When a person gets seriously injured in a car accident, the person who caused the car accident may be held responsible and be required to pay damages to compensate the victim. In most other cases, those who are injured in car accidents but do not suffer serious permanent injuries receive compensation from their own insurance companies. However, an injured person is not always limited to seeking compensation from these parties alone, for instance, if a doctor fails to diagnose an injury from the accident, the plaintiff may seek compensation from the doctor.
Doctors and other medical professionals owe a certain duty of care to their patients. When a doctor fails to act reasonably in diagnosing an injured person’s injuries, or to provide the appropriate care, the person’s injuries may get worse. In some cases, the injured person may end up requiring more invasive procedures to correct what was once a minor issue that progresses unchecked due to a misdiagnosis.
There is a difference between a misdiagnosis and a person failing to seek medical care until long after the accident or failing to properly report the symptoms he is experiencing after the accident. Especially when the failure to report the symptoms contributes to or leads to the doctor’s misdiagnosis. Florida uses a comparative negligence approach in personal injury cases, and if a plaintiff’s actions contributed to his injuries, the damages received are reduced by the percentage amount of fault attributed to the plaintiff.
It is important to remember that there are some injuries that do not immediately manifest following a car accident. For example, traumatic brain injuries may not always be immediately detected without some diagnostic testing. However, if a patient reports certain symptoms, a medical professional can follow up with appropriate testing to rule out a serious brain injury.
The injured person claiming that he was injured further after a doctor’s misdiagnosis bears the burden of proving that the doctor misdiagnosed him and that the care the doctor provided was below a reasonable standard of care. There are also statutes of limitations that limit the amount of time within which a medical malpractice case may be filed.
A plaintiff who has a claim against a doctor for misdiagnosis does not give up the right to seek compensation from the driver who caused the initial accident, or from his own insurance company. Any compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other economic damages received from one party must generally be offset by compensation received from another party. The plaintiff cannot be compensated twice for the same injuries and losses. Therefore, a doctor who is found to have misdiagnosed the injured person would be responsible for the damage the misdiagnosis caused, and not all the initial injuries. Expert testimony is often required to establish each party’s liability.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
For more information on how you can seek compensation from various responsible parties after being injured in a car accident, contact an experienced car accident injury lawyer at Vocelle & Berg, LLP, in Vero Beach, Florida for a free consultation.