My Doctor Failed to Diagnose a Medical Problem: Can I File a Lawsuit? By John Macfarlane on October 01, 2023

woman sitting next to a man in a hospital bedPatients expect to receive a reasonable standard of care when seeking medical attention but sometimes doctors are negligent and fail to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Failure to diagnose a medical condition can cause serious consequences including delayed treatment, permanent injury, or even death. 

When a doctor fails to diagnose a condition, valuable time may be lost and symptoms may worsen, sometimes causing irreparable harm to the patient. If your doctor failed to diagnose a medical problem, can you file a lawsuit? The Salt Lake CityUtah-based attorneys of Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC, can answer this question for you during a personal consultation. In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at when it may be possible to file a lawsuit for failure to diagnose a medical condition.

What Is Failure to Diagnose?

Failure to diagnose is a type of medical malpractice claim in which a doctor failed to diagnose a condition or disease that a competent doctor would have detected, resulting in injury to the patient. 

Failure to diagnose is different than a missed diagnosis. With a failure to diagnose, no disease, illness, or other medical condition is detected and no treatment is provided. A misdiagnosis means a condition was diagnosed but incorrectly, subsequently resulting in treatment the patient didn’t need.

Some ways failure to diagnose can occur include:

  • The doctor gives the patient a clean bill of health, makes no diagnosis, and therefore provides no treatment.
  • The doctor correctly diagnoses one condition but misses another condition that is also occurring in the patient. 

Filing a Lawsuit for Failure to Diagnose

Patients who have suffered injury as the result of a doctor’s failure to diagnose a medical condition may seek compensation for damages through a medical malpractice lawsuit. In order to file a lawsuit for a failure to diagnose, a patient must be able to show that:  

  • There was a doctor-patient relationship: A doctor-patient relationship can often be proven through medical records showing when the doctor provided care.
  • The doctor was negligent: A doctor may be considered negligent when they fail to provide the same standard of care as another doctor of the same specialty would under similar circumstances. Evidence may include a failure to order tests or a failure to recognize the correct diagnosis.  
  • The negligence caused injury: In addition to proving a doctor acted negligently, it must also be shown that the negligence caused injury to the patient. For a failed diagnosis claim, this could be worsening symptoms or the progression of an illness or disease to a point where it will likely lead to death. 

Types of Damages for Failure to Diagnose

Through a medical malpractice lawsuit, patients who have been injured by a doctor’s failure to diagnose a medical condition may recover such damages as:

  • Lost earnings
  • Medical expenses
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering

Contact Younker Hyde Macfarlane

If you have suffered injury due to a doctor’s failure to diagnose a medical condition, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your damages. To discuss your legal options, schedule a consultation with the Salt Lake City, Utah-area medical malpractice attorneys of Younker Hyde Macfarlane. 

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Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC

Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC

At Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC, our attorneys have decades of combined experience in complex cases. We represent clients in all types of personal injury cases, with a special focus on medical malpractice claims. Our firm is associated with the following professional organizations:

  • Utah Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Salt Lake County Bar Association
  • American Trial Lawyers Association

To schedule an appointment, please contact us online or call (801) 335-6467.

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