Medical Malpractice

What Is the Average Settlement for Cancer Misdiagnosis in NY?

March 25, 2024
What Is the Average Settlement for Cancer Misdiagnosis in NY?

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Cancer misdiagnosis is a serious form of medical malpractice that can have devastating consequences for patients. When doctors fail to properly diagnose cancer in a timely manner, it can lead to delayed treatment, unnecessary suffering, and even wrongful death.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of cancer misdiagnosis, you may be entitled to significant compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit. This article will explore the average settlement amount for cancer misdiagnosis cases and the factors that can impact the compensation awarded.

Key Takeaway: Average Cancer Misdiagnosis Compensation

Although general medical malpractice compensation figures can give you an idea of what to expect from your case, it's important to understand that cancer misdiagnosis settlements in particular can vary greatly and often fall outside the average range for medical malpractice claims.

Here's a more detailed breakdown of the average medical malpractice compensation for cancer misdiagnosis:

  • Median Payout: While the median payout for all medical malpractice claims sits at $450,000, cancer misdiagnosis settlements are typically much higher.
  • Wide Range of Potential Awards: Keep in mind that these are just averages; individual settlements can range from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars depending on the specific circumstances.

To understand what kind of compensation you might be eligible for in your unique situation, consult a qualified medical malpractice attorney who has experience with cancer misdiagnosis claims. They can analyze the details of your case and provide a more accurate estimate of the potential damages.

Let’s focus on some key cancer misdiagnosis statistics and case studies to help you better understand the factors that combine to influence settlement amounts.

How Common Is Cancer Misdiagnosis?

How Common Is Cancer Misdiagnosis?

Unfortunately, cancer misdiagnosis is far more common than many people realize.

Studies estimate that diagnostic errors occur in 10%–20% of all medical cases, with cancer being one of the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions. Breast and lung cancer are two of the most commonly misdiagnosed cancers.

Factors that can contribute to cancer misdiagnosis include:

  • Failure to order appropriate diagnostic tests;
  • Misinterpretation of test results;
  • Not taking a thorough medical history.

When cancer misdiagnosis occurs, the consequences can be severe.

Delayed diagnosis allows the cancer to progress unchecked, making it harder to treat successfully. This in turn can lead to more invasive treatments, reduced survival rates, significant medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and diminished quality of life. In the worst-case scenario, cancer misdiagnosis can result in the death of the patient.

The Impact of Cancer Misdiagnosis

Cancer misdiagnosis can have a profound and far-reaching impact on patients and their families. When a doctor fails to diagnose cancer promptly and accurately, it can limit the patient's treatment options and affect their survivability and overall quality of life.

Patients in many cancer misdiagnosis lawsuits have suffered harm due to delayed or incorrect diagnoses, which resulted in more invasive treatments and unnecessary physical and emotional pain.

Studies have shown that cancer misdiagnosis is a leading cause of medical malpractice cases. A report by Johns Hopkins University found that diagnostic errors, including delayed, incorrect, or missed diagnoses, account for the largest fraction of medical malpractice claims in the United States, with 37.8% of cases involving cancer.

When cancer isn’t identified early, patients may require more aggressive medical treatment, such as extensive surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy, which can take a severe toll on their health and well-being.

The Financial and Emotional Toll of Cancer Misdiagnosis

Cancer misdiagnosis can place a crushing financial burden on patients and their families, giving rise to substantial medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses that can quickly accumulate. In such cases, the average compensation can range from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, depending on the specific circumstances and the extent of the harm suffered.

Beyond the physical and financial consequences, cancer misdiagnosis can also cause immense emotional distress and mental anguish.

The psychological impact of receiving a delayed or incorrect cancer diagnosis can’t be overstated. Patients may experience anxiety, depression, anger, and a loss of trust in the medical system. In some cases, the emotional trauma can be nearly as devastating as the physical effects of the disease itself.

Healthcare providers must follow proper diagnostic protocols and use appropriate tools, such as CT scans and other imaging tests, to ensure accurate and timely cancer diagnosis. Patients who suffer harm due to misdiagnosis may be entitled to pursue legal action to seek compensation for their losses and hold negligent medical professionals accountable.

Average Medical Malpractice Settlement Amounts

Average Medical Malpractice Settlement Amounts

What is the average settlement for a cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit? The reality is that settlement amounts can vary widely based on the unique circumstances of each case. However, many cases result in payouts ranging from several hundred thousand dollars to over $1 million.

Some key factors that influence cancer misdiagnosis settlement amounts include:

  • The type and stage of cancer at the time of the missed or delayed diagnosis;
  • The degree of harm suffered by the patient as a result of the diagnostic error;
  • The strength of the evidence that negligence occurred;
  • The patient's age, health, and earning capacity;
  • The jurisdiction and specific laws where the malpractice occurred;
  • The track record and skill set of the attorneys handling the case.

The following case studies come from actual cancer misdiagnosis claims the experienced attorneys at Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Firm have successfully handled for their clients over the years.

$950K for Misdiagnosed Breast Cancer

A 70-year-old client based in Brooklyn, NY, was awarded $950,000 for a case of misdiagnosed breast cancer. Her stage IV cancer was evident from a mammogram taken in October 2015 but wasn’t diagnosed until October 2016, by which time it had spread to her bones.

Despite the defense’s arguments, the available evidence suggested that earlier diagnosis could have prevented the cancer's progression and reduced the client’s treatment needs and recurrence risk. The case was settled during mediation in Kings County Supreme Court.

$1.25M for Delayed Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer

The family of a 59-year-old man received a $1.25 million settlement after his wrongful death due to a five-year delay in diagnosing his advanced prostate cancer, which had metastasized.

The prosecuting attorneys successfully overcame the defense’s claims that the cancer's aggressiveness made early diagnosis unlikely to change the outcome. The sizable settlement helped ensure the victim’s family's financial security.

$2M for Undetected Gynecologic Cancer

$2M for Undetected Gynecologic Cancer

Another case involved the estate of a woman in her thirties who passed away from late-stage gynecologic cancer. Despite early warnings, a proper diagnosis of choriocarcinoma and advanced gestational trophoblastic disease was delayed by 11 months.

Due to the lack of timely diagnosis and treatment, the victim’s estate was awarded $2 million in compensation.

$800,000 for Misdiagnosed Bone Cancer

Our firm also secured an $800,000 award for the spouse of an office worker who died from bone cancer. We worked to obtain a substantial recovery for the grieving family, demonstrating our commitment to securing justice and relief for the victim's family during this difficult time.

As these examples demonstrate, the payout for cancer-related malpractice cases can range from hundreds of thousands to millions. It's important to note that while some cancer misdiagnosis cases may result in multi-million dollar settlements, the average payout is typically lower.

While these cases represent the higher end of the spectrum, even an "average" cancer misdiagnosis settlement can provide critical compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. According to statistical data, the average payout for all types of medical malpractice claims nationwide is around $300,000.

Legal Considerations and Process

Filing a cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit involves demonstrating four crucial elements: that a doctor-patient relationship existed, that the healthcare provider was negligent in their diagnosis or treatment, that this negligence directly resulted in harm to the patient, and that the resulting harm can be quantified or estimated to provide a fair and sufficient award.

Patients must often present comprehensive medical records, undergo independent medical evaluations, and rely on testimony from medical experts to substantiate their claims.

How Are Cancer Misdiagnosis Settlements Calculated?

When pursuing a cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit, one of the main questions patients and their families have is how much compensation they may be eligible to receive. Several key factors combine to determine the total value of a cancer misdiagnosis settlement.

Economic Damages

Economic damages compensate for the quantifiable financial losses the patient incurs as a result of the misdiagnosis. These may include:

  • Medical Expenses: This category encompasses the cost of additional treatments, surgeries, medications, and hospitalizations.
  • Lost Wages: If the patient is unable to work or has to take extended time off due to the misdiagnosis, they may be entitled to compensation for lost income.
  • Future Medical Costs: In cases where the patient requires ongoing treatment or care, the settlement may include projected future medical expenses.
  • Loss of Earning Capacity: If the misdiagnosis results in a permanent disability or reduced ability to work, the patient may be compensated for the impact on their future earning potential.

Economic damages typically make up the bulk of an award for cancer-related medical misdiagnosis.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages provide payment for the patient's intangible losses, which can be more difficult to quantify. These may include:

  • Pain and Suffering: Reflects the physical pain, discomfort, and emotional anguish the patient experiences due to the misdiagnosis.
  • Emotional Distress: Some patients may be entitled to compensation for the psychological impact of the misdiagnosis, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Loss of Quality of Life: May be available if the misdiagnosis results in a reduced ability to enjoy life, engage in hobbies, or participate in daily activities.
  • Loss of Consortium: In some cases, the patient's spouse may be entitled to compensation for the resultant loss of companionship, support, and intimacy.

Because these sorts of impacts are so hard to quantify and prove, you’ll need the assistance of a skilled medical misdiagnosis attorney to accurately calculate the non-economic damages for your case.

Punitive Damages

Punitive Damages

In rare instances when a healthcare provider's actions are particularly reckless or egregious, the court may award punitive damages. Such an award is intended to punish the defendant and deter similar behavior in the future.

Calculating the total value of a cancer misdiagnosis settlement involves carefully evaluating the specific circumstances surrounding each case, including the nature and extent of the harm suffered. Medical malpractice attorneys frequently work with medical experts and other professionals to build strong cases and negotiate fair settlements for their clients.

Proving a Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim in 4 Steps

As mentioned earlier, recovering compensation in a cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit requires proving four critical elements. Here’s a closer look at each one.

1. Establishing a Doctor-Patient Relationship

First, you must prove that a doctor-patient relationship existed at the time the alleged malpractice occurred. This means showing that your healthcare provider had a duty of care to accurately diagnose and treat your cancer.

2. Proving the Doctor's Negligence

Second, you must show that your doctor was negligent in diagnosing your cancer and that their care fell below the accepted standard in the medical community. This often involves demonstrating that they failed to order appropriate tests, misinterpreted test results, ignored key symptoms, or unreasonably delayed the diagnosis.

Proving negligence often requires testimony from medical experts who can explain how the doctor's actions deviated from what a reasonably competent physician would have done under similar circumstances.

3. Linking the Negligence to Actual Harm

Next, you must draw a direct causal link between the doctor's negligence and the harm you’ve suffered. This means providing evidence that your outcome would have been significantly better had the doctor made a timely and accurate diagnosis.

For example, you might need to prove that a delayed diagnosis allowed your cancer to progress to a more advanced stage, necessitating more aggressive treatment and reducing your chances of survival.

4. Documenting the Extent of the Harm

Finally, you must document the full extent of the harm or losses you’ve incurred due to the misdiagnosis, including economic damages like medical bills, lost wages, and reduced earning capacity, as well as non-economic damages like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.

In cases of wrongful death, the patient's family may also recover damages for funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial support, and loss of companionship.

Gathering the extensive evidence needed to prove these elements is a complex undertaking that involves obtaining and analyzing abstruse medical records, enlisting credible medical experts to review the case and provide compelling testimony, and thoroughly documenting the physical, emotional, and financial impacts of the misdiagnosis.

A knowledgeable medical malpractice law firm can build the strongest possible case on your behalf and guide you through the legal process to help you secure the compensation you deserve.

If You Suspect that You or a Loved One May Be a Victim of Cancer Misdiagnosis, Don't Wait to Take Action

Contact the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Firm today for a free case evaluation. We'll fight to get you the full and fair compensation you deserve.

Request a Free Consultation

Get Justice with Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Firm

While no amount of money can ever undo the harm cancer misdiagnosis can cause, a medical malpractice claim can offer a sense of justice and accountability.

A lawsuit sends the message that negligent doctors and healthcare providers must face consequences for their actions. It can also spur important changes to improve patient safety and prevent similar misdiagnoses from happening to others in the future.

If you believe that you or a loved one may have a legitimate cancer misdiagnosis claim, don't hesitate to speak with the experienced medical malpractice lawyers at Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Firm. We’ll review your case, explain your legal options, and fight for the maximum settlement amount.

With our assistance, you can focus on your health and recovery while holding negligent medical professionals responsible for the harm they’ve caused. Schedule a no-cost consultation today to learn more.

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