Legal Steps to Take After a Cancer Misdiagnosis

Cancer is a word that no one wants to hear from their doctor. However, what could be equally devastating is learning that you were wrongly diagnosed—either not diagnosed when you actually have cancer or diagnosed with cancer when you don’t have it. Both scenarios can lead to significant physical, emotional, and financial suffering. If you are a resident of South Carolina facing such a predicament, here are some important legal steps to help guide you through this challenging time.

Step 1: Obtain a Second Opinion

Before diving into any legal process, it’s crucial to get a second medical opinion. This serves as independent verification of your condition, which can be critical evidence if you proceed with a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Step 2: Collect All Medical Records

Obtain all medical records related to your case, including consultations, diagnosis, treatments, lab tests, and medical imaging. South Carolina law permits patients to access their medical records, and having a comprehensive file can serve as crucial evidence in your case.

Step 3: Document Interactions and Symptoms

Keep a detailed diary that records all interactions with healthcare professionals related to your misdiagnosis. Also, document any symptoms you experience and how they impact your daily life. This can help your legal counsel build a stronger case for you.

Step 4: Consult an Experienced Attorney

South Carolina law allows victims of medical malpractice, including cancer misdiagnosis, to file lawsuits to recover damages. However, medical malpractice law is complex and requires specialized knowledge. Seek out an attorney with experience in this area to evaluate the merit of your case. A skilled attorney can guide you on how to proceed, which experts to consult, and what damages you may be eligible to claim.

Step 5: File a Notice of Intent to Sue

Before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in South Carolina, you must give the healthcare provider in question a Notice of Intent to Sue. This notice should be sent at least 60 days before filing the lawsuit and should be accompanied by an affidavit from an expert witness, stating that your claim has merit.

Step 6: Initiating the Lawsuit

After the Notice period has passed and if a settlement hasn’t been reached, your attorney can help you file a formal lawsuit. South Carolina has a statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases, which is generally three years from the date of the misdiagnosis or from the date you should reasonably have discovered it.

Step 7: Prepare for Litigation or Settlement

Your attorney will help you prepare your case, which may include deposition, discovery, and consultation with expert witnesses. While some cases may go to trial, many are settled out of court. Your attorney will negotiate on your behalf to seek a settlement that fairly compensates you for your damages.


Cancer misdiagnosis can have life-altering implications. While navigating the healthcare system is important, understanding your legal rights and responsibilities can also be critical. Taking the proper legal steps can help ensure that you receive the justice and compensation you deserve.