The earlier that doctors can diagnose a patient’s cancer, the better their chances of survival and a full recovery, depending on the circumstances.
When a healthcare provider fails to properly diagnose cancer, the patient could suffer serious consequences.
A missed or delayed diagnosis can lead to the cancer spreading, causing a need for increased testing, surgeries, and chemotherapy or radiation therapy that was otherwise unnecessary.
In the most serious cases, a cancer misdiagnosis can be fatal. If you had cancer and it was not diagnosed properly, you deserve compensation for the harm done.
A cancer misdiagnosis settlement can help reimburse you for your economic losses and some non-financial burdens.
Proving That Your Doctor Committed Malpractice
Not every error that doctors make is malpractice. As the plaintiff, you have the burden of showing that your doctor was negligent and that what they did or failed to do did not meet the appropriate standard of care. You should be aware of the legal issues involved in negotiating cancer malpractice settlements or trials.
Statute of Limitations
In New Jersey, you must file your lawsuit within two years of the malpractice. New Jersey does have an exception to the two-year deadline called the “discovery rule.” The rule is that the clock does not start ticking until the injured patients reasonably should have known about the doctor’s mistakes.
Once you file the complaint, you must submit an affidavit from a medical expert within 60 days. The expert must practice the same specialty and their affidavit must state that there is a reasonable probability the healthcare provider did not meet the appropriate standard of care.
In proving negligence, the first and smallest hurdle is to show that your doctor owed you a duty of care. This only requires proof of a doctor-patient relationship.
Next, you must demonstrate that a reasonable doctor in the same situation probably would have diagnosed your cancer properly. Doing so helps show that your doctor violated their duty of care.
The harm you suffered must be directly connected to your cancer misdiagnosis. You must also show that you would not have suffered the harm if your doctor had correctly diagnosed you.
You have to show that you suffered damages. Damages are the losses and costs you incurred as a result of your injuries. They can be both tangible (e.g., financial) and intangible.
What Is the Average Settlement for Cancer Misdiagnosis?
There is no average payout for a cancer misdiagnosis. The amount of your cancer misdiagnosis settlement depends on the circumstances of your case. A large portion of the settlement will probably be your economic damages, such as:
- Current and future medical bills;
- Lost wages;
- Transportation costs for medical treatment;
- Home modifications; and
- Costs of medical devices or prescriptions.
You can also recover for things that don’t really have a numerical value. Non-economic damages include compensation for things like pain and suffering, mental anguish, and depression.
Is There a Cap on Cancer Malpractice Settlements?
Some states place limits on the amount of compensation someone can recover in a medical malpractice case. New Jersey does not cap either economic or non-economic damages.
New Jersey does cap punitive damages. Punitive damages might be included in a cancer misdiagnosis settlement where the doctor’s conduct was especially egregious. These damages are meant to be a lesson to the medical community at large.
Do You Need an Attorney for a Medical Malpractice Case?
You aren't required to have an attorney for a medical malpractice case. But it's almost always a mistake to try to prove a malpractice claim without one. Furthermore, you need an attorney that is specifically experienced in medical malpractice and has handled cancer malpractice settlements.
As you now know, medical malpractice cases are not easy to prove. This is complex litigation involving many moving parts. You have to have sufficient documentation of your injuries through medical records and expert testimony. You’re going to need statements and documents from the other side as well. There are many nuances to the medical malpractice laws in New Jersey. Your healthcare providers will have sophisticated legal counsel to defend their rights. You must have an advocate on your side to protect your interests and help ensure that you receive the cancer misdiagnosis settlement you deserve.
O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble Knows Medical Malpractice Law
Our experienced medical malpractice lawyers are familiar with negotiating cancer malpractice settlements and litigating these claims in court. Here are some examples of verdicts and settlements we successfully recovered for our clients and their loved ones.
One of our clients had a family history of basal cell carcinoma, and he was careful about receiving regular medical treatment. He started his care ten years prior to the issue, and had made 19 visits to his doctor in the four years from 2000 to 2003 alone. Despite his attentiveness, his dermatologist failed to diagnose the problem. By the time a different doctor found the problem, the cancer had already spread. The client required additional surgeries that left him disfigured.
In another matter, doctors had seen a mass in a patient's abdominal area on ultrasound tests. A radiologist recommended a CT scan, but it failed to identify a mass in the patient’s liver, and the doctors did not recommend additional diagnostic testing. After a year, the patient’s liver cancer had spread to his heart, and he died quickly afterward from multiple organ failure. We won the claim based on the argument that the failure to order additional tests resulted in the cancer spreading and increased the risk of death.
Another patient had cancer, which their doctors treated with a needle aspiration, saying it was only an infectious cyst. When the doctors realized their mistake, it was too late, and the patient died. The case settled before trial.
Contact Us Today
Whom you choose for your malpractice attorney is crucial to the outcome of your case. O'Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble has a history of success and respect from both our clients and professional peers. We have offices throughout New Jersey, and can help you no matter where you’re located. You should also know you don’t have to pay legal fees until we win the settlement or jury verdict for you. Contact us today to schedule your consultation with one of our attorneys.