People struggling with serious medical conditions rely on their doctors to make sense of their symptoms and find a treatment that will help. For most patients in the process of developing a serious condition, like cancer, timely medical intervention can make a major difference to the patients' prognosis and survival rates.
Tragically, there are cases every year where doctors fail to diagnose patients with deadly consequences. In some situations, obtaining a second opinion in a timely manner can protect an undiagnosed or wrongly diagnosed patient from the complications of a worsening condition.
Other times, a patient's trust in their doctor could mean that they don't seek a second opinion or receive the right treatment in time. In these tragic situations, surviving family members may have legal grounds to pursue wrongful death compensation from the doctor who failed to diagnose their loved one.
You need documentation of neglect for wrongful death claims
Every state has its own standards when it comes to both medical practice and legal actions. Washington law regarding wrongful death requires that the death be a result of a wrongful act or negligence on the part of another party.
In other words, to successfully secure wrongful death compensation after a medical professional fails to diagnose your loved one, you need some kind of documentation that shows that the doctor neglected to perform their duties adequately.
Copies of a medical record that show symptoms consistent with the condition that cause your loved one's death could be a good starting point. You may be able to argue that those symptoms were reasonable cause for the doctor to order additional testing. In cases where a doctor misread test results or dismissed reported symptoms out of hand, a case can often be made for neglect contributing to the death of your loved one.
Wrongful death lawsuits can help your family after a doctor doesn't diagnose
Sometimes, a failure to diagnose results in a person incurring substantial medical bills as their health worsens. A condition that may have been treatable at one point may now instead prove terminal. Not only does your family have to grieve the preventable death of a loved one, but you also have to figure out how to cover those medical expenses and deal with the loss of income from your loved one.
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit allows you to seek compensation for medical bills, funeral costs, lost wages and even lost support. Practical services, from oil changes to yard care, provided by the deceased, can factor into the amount of compensation that you seek in a wrongful death lawsuit. While that money can't undo the damage caused by a negligent doctor, it can relieve the financial burden your family must cope with in the wake of the preventable death of a loved one.