Cancer Litigation

Cancer litigation is often pursued when patients suffer physical, mental, and financial harm as a result of a cancer misdiagnosis. The plaintiff, or the patient, alleges that the defendant, or the medical professional, is responsible for the harm sustained. This is also referred to as medical negligence or medical malpractice. In successful cancer litigation, the cancer patient proves that the medical professional failed to meet a certain standard of care that would have prevented the harm that he or she suffered.

Proving a Cancer Lawsuit

Proving a cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit can present unique challenges. In a cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s negligent actions were responsible for the harm the patient experienced. Negligence is defined as the doctor’s carelessness or lack of proper care and attention during the medical process. In addition to doctors, cancer misdiagnosis lawsuits may also be filed against any party with legal responsibility to diagnose and treat the patient. This includes assistants, nurses, primary care physicians and specialists, pathologists and other laboratory testing employees, as well as the companies and entities that employ them.

Determining Negligence

In order to determine medical negligence, the court will examine the doctor’s behavior in comparison to the industry’s standard of care. The standard of care is the expected medical treatment that a patient would receive from any qualified, competent medical professional in that particular field. During a cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit, the court will compare the actions of the doctor in question to the actions that would have been taken by a doctor with similar expertise, knowledge, and experience.

Damages and Compensation

Cancer patients who win cancer lawsuits are awarded certain types of damages. Lawsuit damages are primarily classified as economic, non-economic, and punitive. Economic damages aim to compensate victims for financial loss, which may include medical bills and wages lost due to missed work. Non-economic damages measure harm that cannot be quantified, such as loss of overall quality of life. Punitive damages are used to “punish” the defendant for harmful actions and act as a deterrent for other medical professionals.

Cancer lawsuit plaintiffs may receive compensation for other damages such as:

  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium, or loss of a spouse
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Loss or impairment of physical or mental capacity
  • Costs of past, current, and projected future medical bills

Other Types of Cancer Litigation

While cancer misdiagnosis cases focus on a lack of proper cancer treatment, several types of cancer lawsuits focus on the cause of the patient’s cancer. These cancer lawsuits include cases where patients allege that another party was directly responsible for the development of cancer. Defending parties, or parties being sued, may include manufacturers and employers.

Manufacturer Cancer Litigation

Cancer litigation may involve manufacturers of certain products or processes that are believed to cause cancer. These cases often occur on behalf of large numbers of cancer victims, such as a class action or mass tort. These types of cancer litigation involve a large group of individuals filing similar lawsuits against the same party. For example, mass cancer litigation may involve hundreds of bladder cancer patients who are suing a particular pharmaceutical company for manufacturing a cancer-causing drug.

Employer Cancer Litigation

Cancer litigation may occur against other parties which are believed to be responsible for a patient’s cancer development, such as an employer. This can be seen in an instance where a lung cancer patient files a cancer lawsuit against an employer or company for work conditions that exposed the patient to asbestos. Asbestos is strongly associated with lung cancer development.

Cancer Litigation Legal Help

Cancer litigation is a complex and challenging process that can be especially stressful for patients who already face significant health issues. Cancer patients or family members who believe that the condition was worsened due to the negligence of a medical professional should speak with an experienced cancer misdiagnosis lawyer as soon as possible. A cancer lawyer can help answer questions and determine if there is a cancer litigation opportunity. If a cancer lawsuit is filed, the cancer lawyer will navigate the legal process and work to collect and provide courts with the information necessary for a successful case.




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Lutz, Sharon S. “Breast cancer litigation: when is the physician liable?” Trial Dec. 1995: 46+. Academic OneFile. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.