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You go to the doctor with a health problem, having the reasonable expectation that they will correctly diagnose you.

They provide a misdiagnosis, and you suffer financial and physical harm because of your error.

You may ask, can you sue a doctor for failure to diagnose? The legal claim of medical malpractice covers misdiagnosis by medical professionals and other mistakes they might make.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice represents a legal claim against a medical professional who provided negligent care to you, resulting in harm.

This negligent care could be a misdiagnosis, an error in surgery, an incorrect drug prescription, or another mistake.

Any negligent act by a medical professional—including physician assistants, nurses, etc.—that causes you harm can qualify.

How Do You Pursue a Medical Malpractice Claim?

The typical medical malpractice claim is a negligence claim. There are four elements of negligence you need to prove: duty, breach, causation, and damages.


Can you sue a doctor for misdiagnosis? That depends on whether their misdiagnosis violated a legal duty of care.

The duty of care for medical professionals is determined by what a similarly situated healthcare provider would have done.

To demonstrate this, you typically need expert testimony about the standards that typical healthcare providers follow in the same area of practice.


Once you have established the healthcare provider’s legal duty, you must show they breached it.

This means they did something that fell below the standard of care you would expect from them. 

Doctors have a lot of leeway here. For example, you generally can’t hold a doctor liable for misdiagnosis if another similarly situated doctor was likely to have made the same mistake.


To prove causation, you have to show that the harm you suffered resulted from the misdiagnosis.

For example, imagine the doctor prescribed you medication to treat a misdiagnosed condition and the medication damaged your liver.

You would not have taken the medication or suffered the liver damage if you had not been given medication to treat the wrong condition.

However, you would have to prove that the liver damage resulted from the medication and not another cause.


Can you sue for a misdiagnosis if you weren’t harmed? You can’t hold a doctor liable for medical malpractice if you suffered no actual harm.

It is not enough for them to simply misdiagnose you. You have to sustain injury directly attributable to the misdiagnosis.

Here are some common damages claimed from a misdiagnosis:

  • Medical bills,
  • Lost wages,
  • Pain and suffering,
  • Lost earning capacity, and
  • Loss of consortium damages.

These damages can be economic and noneconomic, but you must provide adequate proof for both.

Contact Fob James Law Firm, LLC Today

If you are wondering, Can you sue a doctor for failure to diagnose?

Consider calling our experienced attorneys at Fob James, LLC. We are here to fight your legal battle for you. 

If you’ve been affected by a misdiagnosis or medical malpractice, our attorneys are only a call away.

Fob James Law Firm has been committed to serving injury victims for over 40 years. We provide individualized care with our unique 24/7 communication policy.

Get in touch with us today, and we will fight to get you every cent you need to recover.

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Fob James

Fob James obtained a B.S., in software engineering from Auburn University and then continued his education by getting his J.D. from Vanderbilt University School of Law. After working for a large regional firm for several years where he obtained awards for both individual and corporate clients, Fob found that his passion was fighting for individuals who have been seriously injured or wronged by others. Fob believes that the jury is the great equalizer to the power and influence that large corporations have in society.