Can I go after a doctor for malpractice after denying me of an X-ray and a misdiagnosis?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I go after a doctor for malpractice after denying me of an X-ray and a misdiagnosis?

I got injured at work. A big heavy metal object fell on my foot. I go to urgent care where I am seen and given an X-ray. This X-ray comes back negative. The doctor there told me that it came back negative but sometimes with lots of swelling youre unable to see the injury. With this being said, she referred me to an occupation health doctor where she said I would get re-X-rayed after the swelling has gone down. I arrive at this appointment and the doctor will not give me an X-ray even after telling him that I was told I would get one. I see this doctor 4 times within about 2 months. At my last appointment, he practically told me that he could no longer further help me and referred me to a foot specialist. I arrived at the specialist’s office and right away I got X-rayed; I indeed had broken a toe. What can I do about the previous doctor’s malpractice? I have a lot of documentation and paperwork to back my info up.

Asked on February 13, 2019 under Malpractice Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The issue is really more of, "is it worth taking legal action"? In a malpractice case, you can only recover the additional medical costs (your out of pocket costs, not any part paid by insurance) caused by the malpractice, lost wages (if any) from not being able to work due to the malpractice, and possibly pain and suffering if the malpractice itself caused you condition to get much worse or take much longer to heal, but in an amount related to the amount of disability and actual life impairment you suffered due to the malpractice. Say that the failure to properly diagnose your toe caused it to take a month or two more to heal than it should have, and you to incur a few tens or even hundreds of dollars of additional medical costs. Given that, even if you to not hire a lawyer and represent yourself (which is NOT recommended), you'd still need to hire a doctor to testify in court (which can easily cost $1,500 or more) for a month or two extra of a broken toe, you'd very likely spend more on the lawsuit than you would get back. Malpractice cases simply are not suitable for situations like this.

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