Loss of Chance Doctrine

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
Posts: 1511
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:41 pm

Loss of Chance Doctrine

Postby sparty99 » Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:47 pm

If I was mis-diagnosed with cancer and had a 60% chance of living and now it is 20%, but I'm still alive, can I recover damages under the loss of chance doctrine?

User avatar
Posts: 3469
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:50 pm

Re: Loss of Chance Doctrine

Postby cinephile » Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:56 pm

I don't think so, because nothing the doctor did actually limited your chance of survival, it was just a misdiagnosis (unless diagnosing late limited chance of survival).

Posts: 57
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 1:25 am

Re: Loss of Chance Doctrine

Postby thereelshaq » Thu Dec 08, 2011 9:09 pm

you need to die in order to invoke the loss-of-chance doctrine; courts don’t deal with chances that decrease but are not eliminated.

User avatar
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:03 am

Re: Loss of Chance Doctrine

Postby helloscriptkitti » Thu Dec 08, 2011 9:23 pm

According to Herskovits v. Group Health, P has to prove that the misdiagnosis caused the decreased probability of survival, based on a "more probable than not" standard. If so, then the reduced chance of survival is actionable. It doesn't specifically say that P has to die, although in this case P happened to die. The evidence that went to the jury was the fact that there was 14% reduction in the chance of survival, not the fact that P died (although I'm sure they considered it).

User avatar
Posts: 12733
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:20 pm

Re: Loss of Chance Doctrine

Postby ilovesf » Thu Dec 08, 2011 9:41 pm

I just read this in the e&e - if you have it check out page 222 and page 235. It says that theoretically, it should be allowed because the loss of a chance of survival is actually about incurring the risk, not the disease. However, few courts are actually likely to apply loss of a chance of survival if the person is alive. It also brings up the point that if you apply loss of a chance while the person is still alive, if the disease does occur and P dies, a second suit will be barred by res judicata.

Return to “Ask a Law Student / Graduate”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: nasphill and 5 guests