Failure to Diagnose

When your doctor has failed to correctly diagnose a disease or medical condition and it is left untreated, your condition may worsen or become untreatable.


When your doctor has failed to correctly diagnose a disease or medical condition and it is left untreated, your condition may worsen or become untreatable. You may have visited your doctor and complained of certain symptoms that the doctor attributed to something minor or of no significant concern, only to later discover that you were seriously ill, in which case you’ll need the help of an experienced Phoenix medical malpractice lawyer.

If your doctor failed to diagnose a serious disease and it has resulted in injury or progression of the disease beyond the stage where it would have been with a timely diagnosis, you may be entitled to bring a medical malpractice action against the doctor for failure to diagnose. An example is when a doctor misses a diagnosis of cancer and it spreads or metastasizes to other parts of your body, making it harder to treat and resulting in a poor prognosis. Another example is failure to diagnose stroke, which when left untreated can result in severe brain damage, disability, and death.

These cases can be difficult to prove and will typically require bringing in expert witnesses to testify. The defense will often claim that the ultimate outcome would have been the same, even if a proper diagnosis had been made, so it is essential that you have an experienced medical malpractice lawyer with access to recognized medical experts working to build your case.

If the doctor made an incorrect diagnosis and treated you for some other disease that you didn’t have, and the treatment or medication harmed you, this could be an additional charge to the failure to diagnose claim.


When assessing a misdiagnosis, you need to determine what diagnoses a reasonably prudent doctor, would have considered as possible causes of the presenting symptoms under similar circumstances. Doctors usually consider several possible diagnoses and list them in order of likelihood. This is called a “differential diagnosis list.”If the correct diagnosis was not considered, or if it was listed but never ruled out by additional tests, this is usually indicative of negligence, and you may have a cause of action for medical malpractice. To determine which differential diagnoses a reasonably prudent doctor would be expected to consider under the same or similar circumstances requires the testimony of other doctors as expert witnesses in the same practice area.


When you believe you or a member of your family has been harmed by your doctor’s failure to diagnose a serious illness, you’ll need an injury attorney who is familiar with medical terminology and who has access to medical professionals who can review your medical records and determine when and how the missed diagnosis occurred, and how the outcome would have been different with a proper and timely diagnosis.

Failure to diagnose cases can be difficult, complex, and expensive. The Curiel and Runion law firm in Phoenix will front all the expenses as well as our time, and you will pay nothing unless we win a recovery for you. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience required to build a powerful case, and the resources to bring aboard appropriate experts to provide the professional testimony to help prove it. We are passionate in our belief that careless and incompetent doctors should be held accountable for their actions.

Arizona law places limitations on the amount of time in which you can file a claim for medical malpractice, so it is essential that you act as soon as you suspect that your doctor’s error has caused you harm. Call Curiel and Runion today to protect your right to a full recovery of your damages.