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Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawsuit Payout

The average payout for cancer misdiagnosis in the United States is $660,733, according to a detailed 2019 study. Payouts in Illinois are often higher because state law does not impose limits on medical malpractice compensation, unlike many states. The experienced Chicago cancer misdiagnosis attorneys at Levin & Perconti know what it takes to consistently win awards that exceed the national and state averages.

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Misdiagnosis is one of the most common types of medical malpractice, and cancer is one of the top three most misdiagnosed conditions, according to a study published in the medical journal Diagnosis. A cancer misdiagnosis can be devastating because it allows the cancer to spread to a more advanced stage, making it more difficult to treat and often resulting in a shorter life expectancy.

As a result, cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit settlements and verdicts tend to be significant. Our cancer misdiagnosis lawyers at Levin & Perconti have won cancer misdiagnosis settlements and verdicts ranging from $500,000 to $14 million.

Overview of Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawsuits and Payouts

A cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit is a medical malpractice suit against a doctor, hospital, and other health care provider that causes or contributes to a cancer misdiagnosis by failing to provide a reasonable standard of care. The cause of action arises when the negligence causes an injury.

According to the study published in Diagnosis, the most commonly misdiagnosed cancers are lung cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, and melanoma. Except for some lung cancer cases, these cancers are highly survivable when diagnosed during their early stages.

However, if allowed to progress without the appropriate treatment, cancer can spread to distant sites in the body. This is known as metastasis. Cancer that has spread requires more aggressive treatment and causes drastically reduced survival rates. The average payouts for different types of cancer nationwide as of 2019 are as follows:

At Levin & Perconti, our attorneys know what it takes to achieve the top cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit payouts.

Top Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawsuit Payouts

Since our founding in 1992, our experienced and passionate lawyers have recovered more than a billion dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients. We are pioneers in cancer misdiagnosis matters and have developed the most effective and aggressive approach to handling these cases.

We are among the top five Illinois law firms for total settlements, according to Jury Verdict Reporter’s 2020 rankings, and we have won more settlements that exceed $500,000 than any other law firm in the state. 

Below are just a few examples of the case results we have achieved on behalf of our cancer misdiagnosis clients:

  • $14 million record jury verdict against a doctor and hospital that failed to follow up on an abnormal chest X-ray result, resulting in a substantial delay in the diagnosis of lung cancer
  • $8.1 million record verdict on behalf of a family whose mother died of lung cancer as a result of a physician’s failure to diagnose the cancer
  • $2.3 million settlement over a laboratory’s failure to properly read pap smears, resulting in a delayed diagnosis of cervical cancer that killed a 35-year-old mother of three
  • $950,000 settlement over a physician’s failure to biopsy a breast tumor, resulting in a delayed breast cancer diagnosis, causing death.
  • $630,000 settlement over a physician’s failure to perform an annua

Understanding Cancer Misdiagnosis Settlements

A cancer misdiagnosis settlement is an agreement resolving a claim against a health care provider for a specified sum of compensation. The terms of these agreements are usually kept confidential.  

What Is the Difference Between a Settlement and a Verdict?

A cancer misdiagnosis settlement may occur at any point before a verdict is rendered at a trial. In some cases, settlements happen before a lawsuit is filed; in other cases, it occurs much later, even after a trial is underway. 

A verdict in your favor will have two parts: 

  • A determination of whether the defendant is liable
  • A determination of how much compensation the defendant must pay

Allowing a case to go to trial introduces uncertainties for both sides. The plaintiff faces the risk of being denied justice, while the defendant faces the risk of being ordered to pay a substantial amount. As a result of these uncertainties, a settlement usually serves the best interests of both parties.

Our talented trial lawyers are well-known by our adversaries. Our reputation for success in the courtroom can help us maximize your settlement because many of these companies do not wish to face us in court. However, some defendants will take that chance. 

We prepare every case as if it is going to trial, so we are always prepared when this occurs. Our attorneys know what it takes to win in court, and it shows in the record verdicts we have achieved. These verdicts are not the result of luck but of detailed case preparation and vigorous representation in court.

How Is a Cancer Misdiagnosis Settlement Calculated?

Cancer misdiagnosis settlements and verdicts include economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages are compensation for monetary losses, such as the following:

  • Medical expenses stemming from treatment for disease progression stemming from the misdiagnosis
  • The cost of unnecessary surgeries, medications, and treatments
  • Lost wages
  • Necessary personal care services
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Assistive medical devices, such as wheelchairs
  • The value of domestic services you can no longer provide

Economic damages are calculated by tabulating expenses already paid, expenses to be paid in the future, and changes in your future earning capacity. 

Non-economic damages are compensation for subjective losses and impacts on life that are not easily measurable in dollars. These losses may include the following:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of bodily functions
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium of a spouse
  • Disability
  • Loss of society
  • Inconvenience
  • Humiliation

Non-economic damages are calculated using a variety of methods, which are part of the settlement negotiations process. One of the most common methods is the multiplier method, in which the total economic damages are multiplied by a number that is assigned based on the degree of suffering from the injury. This number is often the subject of settlement negotiations.

Factors that Influence a Cancer Misdiagnosis Settlement

Calculating damages from a cancer misdiagnosis involves consideration of the following factors:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • The financial impact of your injuries
  • Whether your injuries leave you with permanent disabilities
  • The amount of pain and suffering you experience from your injuries
  • Whether the injuries resulted in death
  • The weight of the evidence against your health care providers
  • The number of health care providers that contributed to the misdiagnosis

When determining the extent and impact of your injuries, it is important to determine whether those injuries were an inevitable effect of your cancer or whether they occurred as a result of the misdiagnosis.

For example, if you would have needed cancer surgery and follow-up chemotherapy anyway, regardless of when your doctor misdiagnosed your cancer, these procedures may not be included in a settlement or verdict. 

If you were diagnosed during a late stage and required chemotherapy or surgery that you would not otherwise have required, the cost and effects of these procedures would probably be counted.

A Case Study

We represented a 59-year-old whose prostate cancer diagnosis was delayed by nine months. This occurred because his doctor incorrectly interpreted his hormone levels and failed to obtain a consultation or refer the patient to a specialist. 

Our client may have required surgery even with a timely diagnosis, but the delay necessitated a more extensive procedure that caused our client to become impotent. In addition, his cancer recurred, and he had to undergo radiation, which may not have happened if he had received a timely diagnosis of the original cancer.

As a result, our skilled cancer misdiagnosis lawyers obtained a $500,000 settlement against the physician.

Common Types of Cancer Misdiagnosis

Misdiagnosis of cancer encompasses all forms of diagnostic errors, all of which have similar consequences. The three types of diagnostic errors are the following:

What Are the Consequences of a Cancer Misdiagnosis?

When cancer is detected in its early stages, it is almost always associated with a high probability of remission. Some forms of the disease, such as colon and cervical cancer, can be detected during precancerous stages and prevented before it starts. 

Early-stage cancer is generally localized, which means it has not yet spread to the lymph nodes or distant sites in the body. This makes it possible to remove the cancer through surgery or radiation in many cases. Systemic treatments like chemotherapy are sometimes unnecessary when cancer is diagnosed early.

If cancer is diagnosed after spreading to the lymph nodes, the survival rate diminishes. Once the cancer has spread to distant sites in the body, the survival rate drops dramatically.

When you receive an incorrect diagnosis, the real diagnosis remains undetected. This is also true when the diagnosis is delayed or never occurs at all. When you have the wrong diagnosis, you may be forced to undergo unnecessary treatment, whether you are falsely diagnosed with another cancer or a non-cancerous condition.

Being forced to undergo unnecessary treatments can be painful and harmful. Some can even be fatal. Our incorrectly diagnosed clients have suffered harm as a result of the following unnecessary treatments:

  • Surgeries
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Prescription drugs

Patients with a misdiagnosis may suffer permanent effects from these treatments, including removal of internal organs, loss of bodily functions, impaired immunity, and chronic fatigue. Unnecessary surgery subjects a patient to the inherent risks of any operation, including surgical errors, brain damage, and infections.

Factors That Can Contribute to Cancer Misdiagnosis

Diagnosing cancer is not always straightforward. Cancer sometimes presents with minimal or no symptoms during the early stages of the disease, and even when symptoms do emerge, they can be vague and minor. They are often mistaken for symptoms of less serious conditions.

A doctor must know a patient’s medical history, family history, and risk factors. Even without risk factors, a doctor should err on the side of caution and investigate any unexplained symptoms until a satisfactory diagnosis is reached.

If treatment fails to bring about improvements within a reasonable time, the doctor should continue investigating until the real cause is identified. 

According to the Journal Diagnosis, 85.7 percent of medical misdiagnosis stem from errors in clinical judgment, such as the following:

  • Failure to order appropriate tests
  • Failure to consider all possible diagnoses
  • Failure to take all symptoms and test results seriously
  • Failure to obtain a referral or consultation with a specialist
  • Failure to accurately interpret test results
  • Failure to accurately report test results to the patient
  • Failure to order follow-up tests

Errors in clinical judgment may be committed by doctors, radiologists, laboratory technicians, and anyone involved in administering or interpreting diagnostic tests. All contributing parties may be sued for a cancer misdiagnosis.

A cancer misdiagnosis can also stem from systemic problems within a hospital, care facility, or health system. When this occurs, liability may fall on health care providers other than or in addition to the doctor, including hospitals, nurses, laboratory technicians, and radiologists. 

They can be held liable for such errors as the following:

  • Failure to accurately and completely document the patient’s records
  • Faulty diagnostic equipment
  • Poor technical skills by staff
  • Administrative breakdowns
  • Patient testing mixups

It is not uncommon for multiple parties to be named as defendants in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Having multiple liable parties can potentially increase your case value because it increases the available pool of funds to compensate for damages.

How to File a Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawsuit

If you have been harmed because of a cancer misdiagnosis, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. The two most important steps you can take to file your lawsuit are as follows:

  • Follow through with your medical treatment.
  • Hire an experienced and competent medical malpractice attorney.

Complete Your Medical Treatment

Completing your medical treatment increases the documentation necessary to prove your injuries. This is important evidence that we can use to prove that you underwent unnecessary treatment or that delays in treatment caused harm. 

Following through with your medical treatment also demonstrates that you have been diligent about mitigating your damages. This means you have done everything you could to protect your health and demonstrates that even your best efforts could not overcome the harm caused by the misdiagnosis.

Hire a Qualified Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawyer

When selecting a law firm for a medical malpractice case, you need a lawyer with both medical and legal knowledge and specific experience handling cancer misdiagnosis cases.

Our co-founder, John J. Perconti, is recognized as one of the nation’s leading medical malpractice lawyers. He has in-depth knowledge of complex medical issues, and this has been instrumental in helping us achieve record-setting multimillion-dollar settlements and verdicts. 

He and co-founder Steven Levin have represented medical malpractice victims for over 30 years. Since our establishment, we have added more than 30 lawyers to our firm. We have accumulated more than 200 years of combined experience helping medical malpractice victims hold negligent health care providers accountable.

Pursuing a cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit requires a significant upfront financial investment in consultants, medical experts, investigations, and case filings. As a well-established personal injury law firm, we can invest as many resources as it takes to ensure your case is successful, with no upfront costs to you. 

The law firm you choose is one of the most important factors influencing the payout you receive in a medical malpractice case, whether your case settles or goes to trial. You only have one chance to make the right selection. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.