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Can You Sue a Doctor for Failure to Diagnose?


Can you sue a doctor for failure to diagnose? When a doctor’s actions result in a failure to diagnose that causes you harm, you can file a lawsuit against the doctor who committed medical malpractice. Others involved can also be named as defendants, including nurses, medical staff, and the doctor’s employer. Watch the video below as Bill Hinnant answers the question “can you sue a doctor for failure to diagnose?”

Can you sue a doctor for failure to diagnose?

In addition to the doctor, all other involved parties should be named in a malpractice lawsuit. Parties that should be named include the following:

  • Nurses
  • Radiologist
  • Lab techs
  • Hospital/medical facility

Most doctors today are employees. If your doctor is employed by a medical facility or hospital, you should name his or her employer. Employers can be vicariously liable for the negligent actions of their employees through a legal principle called respondeat superior. Naming all potential defendants when you file a lawsuit can help to maximize your potential recovery.

Determining liability with the help of an experienced attorney

If you believe that your doctor was negligent, you will need to determine whether or not your claim has legal merit. You might need to retain an experienced medical malpractice attorney and a medical expert to review your medical records.

You do not want to hire an inexperienced attorney to handle your potential claim. A lawyer who has extensive experience handling medical malpractice claims is more likely to secure a more favorable outcome.

Mind the statute of limitations

The statute of limitations serves as a deadline for filing your claim. If you wait too long and try to file a lawsuit after the limitations period, your case will be time-barred. You should contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as you believe that medical negligence has occurred.

You will need to get copies of your medical records. You can request them from the medical facility or hospital. Try to get copies of all relevant records, including the treatment records, diagnostic reports, lab reports, and doctors’ and nurses’ notes. Your lawyer will need to review these records to determine whether malpractice might have occurred.

Learn more suing a doctor for failure to diagnose

If you think you might have been the victim of a doctor’s negligent failure to diagnose, you should reach out to the physician attorneys at LawMD. We have decades of experience handling medical malpractice and failure to diagnose claims. Contact us today for a free consultation at 1-888-MYLAWMD.


Learn More:

Essential Steps for Suing a Hospital for Malpractice

How to Get My Medical Records in Washington D.C.

How To Get My Medical Records in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania?


Video Transcript

0:29 Physicians can be Employees
1:18 Employers Can Be Held Responsible
2:18 Look for an Experienced Lawyer
3:48 Steps to Identify


You can. Generally, these cases are going to involve a physician or group of physicians. 


0:29 Physicians can be Employees

And then as many of you probably realize, more and more physicians in today’s world are actually employees. Years ago, it was exactly the opposite. Most physicians were working for themselves.

So if a physician is arguably negligent in failing to diagnose some potential problem that leads to damages, generally the proper defendants, in that case, will be those physicians. There may be ancillary personnel involved, and then there may be an employer, a hospital, a health company that employs physicians and their ancillary helpers. And all of those individuals can be named. 


1:18 Employers Can Be Held Responsible

When you name these individuals, you generally name their employer as well under a doctrine called Respondeat Superior, wherein the employer is actually liable for the actions or inactions of its agents or employees.

That comes in handy. It’s important really when you plead these cases, to name every potential defendant because again that opens up the number of potential sources for payment available to a successful plaintiff.

So again I think it’s a place where having the medical knowledge, and probably most importantly, the experience in doing this type of work, ends up manifesting itself as a better outcome for the potential plaintiff.


2:18 Look for an Experienced Lawyer 

So again, I would encourage all of you considering bringing this type of lawsuit, if you feel like you’ve been a victim in one of these circumstances, to try to look for the most experienced and the most knowledgeable attorneys that you can. I think you’ll find that will translate into a better outcome in the long term and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Make sure you understand what the plan is for the litigation. Be sure you have a good working relationship with your attorney because you’re going to need to have that relationship.

And most of all, be sure he or she knows all the facts they need to do their job and do it well.

So again, yes you can sue the doctors, you can sue other health professionals who may have been involved in the treatment. You can name their employer, the health services entity, or hospital. And all of these where negligence possibly may accrue need to be named in the initial pleading, and that’s the best time to do so. It’s much easier to dismiss plaintiffs if you need, excuse me, defendants in the course of the lawsuit early as opposed to adding them later.

Well, I think the first thing to do is try to identify whether there was a problem as early as possible. Many of our listeners may be aware there is an animal out there called a statute of limitations, wherein after if you wish to bring a lawsuit, you may not be able to. It may be time-barred.


3:48 Steps to Identify 

So I think the first step is to try to identify that negligence occurred as soon as possible. It may be through requesting the medical records and having them reviewed by a medical malpractice attorney, potentially with the help of an expert. You can, you know, more less look at the medicine involved, and be sure that there is a case there.

So it is good to get those medical records to work in reviewing them with a qualified, experienced medical malpractice attorney who may/may not require the assistance of an expert who is well versed in that area of medicine or healthcare. And then again to move quickly, because again, time is a factor and it can play a real difference in whether you’re successful in the long run, or whether you may not be.



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