(Last Updated on: April 25, 2024 )

Negligence or malpractice when it comes to a cancer misdiagnosis can have life-threatening consequences. Learn about your legal options for filing a lawsuit.

In the complex world of medical malpractice law, the question of whether you can sue a doctor for misdiagnosis is not as straightforward as it may seem. It involves understanding the nuances of medical negligence, the duty of care, and the devastating impact of a cancer misdiagnosis.

Best Law FirmsAt Hodes Milman, our record of medical malpractice case results shows our diligence in litigating these cases for the benefit of our clients. In this article, we explain the responsibilities of medical professionals, and the legal recourse that may be available to you in the unfortunate event of a cancer misdiagnosis. 

If you need specific legal advice and experienced representation after a potential cancer misdiagnosis, reach out to us right away. You can contact us online or by phone at (949) 640-8222 for a free, fully confidential consultation. We will review your medical records, investigate your situation, and provide you with your best options for seeking justice and fair compensation.

Can You Sue for Misdiagnosis of Cancer?

There are instances where you can sue a doctor for misdiagnosis of cancer, as such a failure may fall under the category of medical malpractice. However, the ability to sue depends on many factors, including the consequences of the medical mistake.

A misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor or care provider fails to properly identify a medical condition. Misdiagnoses can take several forms:

  • Missed Diagnosis: The doctor fails to correctly identify the medical problem.
  • Incorrect Diagnosis: The doctor diagnoses you with the wrong medical condition.
  • Delayed Diagnosis: The doctor takes an unreasonably long time to diagnose a medical condition.
  • Failure to Recognize Related Conditions: The doctor correctly diagnoses one medical issue but fails to notice, or test for, related conditions.
  • Failure to Recognize Unrelated Conditions: Doctors should try to identify all medical problems causing a patient harm.

Most cancer misdiagnosis lawsuits involve the failure to diagnose cancer. However, a significant number of Americans have the opposite experience — they are falsely diagnosed with cancer, which leads to unnecessary treatments and suffering. Both are potentially worthy of significant compensation.

Remember, each case is unique and depends on the specific circumstances. It’s always best to consult with a legal professional if you believe you have a case for a misdiagnosis lawsuit.

What Is the Average Payout for Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawsuits?

There is no accurate “average” number for cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit payouts. This is because each case is based on a person’s unique losses, the strength of the evidence provided, and the liable actions or inactions taken by the healthcare provider. 

However, we can point out that the attorneys at Hodes Milman have secured a substantial $17.25 million dollar award for a Kaiser medical misdiagnosis client.

The average payout for cancer misdiagnosis lawsuits varies widely depending on the specifics of the case, including the severity of damages and the type of cancer involved. For example, over 75% of all diagnostic errors that cause serious harm are attributable to the “Big Three” medical conditions: Major Vascular Events, Infections, and Cancers. Of the cancers, the top five most misdiagnosed include:

  • Lung Cancer: 22.5% of patients misdiagnosed
  • Melanoma: 13.6% of patients misdiagnosed
  • Colorectal Cancer: 9.6% of patients misdiagnosed
  • Breast Cancer: 8.9% of patients misdiagnosed
  • Prostate Cancer: 2.4% of patients misdiagnosed

The figures for medical malpractice cases can also vary significantly from state to state. For instance, payouts in Illinois are often higher because state law does not impose limits on medical malpractice compensation, unlike California where Hodes Milman is headquartered.

Even in states with caps on payouts, your attorney can help maximize all available avenues of compensation to ensure your needs are met. If you believe you have a case for a misdiagnosis lawsuit, contact us at (949) 640-8222 to discuss what we can do to help you.

How to Prove a Misdiagnosis of Cancer (4 Elements of Proof)

To prove a misdiagnosis, you typically need to establish four key elements:

  1. Doctor-Patient Relationship: You must first establish that a doctor-patient relationship existed between you and the provider. This means you hired the doctor and the doctor agreed to be hired.
  2. Negligence: You need to prove that the doctor was negligent in diagnosing your condition. This means the doctor did not provide treatment in a reasonably skillful and competent manner. A patient trying to prove misdiagnosis must show that a doctor in the same or similar specialty would not have misdiagnosed the illness or injury.
  3. Causation: You must prove that the doctor’s negligence caused the injury. In other words, it’s not enough that the doctor was negligent; the doctor’s negligence must have led to your injury or harm. This often involves showing that your condition worsened as a result of the misdiagnosis and that a correct diagnosis would have led to a better outcome.
  4. Costs (aka Damages): Finally, you must show that you suffered harm as a result of the misdiagnosis. This can include physical pain, mental anguish, additional medical bills, and lost work or earning capacity.

Each case is unique and depends on the specific circumstances surrounding the actions or inactions of the doctor, and the consequences they had on your well-being. 

Securing the elements of proof is your attorney’s job, not yours. It’s always best to consult with a legal professional if you believe you have a case for a misdiagnosis lawsuit for individualized, actionable advice.

Contact Experienced Medical Misdiagnosis Lawyers

Navigating the legal complexities of a cancer misdiagnosis case can be daunting. It’s essential to have experienced, compassionate, and dedicated legal professionals by your side.

If you or a loved one has suffered due to a cancer misdiagnosis, don’t hesitate to reach out for legal help. Our team of experienced medical misdiagnosis lawyers is here to guide you through every step of the process, from understanding your rights to filing a lawsuit and seeking the compensation you deserve.

Remember, you are not alone in this journey. We are committed to advocating for your rights and helping you seek justice. Contact us today at (949) 640-8222 for a free and fully confidential consultation. Your fight is our fight, and together, we can seek a better future for you and your family.

Related Resources

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Contact us if you have specific questions on the matter or if you’d like to schedule a free consultation.




HMI team

When you work with us, you’ll see the difference. A lot of firms are quick to show you numbers, and it is absolutely true that your lawyer should have experience and a strong track record in the area that you require. However, we’ll take it one step further. We also believe that your attorney should put your needs, cares and desires first. Because you deserve more than just compensation for your losses - you deserve a true advocate.

HMI team