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Proving medical malpractice after a failed or erroneous diagnosis

When California residents suffer unfamiliar symptoms, they typically consult with a physician. Most people trust the doctor’s years of training and experience to enable him or her to make an accurate diagnosis of an illness. However, this is not always the case as doctors sometimes fail to accurately diagnose the condition, and at times, an incorrect diagnosis is made. Such doctor errors may lead to medical malpractice claims.

Doctors are trained to establish a list of possible conditions that may exist according to the symptoms presented, and then determine the actual illness through a process of elimination by examining the results of further tests. If they fail to correctly identify the illness, the condition will remain untreated and may progress to a more dangerous situation. If an incorrect diagnosis is made, treatment for a condition that does not exist may cause additional health problems.

In some instances physicians negligently regard symptoms as minor or temporary, thus failing to treat the underlying problem. Such negligence allows the condition to intensify and cause additional damage that, in some circumstances, may be life-threatening. A doctor may also correctly diagnose a condition or disease but then choose the incorrect treatment. This may also cause secondary conditions while leaving the actual illness untreated.

While California victims of such medical errors are entitled to take legal action by filing medical malpractice claims, proving negligence may be difficult. The services of an experienced medical malpractice attorney may assist in determining whether a claim is viable. The attorney will have resources to enable him or her to obtain the necessary information and evidence to build a strong case to establish liability and pursue recovery of damages. Depending on the circumstances, doctors, nurses, medical facilities and any other party that was involved in a medical error or negligence may be named as defendants in such a lawsuit.

Source: FindLaw, “Failed/Erroneous Diagnosis and Treatment“, Jan. 5, 2015