Washington State Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawyer

Did a doctor miss your cancer diagnosis or diagnose you or a loved one with the wrong type of cancer? Were you or a loved one administered cancer treatment only to find out you didn’t have cancer? 

These three types of misdiagnoses – failed diagnosis, incorrect diagnosis, or an incorrect diagnosis with unnecessary treatment – may constitute medical malpractice under Washington State law.

If you believe you’ve been harmed because a doctor failed to detect cancer promptly or because you were misdiagnosed, a cancer misdiagnosis lawyer at Park Chenaur Personal Injury may be able to help you recover significant monetary compensation.

Average Payout for Cancer Misdiagnosis

By one estimate, the national average payout for a cancer misdiagnosis case is approximately $2.2 million. Amounts vary widely according to the state in which the case was brought, and the type or severity of the cancer involved. 

In Washington State from 2018 to 2022, the average malpractice settlement for “misdiagnosis or wrong diagnosis” was approximately $752,000. The average settlement during the same period for a “failure to diagnose” was approximately $578,000.

While the data does not break out cancer cases from the rest of these misdiagnosis cases, it is generally accepted that the severity and permanence of injury in cancer cases place them at the upper end of malpractice settlement amounts. 

Frequency of Cancer Misdiagnosis

Cancer misdiagnosis within outpatient care is not uncommon. According to a 2019 study conducted on behalf of the American Hospital Association, nearly half of all primary care diagnostic errors involved cancer. These missed diagnoses were due to delays in testing, mistakes in reading results, or delays in making a referral.

Even more alarming is data presented in a 2023 medical journal study demonstrating that of the 1.5 million incidents of cancer in the U.S. each year, serious patient harm or death from a cancer misdiagnosis affects approximately 66,000 patients –– a rate of more than 180 Americans a day.

The study demonstrates that the likelihood of receiving a cancer misdiagnosis is slightly greater than 11% – itself a shocking number. Patients receiving a misdiagnosis, however, have a 4 in 10 chance for that misdiagnosis to result in injury or death. 

If you believe there has been a cancer misdiagnosis leading to patient harm,  it’s critical you contact a cancer misdiagnosis lawyer who can explain your rights as a patient and your options for compensation.


Can You Sue for Misdiagnosis of Cancer

Yes, if a doctor, through negligent care, fails to diagnose cancer or diagnoses the wrong cancer, that doctor can be sued for medical malpractice.

In order to prove medical malpractice, the victim of a cancer misdiagnosis must prove:

  1. A doctor-patient relationship existed at the time of the misdiagnosis. This is a straightforward but necessary requirement easily established in the vast majority of cases.
  2. The doctor failed to conform to standard of care guidelines. Proving that the doctor failed to provide standard care or failed to make a diagnosis that a reasonably prudent doctor would have made requires professional legal assistance from cancer misdiagnosis lawyers.
  3. The patient was harmed or injured as a direct consequence of the doctor’s misdiagnosis or a  failure to diagnose. A lawyer must prove that because of a doctor’s actions or inactions, the patient’s cancer was made less treatable and the prognosis for recovery was seriously harmed. 

A recent example of a malpractice settlement occurred in January of 2024. A Washington State woman was awarded $9.9 million to settle a lawsuit in which her lawyers proved her cervical cancer grew terminal after doctors failed to diagnose and treat the disease. It was demonstrated that despite worrisome test results in April of 2019 that showed possible signs of cancer, the woman’s doctors did not inform her of the results despite treatment recommendations from a radiologist.

Causes of cancer misdiagnosis or delays in cancer treatment

The most frequently misdiagnosed cancer is lung cancer, followed by breast, colorectal, lymphoma, melanoma, and mesothelioma cancers. Misdiagnosis or delay in treatment of these frequently misdiagnosed cancers can occur due to: 

  • Errors made in the testing process such as mishandling samples.
  • Errors made in reading or interpreting test results
  • Failure to screen at-risk patients
  • Failure to follow-up on test results
  • Failure to refer a patient to a specialist
  • Failure to contact the patient with test results

If you believe you or someone you love was harmed due to misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, failed diagnosis, or a delay in treatment contact a cancer diagnosis lawyer at Park Chanaur Personal Injury. 

We offer no-cost, no-obligation consultations. In fact, there’s no fee unless we win your case. 

CALL US TODAY AT 253-242-9578.  .


  1. What is the Average Payout for Cancer Misdiagnosis in The US, https://justpoint.com/knowledge-base/what-is-the-average-payout-for-cancer-misdiagnosis-in-the-us/
  2. Office of the Insurance Commissioners of Washington State, 2023 Medical Malpractice Annual Reports, https://www.insurance.wa.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2023-med-mal-report.pdf
  3. Aaronson EL, Quinn GR, Wong CI, et al. Missed diagnosis of cancer in primary care: Insights from malpractice claims data. J Healthc Risk Manag. 2019;39(2):19-29. doi:10.1002/jhrm.21385
  4. Newman-Toker DE, Nassery N, Schaffer AC, et alBurden of serious harms from diagnostic error in the USA BMJ Quality & Safety 2024;33:109-120.
  5. WA pays $9.9 million to woman who got terminal cancer in prison, Seattle Times, January, 2024.https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/wa-pays-9-9-million-to-woman-who-got-terminal-cancer-in-prison/

Park Chenaur- Federal Way Office

2505 S 320th Suite 100

Federal Way, WA 98003

Phone: 253-839-9440