Tennessee Medical Malpractice | Cancer Misdiagnosis

At the Nashville, Tennesse medical malpractice and personal injury law firm of David Randolph Smith & Associates we have handled a significant number of cases involving cancer patients whose disease was misdiagnosed or untimely diagnosed. Early diagnosis of most forms of cancer is critical to long-term survival. David Randolph Smith is one of the few attorneys in Tennessee who is certified by the state bar as both a Civil Trial Specialist and Medical Malpractice Specialist.

If a doctor ignored or missed the symptoms of early stage cancer, they probably failed to do a blood test, X-ray, pap smear or CT scan that might have prevented a missed diagnosis. Even if these tests were run, it is possible that the doctor or radiologist is responsible for failure to diagnose cancer. Many types of cancer including breast, prostate, cervical, lung, ovarian, brain, kidney, skin cancer (melanoma), throat cancer, pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, lymphoma or Hodgkin’s disease can be diagnosed in their early stages if a doctor or oncologist is alert.

Our firm has tried (and settled) a significant number of cancer cases that have resulted in million and multi-million dollar settlements — often with structured settlements and special needs trusts to ensure that Medicaid and Social Security benefits remain in place.

David Randolph Smith of Nashville, Tennessee is one of only ten attorneys in the State of Tennessee certified as a Medical Malpractice Specialist by the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization. There are over 13,000 attorneys in Tennessee.


The firm has handled a number of landmark Tennessee Supreme Court medical malpractice cases cases for the plaintiff including:

Jordan v. Baptist Three Rivers Hospital, 984 S.W.2d 593 (Tenn. 1999) which changed 100 years of Tennessee wrongful death law by recognizing the right to recover damages for the loss of the deceased’s love, affection, companionship and consortium;

Ashe v. Radiation Oncology Associates, 9 S.W. 3d 119 (Tenn. 1999) establishing causation standard in medical malpractice informed consent cases;

Foley v. St. Thomas Hosp., 906 SW2d 448, 453 (Tenn. 1995) establishing rights of next of kin in autopsy cases;

The firm successfully clarified the law on qualification of medical experts under Tennessee’s medical malpractice locality rule in Travis v. Ferraraccio (Tenn. Ct. App., Sept. 19, 2005).

The firm has obtained millions of dollars in settlements and judgments in medical malpractice cases in Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri and Louisiana.

Medical malpractice actions can be brought by the injured patient against any responsible licensed health care provider, including doctors, counselors, psychologists and psychotherapists.


Cancer Diagnostic Rules

Limits on Malpractice Damages

Tennessee does not limit damages in medical malpractice cases.

Collateral Source Rule

Under a traditional collateral source rule, a defendant may not seek to reduce its liability by introducing evidence that the plaintiff has received compensation from other sources, such as the plaintiff’s own insurance coverage. In Tennessee there is a mandatory offset, except for private insurance or for assets purchased by the plaintiff.

Rules for Expert Witnesses

Expert witnesses must be licensed in Tennessee or in a contiguous state, and must have been in practice for at least one year prior to the date of the plaintiff’s injury.

Statute of Limitations

Under Tennessee law, medical malpractice actions must be commenced within one year of the date of the injury or discovery of injury but in no event more than three years from the date of the accident or occurrence (except in the case of foreign objects or fraudulent concealment).

Limits on Attorney Fees

Contingent attorney fees are limited to 1/3 of the recovery.

Additional Rules

Tennessee law provides for voluntary arbitration.

Why Use a Malpractice Lawyer

Medical malpractice law is a highly technical field of law, and malpractice lawsuits tend to be fiercely defended by well-funded defense firms. Medical malpractice lawsuits can be exceptionally expensive to pursue, with costs often exceeding $50,000.00. Due to the technical skills involved in prosecuting a malpractice claim, the possibility that an inexperienced lawyer may not be sufficiently conversant with the medical issues, or might make a technical error which causes a case to be lost or dismissed, and the very high costs the malpractice law firm typically must advance, an injured patient is very well served by going with a specialist firm.

Call (615) 742-1775 for legal advice on diagnosis errors or click here for a free and confidential case review.