A Delayed Diagnosis Lawyer Can Help You Get Compensation

Cancer often spreads rapidly, so when a cancer diagnosis is delayed, what could have been treatable cancer can cause serious harm or death. A delayed diagnosis of cancer may result in your disease continuing to grow where it started or spreading to other parts of your body, making effective treatment more difficult or impossible. Treatment options may be reduced and result in disfiguring surgery. The difference between a prompt and accurate cancer diagnosis and one that’s delayed can mean life or death, a short period of treatment or one that may drag on for months or years.

If you or a loved one has suffered injury or someone has died from a delayed diagnosis that was due to the negligence or fault of a medical professional, you may be entitled to compensation through a delayed diagnosis medical malpractice lawsuit. However, Pennsylvania laws regarding medical malpractice are extremely complicated, and it is often tricky to determine when and how a disease should have been diagnosed. Insurance companies have high-powered lawyers on their payroll who try to deny claims or pay out less than your case is worth, so this is not a battle to fight on your own.

At this difficult time, when you are trying to deal with the devastating effects of cancer, there is help available from the experienced delayed diagnosis lawyers at Wapner Newman. We have successfully fought for fair compensation for other victims of delayed diagnosis, and we can do the same for you. We offer a free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your case and determine the best way to proceed. Let us take the burden off you by handling all legal hurdles, negotiations, and requirements to get you the compensation you deserve. You pay nothing unless and until we win a settlement for you, so call us today at (215) 569-0900 to get started.

How a Philadelphia Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer Lawyer Can Help You

Medical malpractice cases are complicated because of Pennsylvania’s laws and our convoluted healthcare system. Since symptoms change over time and evidence and witnesses become harder to find, you should get help from an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. When you have Wapner Newman on your side, you no longer have to worry about the legal process. We will:

  • Meet with you to hear your version of what happened and who was at fault, evaluate whether you have a valid medical malpractice case, and determine what it may be worth
  • Gather evidence by examining medical and hospital records and records of previous instances of delayed diagnosis by the involved professionals
  • Interview witnesses
  • Locate all parties who may have been responsible for the delayed diagnosis
  • Hire relevant expert witnesses, including physicians who are experienced in the field, to demonstrate negligence and assess the effects, damages and costs to you and your family, and to testify on your behalf
  • Handle all communications and negotiations with insurance companies and their lawyers
  • Take care of all paperwork involved with filing a lawsuit and make court appearances in a timely manner
  • Build your case and take it to trial if necessary.

After a thorough investigation, we may find grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. If the healthcare provider’s insurance carrier doesn’t agree to a fair and reasonable settlement, a lawsuit can be filed, and the litigation process begins. We must file a “certificate of merit,” within 60 days of filing a medical malpractice complaint. This is a statement that indicates that an expert has provided a written statement asserting one of the following:

  • There is a reasonable probability of breached standard of care; or
  • The defendant was responsible for the person who breached the standard of care; or
  • There are circumstances where expert testimony is not needed to pursue the claim.

Over time, we find more evidence and continue negotiating, and the vast majority of cases are resolved before a trial is completed. We will be there for you throughout the entire process, answering your questions and dealing with your concerns.

Our Delayed Cancer Diagnosis Lawyers Must Show Negligence

Negligent Parties Can Be Held Liable in a Failure to Diagnose Cancer Lawsuit

Cancer is a common illness, and medical professionals are required to be aware of the many types of cancer and their symptoms, so they can investigate promptly if you are exhibiting signs of cancer. The standard of care for cancer requires using tools such as mammograms, MRIs, CT scans, EKGs, blood tests, and biopsies to see if cancer is causing your symptoms and to refer you to a cancer specialist.

If a medical provider deviated from the standard of care and was negligent in diagnosing your cancer, causing you to suffer damages as a result, you have grounds for a failure to diagnose cancer lawsuit.

To win your case, there are certain things our delayed diagnosis of cancer lawyers must legally prove by the preponderance of evidence:

  • Duty — The healthcare professional owed you a duty of care (the standard of care that other professionals in the field with similar training would provide under the circumstances).
  • Breach – The professional breached that duty by failure to diagnose your cancer condition.
  • Cause – The breach was the factual cause of the delay in correctly diagnosing your cancer and this caused you harm.
  • Damages — You suffered damages as a result of that breach and delay in proper care.

Our attorneys would need to show evidence that the delay in diagnosis made a difference in your outcome and caused harm, and that earlier treatment may have had a greater chance of success. We would locate all parties who may have contributed to the delay in diagnosis and hold them liable as defendants. Liable parties may include doctors, nurses, lab technicians, and the medical institution, administrator, or corporation that may have failed to put a proper system in place to prevent the misdiagnosis. We would look to name them all as defendants in the lawsuit, as they may all have insurance and assets that could go toward a settlement.

Damages You May Receive in Delayed Cancer Diagnosis Lawsuit

The losses that you are awarded payment for in a medical malpractice lawsuit are called damages. In Pennsylvania, you may receive a damage award that covers both your economic and non-economic damages, as follows:

Economic damages are for your monetary losses and costs such as:

  • Medical and rehabilitation expenses
  • Lost wages and future earning potential.

Non-economic damages are for losses that do not have a specific dollar value but negatively impact your life, including:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional pain and distress, anxiety and stress
  • Loss of quality of life, companionship and consortium
  • Disability.

Punitive damages. In some rare cases where there was gross or willful negligence that caused the delayed diagnosis, you may also be awarded punitive damages. These are meant to punish a defendant that acted in a willful, malicious way and with a wanton disregard for others’ safety.

Pennsylvania caps medical malpractice awards for punitive damages at two times the amount of actual damages in the case. Economic and non-economic damages are not limited or capped.

Amounts of Damage Awards

There is a wide range of settlement amounts that can be awarded in a delayed diagnosis of cancer case, from the thousands to millions of dollars, depending on the circumstances involved. The amount of damages you may receive in your specific case will depend on factors that include:

  • The extent and permanence of your injuries, and whether you will need continuing care
  • Whether you will be able to return to work and earn a living
  • Your age, earning capacity, and family situation
  • How the delayed diagnosis occurred
  • Whether a wrongful death was involved
  • The skill and negotiating power of your attorney to present your case.

The delayed diagnosis lawyers at Wapner Newman can help you carefully assess the full extent of your economic or monetary damages, as well as the non-tangible costs such as pain and suffering that a delayed cancer diagnosis can bring.

Cancer and Treatment

Generally, tumors occur because cells in your body mutate. Instead of functioning normally, going through a process where their life cycle ends, they continuously divide and create more mutated, malignant cells. Once there are enough of these cells, a tumor forms. The immune system normally destroys unhealthy cells, but for those with cancer, it can’t keep up with the rapidly dividing cancerous cells.

Successful cancer treatment involves killing all cancer cells, preventing them from dividing, or destroying so many that those remaining are so few or so weakened that the patient’s immune system can kill them. Cancer treatment can be a numbers game. Cancer cells may get such a head start that there are too many of them for treatment to be effective if treatment is delayed.

If you believe your cancer was identified so late that it caused you added suffering and harm from the disease, our delayed cancer diagnosis lawyer can help.

Don’t delay. There are time limits for filing. According to Pennsylvania statutes (Title 42, Section 5524), the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is generally two years from the time the patient discovers or should have discovered that the injury occurred. If you do not get your case filed on time, the courts will refuse to hear it.

Wrongful Death Compensation in a Delayed Cancer Diagnosis Case

If a delayed diagnosis of cancer resulted in the death of a close family member, Pennsylvania allows the personal representative of the deceased family member’s estate to file a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death is caused by an act of negligence, not a criminal act like murder. It is a civil case similar to a negligence lawsuit, but the settlement goes to the survivors or estate of the deceased to compensate for the losses suffered as a result of the death.

To win a wrongful death case, Pennsylvania law requires proving that the other party was at fault and was responsible, by showing the following:

  • The party who caused the injuries resulting in death had a responsibility to not injure the deceased, failed to live up to that responsibility, and a death occurred.
  • There is a connection between the other party’s responsibility and the death due to negligence or intent to harm.
  • The surviving family members suffered damages, or a financial loss, as a result of the death.

A Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer Is Common

A diagnosis can be late because no diagnosis is given or the wrong diagnosis (a misdiagnosis) is made.

Cancer is misdiagnosed about 28 percent of the time, according to an article in the BMJ Quality and Safety journal, reports Boston magazine. Lung, breast and colorectal cancers are the ones most likely to be misdiagnosed, reports Fox News. They account for about 10 percent of physician-reported errors in a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The most common reason for the delay given by doctors was their failure to have a tissue biopsy performed after an abnormal test result.

A delayed diagnosis of cancer can be caused by primary care physicians. They may fail to recognize cancer symptoms, insufficiently investigate the patient’s situation, or delay referral to a specialist. Primary care is the first point of contact for patients, and delays in cancer diagnosis are an ongoing problem, according to one medical journal article.

A Delayed Cancer Diagnosis Lawyer Can Help You with Your Medical Malpractice Case

Medical malpractice is a type of negligence. Your healthcare provider needs to live up to the standard of care, and any number of actions, or lack of action, could be a breach of the standard of care. Examples of cancer misdiagnosis include:

  • Most patients seen by a physician may have simple, treatable conditions and the doctor may presume that’s the case of someone with signs of cancer.
  • A physician may not spend enough time with a patient to get a full history and account of what’s going on.
  • A physician may fail to order tests or a biopsy after an abnormal test result.
  • A physician may not link your symptoms with cancer and fail to determine if that’s what you might have.
  • Test results may be misinterpreted, not communicated or miscommunicated.
  • A pathologist may miss the fact that a tissue sample is malignant.
  • A radiologist may misinterpret an X-ray, mammogram or CT scan.
  • A surgeon may presume that a growth or tumor is benign and mistakenly cut into it, potentially spreading cancer cells in the body.
  • You may be diagnosed and treated for cancer and falsely told you’re in remission (no signs of cancer), ending treatment and allowing the disease to progress.

Generally, if the healthcare provider’s actions don’t meet the standard and a patient is harmed as a result, there may be a valid basis for a medical malpractice claim. If you are unsure whether a misdiagnosis harmed you, contact us. Our delayed cancer diagnosis lawyer at Wapner Newman has the experience necessary to evaluate your case.

Call us for Help After a Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer

The experienced Philadelphia delayed cancer diagnosis lawyers at Wapner Newman understand how devastating getting a diagnosis of cancer can be. Our medical malpractice attorneys in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are entirely devoted to helping victims of undiagnosed cancer recover the damages they will need to pay for medical treatment and to restore their quality of life.

If you live in Pennsylvania or New Jersey and have suffered the consequences of a delayed cancer diagnosis, please contact Wapner Newman today to schedule a free initial consultation. We represent medical malpractice victims throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with offices in Philadelphia, West Conshohocken, Allentown, and Marlton. Call today at (215) 569-0900 to get started.