If you have health concerns, the obvious thing to do is to seek advice from a medical professional. Whether that’s at a GP surgery, a hospital, a dental surgery or elsewhere, your condition will often be diagnosed and treated to resolve the issue. However, if a medical misdiagnosis happens your underlying problem could worsen and you could suffer unnecessarily as a result.
If you or a family member/loved one has suffered because of a misdiagnosis, we could help you begin a medical negligence claim. Our team will review your case for free and explain your legal options. If there’s a case to be answered, we could ask a medical negligence solicitor on our panel to consider taking you on as a client on a No Win, No Fee basis.
Would you like to discuss a medical misdiagnosis claim with us right away? If so, please contact us on 0800 652 1345. To get a good idea about what’s involved before calling, please read on.
What is medical misdiagnosis?
Medical misdiagnosis claims are a type of medical negligence compensation claim. A claim may be possible if a medical professional’s negligence led to your condition being diagnosed late or incorrectly and you suffered as a result.
Some examples of misdiagnosis that might entitle you to compensation if they caused you to suffer because of their negligence include:
- Cancer misdiagnosis (including colon, bowel, breast cancer and skin cancers).
- Fractured or broken bone misdiagnosis.
- Internal bleeding misdiagnosis.
- Diabetes misdiagnosis.
- Injured internal organ misdiagnosis.
- Meningitis misdiagnosis.
- Sepsis misdiagnosis.
- Concussion or brain damage misdiagnosis.
- Heart condition misdiagnosis.
Misdiagnosing any of the health conditions listed above could mean your illness or injury worsens and you suffer as a result. In more serious cases, your condition may become untreatable as a result of the misdiagnosis.
How can a misdiagnosis happen?
There are many different reasons why the misdiagnosis of various medical conditions continues to this day despite improvements in medical technology. These include:
- A simple failure on behalf of healthcare professionals to investigate the symptoms of a potentially serious illness.
- GP negligence in an array of different forms.
- An inability of doctors to carry out the correct test/s which would rule out various conditions and lead to the correct diagnosis.
- Inadequate levels of expertise in various areas of the medical world have also led to a number of misdiagnosis compensation claims.
- Training and supervision issues often involving junior members of staff.
- The misreading of test results such as x-rays, MRI scans, CT scans, smears, biopsies and highly invasive tissue removal for further investigation.
In the world of medicine, all medical practitioners have a duty of care to their patients. This duty of care is measured against what decisions and actions other medical professionals would have taken in similar circumstances.
Can I claim compensation for medical misdiagnosis?
The criteria for claiming compensation for medical misdiagnosis differ somewhat from personal injury claims. To be eligible to claim compensation, you’ll need to show there was:
- A breach of duty (negligence). Where the medical professional treated you in a substandard manner or failed to use the correct procedures.
- Causation. In addition, you must be able to prove that your suffering was caused as a direct result of the negligence.
Both of the above must be proven if you are to make a successful medical misdiagnosis claim. If you can not prove causation in your case, you would not be compensated even if the medical professional was found to have acted negligently. This is one of the main reasons we’d suggest having a professional medical negligence lawyer on your side.
Importantly, misdiagnosis claims can be made against the NHS as well as private medical care providers. While the NHS itself is a self-insuring body, which effectively means that all successful misdiagnosis compensation claims are paid out of the central budget, general practitioners and consultants will have their own individual insurance cover. This ensures that whichever body is found to be negligent and liable for paying compensation, will have the means available to cover any settlements.
We’re here to help if you believe you’ve got grounds to claim so please call today to find out more.
Types of misdiagnosis
Let’s now look at three different types of medical misdiagnosis that could lead to a compensation claim:
- Missed diagnosis. This is when the medical professional fails to spot that your symptoms match those of a known illness or disease. As such, you will not be treated and your condition may well worsen.
- Wrongful diagnosis. Here, your condition will be diagnosed as something other than the actual illness you’re suffering from. One problem that can arise in this scenario is unnecessary treatment. For example, you may have a tooth removed unnecessarily if a dentist wrongly diagnoses decay.
- Delayed diagnosis. In some cases, even though you’ve sought advice on a number of occasions, your condition might not be diagnosed correctly until symptoms reach an advanced stage. As a result, things can get a lot worse and may mean you need more aggressive treatment. For example, delayed diagnosis of breast cancer may mean a mastectomy may be required rather than being treated by chemotherapy.
As mentioned above, there may be situations where a delayed diagnosis or even a misdiagnosis would have had no material impact on a specific medical condition. So while negligence may well have been proven, the fact that this medical negligence had no impact on the illness or a person’s life expectancy may result in no compensation being awarded. As ever, each misdiagnosis claim will be considered on its own merits.
If you would like to claim compensation for medical misdiagnosis, please contact our team for free advice on doing so.
Providing proof of medical misdiagnosis
If you decide to have a medical negligence solicitor on our panel represent you, they’ll help to gather proof to support your medical misdiagnosis claim. Initially, they’ll discuss your treatment with you and anybody else who was with you during your treatment. Then they’ll request copies of your medical records from the medical facility that treated you.
Additionally, an independent medical assessment will be needed to help establish the extent of your suffering. This will usually be carried out locally by an independent medical expert.
During your meeting, your suffering will be discussed and you’ll be examined. Once the meeting has ended, a report that outlines your injuries and your prognosis will be made available to all those involved in your claim.
The important part of the claims process is using the evidence to prove that your medical condition was misdiagnosed and that your suffering was caused as a result. As such, your solicitor may call upon independent specialists to help clarify what went wrong.
How much compensation for misdiagnosis can I claim?
There are two specific types of compensation in misdiagnosis claims and are referred to as general damages and special damages. The various elements covered in general damages include financial compensation for:
- The claimant’s pain and suffering due to the misdiagnosis.
- Compensation for loss of amenity.
- Life-changing injuries.
- Psychological injuries such as PTSD claims.
Special damages relate purely and simply to financial recompense for expenses directly due to the misdiagnosis, pain and suffering. They can also take into account future funding requirements including elements such as:
- Earnings lost due to the misdiagnosis.
- Future loss of earnings.
- Alterations/adaptions needed to the home.
- Medical-related expenses.
- Future medical expenses.
- Additional transportation expenses.
If you’d like to check if you could start a medical misdiagnosis claim, please contact our team on 0800 652 1345 today.
Time limits for medical misdiagnosis claims
In the UK, there is a 3-year time limit for medical misdiagnosis claims. This will begin from either:
- The date when your misdiagnosis took place; or (more likely)
- The date your condition was properly diagnosed and the misdiagnosis was spotted.
Our advice is to start a claim as soon as possible so you don’t miss out on the compensation you might be entitled to. An early start can make it much easier to collect proof to support your claim and you’ll probably find it easier to recall how you’ve been affected while it’s still fresh in your mind.
Claiming compensation for medical misdiagnosis on behalf of somebody else
If a family member/loved one is suffering so much from the effects of misdiagnosis that they can’t make a claim themselves, we could help you to claim on their behalf. Using the litigation friend process, we could work with you to seek damages on their behalf.
Where misdiagnosis has led to the death of a loved one, we could also help you claim. In this scenario, spouses or parents could claim a bereavement payment and financial dependants could also make a claim. Compensation may also be sought to help with any immediate financial costs such as funeral expenses.
To discuss how we can help, please speak to our team today. Your call will be dealt with compassionately and we’ll work at a pace that suits you.
How a medical negligence solicitor could help to claim compensation for misdiagnosis
Proving medical negligence can be complicated and need complex supporting proof. Whether your claim is handled by NHS resolution or a private healthcare provider’s insurers, you’ll need to demonstrate both negligence and causation. If you can’t you might not be compensated for your suffering.
We would suggest that you let a specialist solicitor handle everything for you to make the claims process easier. If your case is accepted your solicitor will:
- Discuss your case in detail to make sure everything’s clear about how you’ve suffered.
- Collect supporting evidence.
- File the claim with the defendant.
- Negotiate and answer any questions on your behalf.
- Provide updates regularly.
- Try to secure the maximum amount of compensation possible.
If necessary, they will also ask the defendant to cover the cost of private medical care if it will help you recover sooner or reduce your symptoms. This may be possible if liability for your suffering has already been agreed upon.
We are ready to help you today so please do get in touch. You can call us on 0800 652 1345 for free claims advice. If your case is accepted, we’ll put you in touch with a medical negligence solicitor as soon as possible.
If you have any further questions about medical misdiagnosis claims, please call or connect to live chat to talk to an advisor.