Failure to Diagnose Law

What Laws Affect the Failure to Diagnose?

Failure to Diagnose Laws are usually considered a part of medical malpractice. Many medical malpractice cases grow out of a medical professional's failure to timely diagnose, or even misdiagnose, a medical condition, illness, or injury. Although occasionally harmless, a misdiagnoses or failure to timely diagnose a condition could lead to worsening of the condition or even death.


Unfortunately, although the doctor is typically the ultimate decision maker with regard to a patient's care, he or she is not always held liable for errors or failures to diagnose. Instead, patients must usually prove three things to prevail on these types of claims: (1) the existence of a doctor-patient relationship, (2) that the doctor was actually negligent, and (3) the doctor's negligent was the direct cause of additional harm or death to the patient (i.e., the harm was something other than whatever brought the patient to the doctor in the first place).

Errors in Diagnostic Tests

One of the primary bases for a doctor's defense is that something outside of his or her control lead to the incorrect diagnosis. This could legitimately be caused by inaccurate laboratory tests, unclear or damaged radiological films, incorrect information given to the doctor/tester by the patient, etc. Although the doctor might avoid liability in these instances, so long as the diagnostic error was not as a result of the patient's wrongdoing, another person (i.e., the one who administered the test) might be.

Expert Witnesses

Because of the highly technical nature of these types of claims, often it is necessary to retain an expert witness to discuss what should have happened as opposed to what did occur. Having the right expert witness can be essential, as the expert will not only have to identify what should have occurred, but convey to the judge and jury why this diagnosis should have been obvious and what missteps the doctor made in a manner that is easy to understand. You can find an expert in your area by visiting our sister site,

For more information about the laws affecting a failure to diagnose, please review the materials below. Additionally, you can find an attorney in your area who focuses his or her practice on medical malpractice by visiting our Law Firms page.


Articles on Failure to Diagnose Law

  • How a Negligent Diagnosis Can Affect a Patient
    When a doctor makes a negligent diagnosis, the consequences for the patient can be devastating.
  • When Your Therapist Is Guilty of Medical Malpractice
    When it comes to medical malpractice, most people think about a physician who makes an error in diagnosing, treating, or managing a physical injury or illness.
  • What Are the Common Countries that Engage in Medical Tourism?
    The top ten countries that engage in medical tourism around the world may increase or decrease the need for malpractice and compensation claims based on the amount of damage caused and injury suffered. Knowing the laws of these nations is best so that any legal action may progress to the courts of the country where the patient resides.
  • Should You Have Surgery Overseas?
    Before seeking a doctor from another country, it is important to determine if surgery overseas is beneficial and the better option based on the issue. Weighing advantages and disadvantages may demonstrate to the potential patient which action to pursue, and this could prevent disaster or lead to the best quality procedure at lower costs.
  • 6 Things You Should Know about Your Medical Malpractice Case
    When you or your family member have been severely injured at the hands of the medical professionals you trusted with your care, it can be difficult to even understand where to begin. You feel angry, you feel frustrated, and you want justice for the wrongs done to you. A medical malpractice case may be able to help you move forward, but it may not.
  • FDA Case Studies Reveal Diagnostic Risks of Laboratory
    The medical diagnostic process is incredibly complex, and as a result, errors aren't uncommon during this process. It is difficult to trace the number of these mistakes that occur in Chicago and other parts of Illinois each year, since many go uncaught for months or longer.
  • Failure to Disclose Is Medical Malpractice
    A doctor has a duty to disclose all relevant information regarding a medical treatment to their patients. This allows the patient to make a fully-informed and understanding decision about their own treatment.
  • When Can You Sue for Emergency Room Malpractice
    Everyday people are injured and must go to an emergency room to seek care for their medical needs. However, in some cases, a doctor’s errors may result in causing even greater harm to a patient. When a doctor acts in a negligent manner, an injured patient may be able to pursue financial compensation for the harm caused to him or her.
  • Electronic Records and Patient Safety
    Guidelines have been put in place for healthcare professionals and staff in medical facilities that require that standards are followed closely. These guidelines are to provide proper treatment and avoid medical malpractice as much as possible. One standard is to provide safety of medical records and privacy. A physician may be held liable for breaching a patient’s confidentiality.
  • What Is the Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice for Georgia?
    When a patient is injured by their doctor’s negligence, they can file a medical malpractice lawsuit. In Georgia, the statute of limitations can vary based on the specific circumstances of each case.
  • All Health Care and Social Law Articles

    Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Health Care and Social including: defective drugs, failure to diagnose, informed consent, medical law, medical malpractice, medication errors, pharmaceutical law, social security, social services law, surgical errors.

Failure to Diagnose Law - US

  • ABA - Standing Committee on Medical Professional Liability

    The Standing Committee on Medical Professional Liability is devoted to preserving and protecting the legal rights and remedies of persons injured while obtaining medical treatment and care. The Committee monitors policies that promote protecting the public as consumers of medical and health care services at the federal level regarding medical liability.

  • AMA's Code of Medical Ethics

    The medical profession has long subscribed to a body of ethical statements developed primarily for the benefit of the patient. As a member of this profession, a physician must recognize responsibility to patients first and foremost, as well as to society, to other health professionals, and to self. The following Principles adopted by the American Medical Association are not laws, but standards of conduct which define the essentials of honorable behavior for the physician.

  • ATRA - Medical Liability Reform

    The lottery-like aspect of civil liability is nowhere more evident than in medical liability. Very few acts of medical negligence result in patient claims and that very few paid claims actually involve medical negligence. The traditional system no longer works. These non-notorious inequities and inefficiencies of the medical liability system negatively affect the cost and quality of health care as well as access to adequate health care. More important, the practice of "defensive medicine" as a means of reducing or avoiding tort liability is a major contributor to health care cost.

  • Failure to Diagnose - Definition

    Failure to diagnose refers to the failure of a medical professional to correctly diagnose a medical condition. Failure to diagnose, delayed diagnosis and other types of misdiagnosis are common causes of medical malpractice lawsuits; see misdiagnosis and medical malpractice.

Publications for Failure to Diagnose

  • Failure to Diagnose - No. 1 Allegation in Liability Lawsuits

    A physician's failure to diagnose tops the chart as the most common allegation in medical liability lawsuits, according to a February study that has prompted some risk management experts to warn physicians that defensive medicine is their best protection.

  • How Failure to Diagnose Cases are Settled or Awarded

    Most people place a great deal of trust in the abilities of their physicians, specialists, medical staff and medical facilities to timely and properly diagnose and treat their illnesses. Unfortunately, many patients are victimized when these trusted professionals fail to recognize symptoms and allow diseases or other medical conditions to invade their bodies.

  • UMHS - Medical Malpractice and Patient Safety

    Since 2004, the U-M Health System has been in the national spotlight for its innovative approach to medical errors, mishaps and near-misses -- and their potential legal consequences including malpractice suits. If you have reached this page after hearing or reading about our approach in the news media, welcome! We hope this page will be useful to you.

Organizations for Failure to Diagnose

  • American Medical Association

    Physicians need an advocate in the nation’s capital. As the leading voice for America's physicians in Washington, D.C., the AMA is aggressively involved in advocacy efforts that are related to the most vital issues in medicine today. Here you can review the AMA's National Health Care Policy Agenda and further explore some of the AMA’s top priorities, such as expanding coverage for the uninsured and reforming the Medicare physician payment system in a way that accurately reflects rising practice costs.

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)

    The goals of the agency are: * to foster fundamental creative discoveries, innovative research strategies, and their applications as a basis for ultimately protecting and improving health; * to develop, maintain, and renew scientific human and physical resources that will ensure the Nation's capability to prevent disease; * to expand the knowledge base in medical and associated sciences in order to enhance the Nation's economic well-being and ensure a continued high return on the public investment in research; and * to exemplify and promote the highest level of scientific integrity, public accountability, and social responsibility in the conduct of science.

  • Patients’ Action Network

    The Patients’ Action Network will keep you updated on critical health care measures pending in the U.S. Congress, government agencies, your state legislature, and as reported in the media. We’ll let you know when bills are heading for a vote, or are in danger of being ignored. And we’ll ask you to help ensure lawmakers take appropriate action on these important issues.

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