Everyone makes mistakes, including doctors. Sometimes, they do not ask the right question, miss a clue in your medical history, misinterpret a test, or fail to diagnose a condition properly and timely.

Not all failures to diagnose merit legal action, but some do. When a medical professional misses a diagnosis because they did not adhere to a proper standard of care and you suffer injuries because of their failure, a medical malpractice action could be appropriate.

These cases are more complex than other personal injury claims, and you need an experienced medical negligence attorney who provides the individual attention your case deserves. Our firm of 3 brothers has been helping others get compensation from negligent parties for decades. Working with a Tampa misdiagnosis medical malpractice lawyer at Perenich Law Injury Attorneys ensures your case receives the personal attention you deserve.

How a Diagnostic Error Could Happen

The term misdiagnosis applies when a medical professional, usually a doctor, fails to accurately identify a disease or condition afflicting the patient. Although the word implies that the doctor made an incorrect diagnosis, it is also used when a correct diagnosis is delayed or the doctor determines there was no medical basis for the patient’s complaint.

Various acts or omissions could result in a misdiagnosis claim. Some common reasons for misdiagnosis include:

  • Inadequate follow-up
  • Misinterpreting or ignoring test results
  • Failing to take a complete patient history
  • Failing to make a timely referral to a specialist
  • Failing to conduct a thorough physical examination
  • Not ordering necessary tests or ordering the wrong tests
  • Ignoring the patient’s medical history when considering a possible diagnosis

Poor communication between the doctor and other medical providers also could lead to a misdiagnosis.

When a doctor does not make a correct diagnosis within a reasonable period, they could be liable for a medical malpractice claim citing misdiagnosis. However, a viable claim requires more than just proving a failure to make a correct diagnosis. A seasoned Tampa misdiagnosis medical malpractice attorney could discuss a patient’s situation with them and explain the elements they must prove to bring a successful claim against a healthcare provider.

Commonly Misdiagnosed Conditions

Some of the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions our lawyers file medical malpractice claims in Tampa over include:


Unfortunately, cancer is both the most commonly misdiagnosed medical condition in Florida and the type of condition that is likely to get dramatically worse very quickly if it is not identified and treated as early as possible. In particular, misdiagnoses of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, cervical cancer, and prostate cancer are common, as are misdiagnoses of various lymphomas and melanomas.

Heart Attacks

Because different people can experience “myocardial infarction” or other types of heart trouble in very different ways, doctors do not always correctly diagnose people suffering from this kind of problem. This is especially common when someone suffers a heart attack that does not produce very many—or any—symptoms, which happens more often than many people might think.


While many of the symptoms of a stroke are very obvious, they also can manifest from certain other conditions that are not strokes and may not even be particularly dangerous. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads doctors to misdiagnose people experiencing serious problems with their brains and allows them to suffer life-altering harm as a result.

Digestive/Intestinal Problems

Celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, and other issues with the gastrointestinal system all share many of the same symptoms, and they can also all be tricky to test for in the same way that doctors can test for conditions like cancer. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this leads to physicians misdiagnosing people with a different condition other than the one they have or even telling them they just have a common stomach bug instead.

Lyme Disease

Commonly caused by insect bites, Lyme disease can be dangerous not just because of the damage it can do to the internal organs and the nervous system but also because its early symptoms can be fairly innocuous, like a fever, headaches, and rashes. However, medical professionals are expected to know when a serious condition like this is present and be able to identify it as something more serious than a regular cold.


Along similar veins, fibromyalgia commonly presents similar symptoms to arthritis or, even worse, to everyday aches caused by overactivity. This means that this serious condition may go undiagnosed—or incorrectly diagnosed as something else—for months at a time, leading to unnecessary harm to the patient.

Can I Sue a Doctor for Misdiagnosis in Florida?

As mentioned above, it is very much possible for a patient who suffers serious physical harm due to a doctor failing to diagnose them correctly to file suit against that doctor and demand civil compensation for their damages. However, with relatively few exceptions, it is not possible in a practical sense for an injured person to file this kind of claim entirely on their own.

Among other things, Florida state law requires people who want to file suit over medical negligence of any kind to make a reasonably diligent investigation into whether they have valid grounds for a claim and to get at least one medical expert to sign an affidavit confirming their belief that such grounds exist. There are also some unique notice requirements and a somewhat complicated settlement process involved in the typical case, all of which can be extremely difficult to navigate without guidance from qualified legal counsel.

Establishing a Malpractice Claim

The first step hurdle is to ensure the claim is not time-barred. Florida Statutes § 95.11 requires a patient to file a medical malpractice claim within two years of the injury. In a misdiagnosis case, if the patient continues seeking treatment from the provider before receiving the correct diagnosis, the two-year period begins on the last treatment date. If some time passes before the patient learns of a diagnostic error, the patient can bring a lawsuit within a reasonable period of learning of the malpractice.

Medical malpractice can only occur if a doctor/patient relationship exists between the medical professional and the injured party. An injured person could establish they had a professional relationship by proving they made an appointment with the doctor at their office or practice location and submitted the paperwork for an insurance claim or paid for the consultation. Records of prescriptions the doctor wrote, or tests they ordered for the patient also could establish a doctor/patient relationship.

A patient also must demonstrate they suffered harm because of the medical professional’s misdiagnosis. The delay in reaching the correct diagnosis must have altered the outcome or caused the patient to suffer additional physical, emotional, or financial consequences. A diligent lawyer in Tampa could review a patient’s situation and determine whether they meet the threshold requirements for filing a malpractice claim for misdiagnosis, and if so, evaluate whether the healthcare professional was negligent.

The Negligence Standard in Misdiagnosis Cases

Healthcare providers must meet an appropriate standard of care in treating their patients. Meeting the standard of care means that a healthcare provider applied the same degree of attention, knowledge, and skill as a similarly trained professional in the area would have. A healthcare provider who fails to meet that standard is negligent.

A proactive Tampa attorney could ask a medical expert to review a misdiagnosis case to determine whether the professional’s care appeared to meet prevailing local standards. Factors such as whether the professional took a thorough medical history, ordered the appropriate tests, reviewed the results timely, and did the proper follow-up influence whether a misdiagnosis could be considered an unfortunate error or a case of negligence.

Pursue a Misdiagnosis Medical Malpractice Claim with a Tampa Attorney

A misdiagnosis can lead to severe consequences. You might have suffered significant physical symptoms or endured emotional distress. In the worst cases, a misdiagnosis might shorten your lifespan.

You could hold a negligent medical professional liable for the harm you suffered by filing a legal claim seeking damages. Contact a Tampa misdiagnosis medical malpractice lawyer at Perenich Law Injury Attorneys today for your free consultation.

Perenich Law injury Attorneys

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