Frequently Asked Questions

Can I sue a hospital for a misdiagnosis?

Can I sue a hospital for a misdiagnosis?

Generally, a hospital cannot be sued for a misdiagnosis.  Doctors or other medical professionals are usually the only parties that can be held liable for a misdiagnosis.  In some cases, if a doctor or other medical professional is an employee of a hospital, the hospital may be sued.

A misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor fails to recognize symptoms of an illness, and attributes them to another illness.  It can often allow the untreated sickness to become worse, often leading to more serious or even life-threatening symptoms. Misdiagnosis often occurs when a doctor fails to screen for a particular medical condition, misinterprets test results, or fails to refer a patient to a specialist.

To file a lawsuit based on a misdiagnosis, a seasoned California medical malpractice attorney must demonstrate three things.  First, he or she must show that a doctor-patient relationship existed.  Second, the lawyer must prove that the doctor did not provide treatment in a reasonably skillful and competent manner.  Third, he or she must demonstrate that the misdiagnosis caused harm to the patient.  For example, if a misdiagnosis of cancer made the illness untreatable, that is a clear example of harm.

Under California law, the statute of limitations  for medical malpractice claims is one year from the date that the plaintiff knew or should have known about the injury or three years from the date of the injury, whichever is earlier.  The statute of limitations is the time period that a person has to file a lawsuit.

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