctor’s misdiagnosis, they’ll have to compensate you for this. It will be up to your Navarre personal injury lawyer to prove these pain and suffering damages.
How Can Your Navarre Personal Injury Lawyer Prove Pain and Suffering?
Proving pain and suffering damages can be hard. You can’t point to receipts or outstanding bills. These are intangible damages. In order to show that you’re entitled to pain and suffering, your attorney will have to show the following:
- you’re no longer able to work and it has caused you to be severely depressed
- You are suffering from extreme physical pain
- You will need long-term medical care to deal with your diagnosis
- You can no longer pick up your children or play with them
- You can’t enjoy the same kind of social life you enjoyed before your diagnosis
In order to do this, your personal injury attorney in Navarre will have to rely on different types of evidence. For example, he can rely on some of the following in court:
- Videos showing the progression of your illness
- Medical records and testimony from your doctors
- Affidavits from friends and family
- Proof that you are now on disability rather than working full-time
- Your own testimony and that of your family
The goal is to get you as much compensation as possible. Your attorney will work hard to do this so you can have the peace of mind you deserve.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Navarre, Florida
If your doctor failed to diagnose your cancer, you need to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in Navarre, Florida. They can negotiate with the malpractice insurance company while you focus on getting the treatment you need. You have to keep in mind that it’s not your doctor’s fault that you are sick. This means your attorney doesn’t need to prove that your doctor made you sick. You just have to prove that your doctor was negligent in diagnosing your illness.
Call today and schedule your initial consultation. It’s absolutely free and you pay nothing until you settle your case. Let your lawyer deal with the legal side of things. This way, you can focus on getting well. The doctor’s insurance company will have lawyers working for them and you should too.