reasons to sue a doctor

What Are the Most Common Reasons to Sue a Doctor for Medical Malpractice?

So you’re thinking about suing your doctor for medical malpractice.

Something went wrong with your treatment, and now you’re dealing with complications or injuries that are really impacting your life.

Going up against a doctor in court can seem intimidating, but you may have solid legal grounds.

A malpractice lawsuit could provide much-needed resources during recovery or rehabilitation, allowing you to access the care you need without drowning in debt. While nothing can fully undo the damage, holding providers responsible promotes better practices so that others don’t get hurt.

Let’s talk through a few reasons why suing for medical malpractice might make sense.

Failure to Properly Diagnose Conditions

One of the most common triggers for medical malpractice claims is physicians failing to diagnose patient conditions accurately. Accurate diagnoses are vital for rapid, effective treatments. Without it, diseases progress and cause irreversible harm.

Misdiagnosing symptoms or declaring someone ”healthy” erroneously contributes to tens of thousands of patient deaths every year. For survivors, the delays still take lasting physical, emotional, and financial tolls.

Failing Initial Duty to Diagnose

Sometimes, doctors drop the ball by failing to recognize conditions from day one. This could look like:

  • Ordering inadequate lab tests or procedures
  • Misreading results entirely
  • Dismissing patient-reported symptoms
  • Relying on outdated medical knowledge

Cancer cases, in particular, often involve failing to catch early warning signs. This allows tumors to metastasize tragically.

Arriving at an Incorrect Diagnosis

Other times, the physician reaches a diagnosis conclusively…but the wrong one. Some examples:

  • Interpreting chest pains as mere anxiety instead of a heart attack
  • Misidentifying malignant skin lesions as benign
  • Labeling rheumatoid arthritis as general joint issues

Again, the real underlying illness remains unchecked, causing disability or death in some cases.

Delayed Medical Diagnosis

Finally, we see doctors who don’t mess up the initial diagnosis itself but stall making ANY call for an unacceptable amount of time.

These individuals likely ordered preliminary tests and made notes of symptoms. However, they failed to take reasonable next steps that would have discovered the true diagnosis sooner.

Timeliness matters greatly when it comes to emerging infections, inflammatory diseases, cardiac distress, etc. As the saying goes, “Time is tissue.” Leaving diseases unchecked for too long leads to worse prognoses.

Across all these scenarios, a basic breach of diagnostic duty from the treating doctor enables harm to the patient. Their lack of skill, attention, initiative, or compassion sets victims on darker paths.

Errors and Negligent Care Causing Patient Harm

The second broad bucket our malpractice firm sees involves physicians making errors during the actual administration of treatments, medications, or procedures.

It includes mistakes like:

  • Operating on incorrect body parts
  • Leaving foreign objects inside surgery patients
  • Discharging patients prematurely
  • Failing to prevent known hospital-acquired infections
  • Ignoring medication allergies and then prescribing problematic drugs

This category also includes doctors failing their basic informed consent duties, meaning:

  • Neglecting to explain medical issues and options
  • Not covering alternative treatments
  • Withholding potential risk scenarios of procedures
  • Rushing patients into signing waivers

Consent omissions leave patients blindsided by outcomes, unable to make educated care decisions for their bodies.

*These ”errors of commission” often reflect egregious, entirely preventable slip-ups. Evidence of intoxication, willful negligence, deceptive charting, and abandonment of patients can also factor into claims.

No matter how they manifest, the actively negligent behaviors directly enable patient harm where none need to occur otherwise.

Birth Injury Cases with OBGYNs and Nurses

A unique but common sub-arena for medical malpractice involves birth injury cases. High-risk labor and delivery demands peak alertness from OBGYN doctors and nurses.

Even small errors can have catastrophic – even fatal – consequences for both mothers and newborns. Some examples of poor medical care around childbirth include:

Oxygen Deprivation Errors

  • Failure to monitor fetal heart rate
  • Not responding to signs of fetal distress
  • Delayed emergency C-section leading to hypoxia

Oxygen loss leaves babies with lasting developmental delays, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, or worse.

Negligent Use of Delivery Tools

  • Excessive force with forceps causes facial nerve damage
  • Improper vacuum extractor placement leaves scalp bleeding or hematomas

These are considered preventable birth injuries.

Failure to Treat Jaundice

Again, what starts as preventable often becomes traumatic without swift, attentive care.

No expecting mother imagines her delivery room experience ending in harm to their precious newborn. But it happens daily. Where substandard judgment or protocol from medical staff enables the damage, families have the power to pursue financial justice.

Thorough investigations help uncover if true negligence occurred and whether a claim has grounds to move forward. Our experienced attorneys use medical records and OBGYN experts to build strong cases.

Statute of Limitations Rules in West Virginia

In our state, victims normally have two years to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, exceptions exist in some cases.

West Virginia observes the Discovery Rule, which starts the two-year clock only when malpractice is discovered or should reasonably have been discovered.

Bottom line – don’t delay discussing your experience with a malpractice lawyer. Preserving evidence and identifying witnesses is key while details remain fresh. You retain the right to drop a claim later down the road.

When It’s Time to Call a Medical Malpractice Attorney

There’s no one-size-fits-all rule on whether you should sue your doctor – every case is different and has unique details to consider.

But asking yourself a few key questions constitutes a thoughtful starting place:

  • Am I coping with new irreversible injuries following medical care?
  • Do I suspect my physician’s poor judgment or negligence caused this added harm?
  • Did the doctor fail to explain emerging health issues or catch a condition another provider swiftly identified later?
  • Did they overlook signs that most peers would likely catch?
  • Am I facing reduced life expectancy or permanent impairments limiting work/life functionality?
  • Do I have documentation supporting my experience, such as medical records?
  • Is the distress from this experience negatively impacting my mental health and outlook?

If you answered “yes” to some critical questions, seeking additional guidance from malpractice lawyers is important.

Our team at Miley Legal examines the sequence of events plus evidence, looking for evidence of negligence. From there, we gauge if suing offers a realistic shot at financial damages for losses.

We can give you recommendations around gathering medical records, obtaining second opinions from healthcare providers, understanding liability options, plus how state laws impact your case.

Having strong allies for advice brings confidence and clarity when you’re at your most vulnerable.

If a closer review shows you have a real case against your doctor or hospital, our lawyers will handle the legal process from start to finish—from filings to negotiations and trial representation if necessary.

This frees victims to focus energy on healing – physically and emotionally. Our contingent-fee model means no attorney fees unless your case succeeds. So you have nothing to lose meeting for initial assessments.

Don’t struggle alone. Contact the medical malpractice team at Miley Legal today for guidance. Together, we can stand up for patient rights and health.

Author Bio

Tim Miley is the Founder of Miley Legal Accident Injury Lawyers, a West Virginia personal injury law firm he formed in 2006. With more than 30 years of experience in personal injury law, he is dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of personal injury cases, including car accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, brain injuries, wrongful death, and other personal injury matters.

Tim received his Juris Doctor from Duquesne University and is a member of the West Virginia State Bar and the Harrison County Bar Association. He has helped his clients win more than $10 million in personal injury verdicts and settlements and has further served the people of West Virginia by filling legislative roles in the state’s government since 2004.

LinkedIn | State Bar Association | Avvo | Google