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When is a Medical Treatment Delay an Actionable Case?

Medical treatment delays can result in serious and deadly harm, particularly when a delay in treatment results in a disease like cancer spreading and becoming incurable or inoperable. Yet it can be difficult for patients to know whether a medical treatment delay is an actionable case.

When is delayed treatment the result of medical negligence, and how can you know if you are eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit? An Upstate New York delayed diagnosis lawyer at our firm is here to evaluate your case. We can talk with you about the particular details of your medical treatment delay and can assist you with your medical negligence claim if you have a case.

In the meantime, the following information can help to clarify when medical treatment delays are actionable in New York. 

Delay in Treatment Must-Have Resulted from Medical Negligence

First, in order for a delay in treatment to be actionable, it must result from a healthcare provider’s negligence—usually a delayed diagnosis or a diagnostic error. To be clear, you will not be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit if your delayed treatment happened because you failed to see a doctor after experiencing systems or waited to book an appointment with a specialist following a recommendation from your primary care physician.

However, your claim may be actionable if your healthcare provider failed to accurately diagnose your condition, leading to a delay in treatment. All of the following circumstances are examples of delays in medical treatment that may be actionable:

  • You visited your physician for a routine checkup and your physician failed to identify or diagnose a condition that required treatment;
  • You visited your primary care physician with symptoms and your primary care provider failed to accurately diagnose the condition based on the symptoms or failed to refer you to a specialist;
  • You visited a specialist who misdiagnosed your condition, resulting in a delay in medical treatment; or
  • Laboratory test errors occurred, resulting in a delayed diagnosis and delayed treatment.

Patient Must Have Suffered Actual Harm as a Result of the Delay

Next, you must have suffered actual harm as a result of the delay in treatment. To be sure, even if a healthcare provider makes a mistake but you are able to obtain treatment and do not suffer any harm as a result of the delay, you will not be eligible to file a claim. However, there are many different types of harm that can result from a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis, or a delay in treatment, and any of them may be actionable, including but not limited to: 

  • Disease spread as a result of delayed treatment;
  • You required more invasive or costly treatment as a result of the delay; or
  • You experienced more physical or psychological pain as a result of the delay.

Statute of Limitations Must Not Have Run Out

Finally, in order to have an actionable case, not only will you need to meet the requirements discussed above of medical negligence and actual harm resulting from that negligence, but you will also need to file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations. Under New York law, most medical malpractice claims must be filed within two years and six months from the date of the incident giving rise to the claim. However, with delays in medical treatment caused by healthcare provider negligence, a patient may have additional time.

In cases where a patient’s harm results from an “alleged negligent failure to diagnose cancer or a malignant tumor,” then the patient will have two years and six months to file a claim either from the date that the patient knew or should have known about the diagnostic error and the actual diagnosis or from the date of the last treatment when the patient was receiving continuous treatment for an illness or condition.

Even under these types of circumstances, however, the claim must still be filed within seven years from the date of the act or omission that resulted in the injury. In other words, while you may have more than two years and six months to file a medical treatment delay claim, your lawsuit must nonetheless be filed within seven years from the date of the diagnostic error that gave rise to your claim.

Contact Our Experienced Upstate New York Medical Malpractice Lawyers

If you were harmed because of a delay in medical treatment, you could have an actionable medical malpractice lawsuit. One of our experienced Upstate New York delayed diagnosis attorneys can assess your case for you today and can assist you with your medical malpractice claim.

Delayed diagnoses that result in treatment delays can be devastating, but our firm is here to assist you. We have years of experience providing compassionate and dedicated representation to patients and their families, and we can speak with you today about your case. Contact Powers & Santola, LLP to learn more about how we can help.

Call Today! (518) 465-5995

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