Is Failing to Diagnose a Condition Considered Medical Malpractice?

Posted on behalf of James Lynch on December 17, 2018  in Medical Malpractice News. Updated on March 2, 2022

doctor diagnosing a patientPatients depend on health care providers for accurate and timely diagnosis of their conditions so they may receive the correct type of treatment. When a health care provider fails to correctly diagnose the patient’s conditions, the patient may suffer devastating effects.

If a doctor’s failure to diagnose a medical condition results in a patient suffering an injury or death, the doctor may be held liable for medical malpractice. Lynch Law’s knowledgeable New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers understand when a patient has a case against a negligent health care provider. We are aware of the risks posed to patients with undiagnosed conditions and will work to help you build a case.

Below we provide several types of diagnostic cases that may constitute medical malpractice. To learn more, schedule a free, no obligation consultation.

Failure to Diagnose

Failing to diagnose occurs when a doctor is unable to determine the type of medical condition the patient is suffering.

When a doctor is unable to diagnose a patient’s condition, it can result in several complications, such as worsening the patient’s symptoms and causing his or her health to deteriorate. This can cause the patient to undergo more intensive treatment or reach the point where treatment will not heal the patient’s condition.

An attorney may examine several factors in a medical malpractice case involving failure to diagnose. This may include determining if another competent physician would have recognized the patient’s symptoms and diagnosed the condition.


A misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor diagnoses the patient with the wrong type of illness, injury or other type of medical condition.

An incorrect diagnosis may happen when the patient is suffering from symptoms that may be confused with another type of medical condition. Commonly misdiagnosed conditions include:

  • Cancer
  • Heart attack
  • Asthma
  • Stroke
  • Lymph node inflammation
  • Staph infection

When a health care provider examines a patient, he or she must carefully note the patient’s reported symptoms. An attorney will closely look at the steps the doctor took to reach his or her diagnosis, and whether another doctor given the same information would have come to the same conclusion.

Delayed Diagnosis

Delayed diagnosis occurs when a physician fails to make an accurate diagnosis in a timely manner. Delayed diagnosis can be the result of failing to:

  • Test for certain medical conditions
  • Refer the patient to a specialist
  • Thoroughly discuss symptoms with the patient
  • Investigate potential sources of reported symptoms

When is it Medical Malpractice?

A failure to diagnose is considered medical malpractice if it causes harm to the patient. There are four factors our attorneys will carefully look for when reviewing your claim to determine if the misdiagnosis can be considered medical malpractice:

  • The health care provider agreed to diagnose your condition, establishing a patient-doctor relationship.
  • The heath care provider’s misdiagnosis fell below the standards held by the medical community. Typically, we will consider if another doctor with similar training and experience would have recognized your symptoms and concluded the correct diagnosis.
  • A causal link exists between the health care provider’s misdiagnosis and the injury or ailment you suffered. This means that had the health care provider correctly diagnosed your condition, you would not have suffered an injury or worsened condition.
  • You suffered measurable damages as a result of the health care provider’s misdiagnosis. Measurable damages may include the cost of additional medical treatment you needed to treat your condition, or the income you lost while recovering from your condition.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Lynch Law Firm, PC

If you or your loved one has suffered an injury or ailment due to a health care provider’s failure to diagnose a medical condition, you may be entitled to compensation through a medical malpractice claim.

Lynch Law Firm, PC’s New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers will provide you a free, no obligation consultation to determine if you have a case against a negligent doctor. We provide all of our services on a contingency fee basis. This means we only charge our clients for representing them if we recover compensation. There is no risk in contacting us to find out if you have a case.

Call (800) 518-0508 for help with your claim.

* Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.

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