Around 12 million people in Kentucky and across the U.S. are misdiagnosed by doctors every year. In fact, some 20% of all serious medical conditions are mistaken for something else. This is the reason for requesting a second, third or even fourth opinion. When misdiagnoses occur and cause harm, then the time may come for a malpractice claim.

To have a valid claim, victims must prove several things. First, they must show that the doctor acted negligently or failed to live up to an objective standard of care. In other words, the doctor must have done something that another doctor of similar skills and experience would not have done. Second, victims must link this negligence directly or indirectly to their injuries.

Misdiagnoses can harm patients in several ways. For instance, they can lead to patients undergoing unnecessary treatments, especially treatments that are aggressive or that come with various harmful side effects. Unnecessary surgery and chemotherapy are among the most frequently cited injuries in misdiagnosis-related claims. Patients may have developed health complications or had their risk for death increased as a result of the mistake.

Patients who intend to file a claim should know that they will likely be suing the medical center rather than the doctor. Doctors are typically considered independent contractors.

Because the filing process can be complicated, and because the claim may end in a settlement of millions of dollars, victims of medical malpractice may want a lawyer to assist them. The lawyer might request an inquiry with the local medical board and hire third parties to conduct their own investigation. With a lawyer, victims may be able to negotiate for a settlement covering medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. If the other side refuses to pay out, victims may take the case to court.