Misdiagnosis resulting in severe pain and delay in treatment. Can I claim?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Misdiagnosis resulting in severe pain and delay in treatment. Can I claim?

I went to a Doctor with a very sore ankle, two weeks after turning it whilst
playing lacrosse. I knew something wasn’t right. The doctor spent about 5
minutes with me and decided I had simply sprained it and it would get better.
I wasn’t convinced so went for a second opinion. They agreed there was
something more serious going on, ordered an MRI and it turns out I had
fractured my talus, ruptured my Anterior Talo-Fibular ligament and sprained
other ligaments. Walking around on it caused fluid to build up in my talus,
resulting in significant pain and a delay in treatment. It also possibly made
the fracture worse I have not asked my new doctor yet if this is the case

Asked on March 30, 2016 under Malpractice Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

IF you can prove, by medical evidence or testimony, that the misdiagnosis and resulting delay in treatment caused your injury to get worse, AND it was negligent, or unreasonably careless, for the 1st doctor to conclude it was only sprained, then you may have a malpractice case. That is, you need both fault and causality.
In terms of fault: it's not enough that the doctor was wrong; the law accepts that the practice of medicine is not perfect or exact. It must be more that, based on the symptoms as presented, an examination of the ankle, the description of what happened, etc., it was not reasonable to think it was a sprain--or at least, not reasonable to not order an MRI. 
Even if you have a case, if, as we hope, there is no lasting consequences from any malpractice and your additional medical bills are modest or reasonable, it may not be worthwhile to bring a case. Malpractice cases can be very expensive, because in addition to an attorney (you are allowed to proceed without one, but are strongly advised not to), you *must* hire a medical expert, and they can cost thousands. Unless you had very large out-of-pocket medical bills or long-lasting significant impairment from the malpractice, you could spend more on the case then you'd get back.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption