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Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawsuits in Maryland

Cancer claims the lives of almost 11,000 Maryland residents a year. It is the second leading cause of death in Maryland.

Most of these deaths are unavoidable. The doctors diagnose it quickly and do everything they can for the patient.

Still, our Maryland cancer misdiagnosis lawyers see too many cases where a chance to stop cancer in its tracks was lost because of a doctor's mistake.  

Sample Cancer Misdiagnosis Verdicts and Settlements

It used to be doctors could miss a cancer diagnosis and defend the case at trial with a cynical but effective argument: "Well, the patient would have died anyway."

Today, for many types of cancers, survival rates show that catching it early enough and getting the most up-to-date treatment in many cases will make it far more likely than not that the patient will survive. This is why an effective diagnosis is critical to our enjoying the great fruits that modern medicine has brought us to fight back against the wretched disease.  Yes, more and more patients can overcome cancer today.  What they often cannot overcome is a misdiagnosis that wastes precious time to stop the disease in its tracks. We now know even a delay as small as four weeks can sometimes be the difference between life and death. 

Paradoxically, all of these new treatments to cure cancer are leading to more cancer misdiagnosis lawsuits. Why? Because most of these new modern therapies allow you to beat cancer are not pills you pop that lead to an immediate cure no matter what. Hopefully, we will get to this point one day. But where we are now is that modern treatments give us the tools to eradicate and defeat cancer if caught early enough.

The reality is that the time a cancer victim waits for a proper diagnosis after a misdiagnosis or after a doctor's failure to diagnose is essential and can often be the difference between life and death.

If you or someone you love has been harmed as a result of a cancer misdiagnosis in Maryland, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit for money damages for your lost wages, medical bills, and, most importantly, your pain and suffering. Fill out today our free malpractice consultation form and get information on your options from an experienced Maryland cancer misdiagnosis attorney. To speak to a lawyer even more quickly, call us at 800-553-8082.

Cancer Misdiagnosis Is Far Too Common

Misdiagnosis is a pandemic. The two most commonly misdiagnosed diseases are our two most deadly: cancer and coronary artery disease.

Cancer Misdiagnosis

A few years ago, the Journal of Clinical Oncology published a study that cancer misdiagnoses occur a stunning 28 percent of the time. This is an incredible statistic. This number rose to 44 percent for some types of cancer. Which cancers are the most frequently misdiagnosed? The study found that lymphoma, breast cancer, sarcomas, and melanoma top the list. Read up on these cancers and you will find a leitmotif: your best chance of beating these cancers is to catch them early.

Are all of these misdiagnosis errors, how many are viable medical malpractice claims? There are vast complexities associated with the development of a disease like cancer. Not every misdiagnosis should lead to a medical malpractice claim. You cannot say that there is compensable damage or injury in every negligent misdiagnosis of cancer.

But the real problem is not that too many cancer misdiagnosis cases find the way to litigation. The opposite is true. In the vast majority of clear-cut cancer misdiagnosis death cases, the family does not seek to hold the doctor responsible. Our problem with cancer diagnosis cases is not that too many lawyers -- it is there there are too few.  History has taught us that when doctors know they will be held accountable, they raise their games which helps prevent the same thing from happening to someone else. (The same is true, by the way, for lawyers with legal malpractice claims.)

Three Things You Need to Prove to Win a Cancer Misdiagnosis Case

In a malpractice suit based on the failure to diagnose cancer in Maryland, the victim or the victim's family's attorney must prove three things:

  1. Duty. The doctor owed a duty to the patient to conform to the applicable medical standard of care. The duty of care owed to an individual in the medical context is based primarily on the existence of the physician-patient relationship. If you have a question as to whether was a duty or doctor-patient relationship because the doctor was on-call or there is some other issue about the relationship between the patient and the physician, the Maryland Court of Appeals opinion in Sterling v. Johns Hopkins is instructive. But, in the vast majority of cases, the issue of duty is not a problem. In Maryland, the question of whether there is an obligation on the part of the health care provider is made by the judge long before any trial begins.
  2. Breach. The doctor's failure to conform to the applicable medical standard of care. Before initiating litigation, Maryland law requires that an expert medical doctor outline in writing what a doctor is needed to do and who the doctor failed to do what he should have done. The majority of cancer misdiagnosis cases that find their way to the courtroom hinge on this question: did the doctor make a mistake that a reasonably prudent doctor would not have made?
  3. Damages. The injury or death was "proximately caused" by the doctor's mistake. As we talked about above, sometimes in cancer misdiagnosis cases, the doctor cannot avoid conceding that a mistake was made.

    The settlement and trial value of some cancer misdiagnosis claims in Maryland are in the millions.

What do doctors do when the misdiagnosis is easy to prove?  They argue the third prong: damages.  Defense lawyers in cancer misdiagnosis cases often bring a causation defense.  With a causation defense, the doctor's attorney argues that the victim would have died or suffered the same injuries even if the diagnosis was made when it should have been made. 

Our lawyers frequently find ourselves on this "causation battlefield" not just in failure to diagnose cancer cases, but in all different types of medical malpractice cases. The good news is that if the battle is being fought on this turf, the doctors are already in a position of weakness. If you are making the "Sure, I screwed up, but it does not matter" defense, you are already behind the 8-ball.

Trial and Settlement Value of Cancer Misdiagnosis Verdicts

The median malpractice verdict in cancer-related cases is $1.75 million. The average verdict is much higher but we do not have the exact statistic for that. The vast majority of these are a failure to properly diagnose cancer cases.

A median or average verdict does not tell you a ton about the value of your claim. If you look at our pages on specific types of cancers (listed below), many of them involve cancer-specific average settlement and verdict statistics which will be somewhat more illuminating. Still, the reality is that these cases are extremely fact to the unique individual facts of that case. So matching up like settlements and verdicts is only useful to a point.

Can You Sue a Doctor for Not Finding Cancer?

Yes. If a doctor fails to diagnose your cancer because of negligent care or some type of mistake, you can sue them for medical malpractice. In fact, failure to diagnose cancer is one of the most common types of medical malpractice claims. Some common examples of medical negligence in cancer misdiagnosis cases include failure to identify tumor on radiology images and failure to order appropriate testing.

How Much Are Failure to Diagnose Cancer Cases Worth?

The average value of a medical malpractice case involving a failure to diagnose cancer is between $400,000 and $700,000. Cancer misdiagnosis cases have a somewhat lower value than other types of malpractice cases. This is primarily because most cancer misdiagnosis cases only involve a delay in diagnosing the cancer.

What Are the Most Commonly Misdiagnosed Types of Cancer?

The types of cancer that are most frequently misdiagnosed are breast cancer, colon cancer, lymphoma, and lung cancer. There are a variety of factors that make these cancers more problematic to diagnose.

Getting a Lawyer for Your Misdiagnosis Case

The cancer misdiagnosis attorneys at Miller & Zois have experience handling medical malpractice cases from start to finish. We have had a history of success. We have the right experts and the resources and experience to put you in a position to win your case and get the compensation you richly deserve. There are no fees or expenses unless we win a financial recovery for you.

Call us today to review your claim at 800-553-8082. You can also get a free online consultation and case evaluation.

Client Reviews
They quite literally worked as hard as if not harder than the doctors to save our lives. Terry Waldron
Ron helped me find a clear path that ended with my foot healing and a settlement that was much more than I hope for. Aaron Johnson
Hopefully I won't need it again but if I do, I have definitely found my lawyer for life and I would definitely recommend this office to anyone! Bridget Stevens
The last case I referred to them settled for $1.2 million. John Selinger
I am so grateful that I was lucky to pick Miller & Zois. Maggie Lauer
The entire team from the intake Samantha to the lawyer himself (Ron Miller) has been really approachable. Suzette Allen
The case settled and I got a lot more money than I expected. Ron even fought to reduce how much I owed in medical bills so I could get an even larger settlement. Nchedo Idahosa