When Failure to Treat Becomes Medical Malpractice

When Failure to Treat Becomes Medical Malpractice

A medical provider’s failure to treat becomes medical malpractice when the doctor fails to take reasonable steps to diagnose and treat a condition. If the doctor’s behavior meets the standard for negligence, they may have committed medical malpractice.

A skilled medical malpractice lawyer can examine if a failure to treat qualifies as medical malpractice. If you or a loved one are the victim of malpractice, an attorney will fight for a fair financial recovery on your behalf.

How to Tell if a Failure to Treat Qualifies as Medical Malpractice

Close-up of a card displaying 'MEDICAL PRACTICE' text, accompanied by a stethoscope, symbolizing medical professionalism and care.

Lawyers use the negligence standard to identify medical malpractice.

A medical provider is negligent when they:

  • Owe the patient a duty of care: All medical providers have a duty of care to their clients, so proving the duty of care is a formality in medical malpractice cases. A duty of care requires a doctor to take reasonable measures to protect their patient from harm.
  • Breach the duty of care: A failure to diagnose or treat a medical condition exposes the patient to harm. A medical condition can become worse—even fatal—when a doctor fails to treat the condition properly. Therefore, a failure to treat breaches a doctor’s duty of care.
  • Causation of the victim’s damages: A medical malpractice lawyer will aim to prove that a failure to treat caused harm to the victim. After proving causation, the lawyer will explain the damages the victim suffered because of failing to treat their medical condition.

Negligence is rarely intentional; most medical providers aim to do good. However, basic standards exist for properly diagnosing and treating a patient’s symptoms.

Examples of Negligent Failure to Treat a Medical Condition

Failure to treat can refer to one or more failures by medical professionals.

You may take legal action if a medical professional:

  • Failed to diagnose symptoms that a patient brought them
  • Diagnosed a medical condition but took too long to do so—perhaps they ordered a six-month follow-up when they should have ordered testing, imaging, or other diagnostic procedures
  • Provided an inaccurate diagnosis
  • Recommended a treatment course that proved unnecessary or improper
  • Recommended a treatment without informing the patient of the dangers of the treatment

A doctor should provide clear, accurate explanations for a client’s symptoms. Concerns about the cost of care or time requirements to diagnose and treat a patient should never interfere with an accurate, timely diagnosis. When a doctor (or other medical provider) fails to deliver thorough medical care, they may commit medical malpractice.

What You Can Do if a Doctor Failed to Treat You or a Loved One

If you have suffered the consequences of medical malpractice, find a personal injury lawyer, who can fight for a settlement or judgment covering your damages.

Lawyers represent:

  • Those who survive despite a medical provider’s failure to treat
  • Those whose loved ones pass away because of a failure to treat a terminal medical condition

If you hire an attorney, they will oversee every detail of your medical malpractice case.

As you seek a lawyer to lead your case, you may also:

  • Keep all records of medical care related to the failure to treat
  • Keep a record of any physical pain, emotional anguish, psychological distress, day-to-day challenges, and other consequences of the failure to treat
  • Follow your doctor’s advice 

Once you hire your lawyer, you should follow their advice, too.

Recoverable Damages in Cases Where a Doctor Fails to Treat Their Patient

Distressed young medical professional dealing with a medical mistake

Failure to treat a single medical condition in a single state—postpartum depression—can cost as much as $2.2 billion over five years. We can then determine that the total cost of failure to treat all medical conditions is massive.

The personal cost to victims of medical malpractice is also high.

Medical malpractice lawyers often see their clients suffer:

  • The cost of negligent medical care: Patients should not have to pay for substandard medical care. If your lawyer determines that a medical provider failed you, they may have to reimburse you for the negligent medical care.
  • Avoidable medical expenses: If you endured medical procedures you may have avoided if the doctor treated you properly, you may receive compensation for this additional care. 
  • Psychological and emotional problems: Your lawyer will seek compensation for any pain and suffering caused by a medical professional’s failure to treat you. This may include physical pain, psychological distress, emotional anguish, depression, lost quality of life, and other symptoms. 
  • Lost income and other professional damages: If the failure to treat led to you missing work, your lawyer will seek compensation for lost income, diminished earning power, and any other professional harm.
  • Rehabilitation expenses: If you need physical or occupational rehabilitation after your medical ordeal, your attorney will include the rehab cost in your medical malpractice lawsuit.

If you suffer any other economic or non-economic damages because of a doctor’s failure to treat you, your attorney will account for those damages.

Patients Lose Their Lives Because of Failures to Treat

Tragically, failure to treat a patient can cause medical conditions to worsen. In some cases, the patient passes away.

When this occurs, medical malpractice lawyers often seek compensation for:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Surviving loved ones’ pain and suffering
  • The decedent’s pain and suffering (which can be severe when someone suffers a terminal illness)
  • Loss of the decedent’s companionship, guidance as a parent, and other types of non-economic value 
  • Loss of the decedent’s income and work-related benefits
  • Loss of the decedent’s household contributions, including financial services, handiwork, security, cleaning, parenting, and assistance with chores
  • End-of-life medical expenses

It is difficult to express the value of a loved one, but that is what medical injury lawyers do. An attorney’s services will also protect you from any stress or hardship you might experience when leading a wrongful death case on your own.

Hire a Medical Malpractice Attorney as Soon as Possible

William B Kilduff, Medical Malpractice Lawyer
William B Kilduff Medical Malpractice Lawyer

A competent personal injury attorney likely faces a deadline for filing your case, so don’t wait to find your law firm. Your attorney will fight for your deserved compensation, resolving your case as quickly as possible.

William B. Kilduff


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