Can I pursue legal action for a misdiagnosis?

UPDATED: Sep 16, 2014

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Can I pursue legal action for a misdiagnosis?

I went to the hospital several weeks ago because of a knee injury I received while playing basketball. When I got there, the doctor said that I dislocated my knee. They gave me some morphine and she proceeded to push it back in place. When she did it I felt it pop twice, she then said “wait”; after that no one touched my knee except to put a knee immobilizer. When I went to my follow up appointment they took an X-ray and discovered that my knee was actually broken. Do I have a case?

Asked on September 16, 2014 under Malpractice Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It depends on two things. First, did the first doctor break your knee, or did her actions in any way make the injury worse or significantly delay healing? If she did, then you may have a cause of action; but if her actions had no appreciable adverse effect, you would not have a viable lawsuit. Lawsuits compensate people for actual damage or injuries, not for possible or theoretical harm; if her actions had no actual negative effect on you, there would be no claim.

Second, even if you suffered harm from her actions, the issue is whether the doctor was careless in causing the harm or not. If she way, you may have a viable case. But if she did everything a reasonable doctor should have done, and made the same diagnosis a reasonable doctor would have made, she would not be liable; the law requires fault on the part of the doctor, such as negligence (carelessness) to make him or her liable.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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