Visitor Question

Failure to Properly Diagnose a Knee Injury…

Submitted By: Sarah (California)

I slipped in my backyard two years ago in the winter time. I went to the doctor, had X-rays done and we thought it was just a sprain. Well I kept having pain in my knee and kept complaining. More X-rays were taken and the doctor thought it was just arthritis.

This continued on for another year. I changed doctors and the new doctor sent me to an orthopedic doctor who did a CT scan of my knee. I ended up needing surgery because my meniscus was torn and my ACL was split in two.

Can I sue the first doctor for failing to diagnose my injuries and letting me live with pain for over a year? Can I sue the people I rent from for this injury? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Sarah,

If your diagnosis by the first doctor was made more than 2 years ago you probably do not have the grounds for a lawsuit. In California there is a 2 years Statute of Limitations for the filing of a lawsuit. A Statute of Limitations is a time period in which the law allows a person to either settle their case or file a lawsuit. Outside of that 2 year period a person loses their right to file a lawsuit against a person or entity which caused their injuries.

The next hurdle you will have to overcome is whether the first doctor acted reasonably in his diagnosis of your injuries. Reasonableness might include whether he relied upon a radiologist to read your x-rays of the results of your MRI.

If your injuries occurred on your landlord’s property, and the injuries occurred within two years, you may have a claim against the homeowner. Ask your landlord for the name of their homeowners insurance. Contact the insurance company and file a claim. Once the claim is filed you should be contacted by an insurance company Claims Adjuster. She will take your recorded statement. From there she should monitor your recovery and treatment and should pay for those costs.

The problem may be getting your landlord to cooperate by giving you the name of their homeowner’s insurance company. If they will not cooperate you may have to consider legal action. If that need arises, you may have to consult with a qualified personal injury attorney. Most will not charge for an initial office consultation.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: October 11, 2011

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