Welcome to our guide about medical negligence compensation claims. These are claims for compensation that you could make against a GP, a hospital, or a private healthcare facility. They are made when a patient has been impacted by substandard healthcare treatment. Medical misdiagnosis compensation claims are one of the types of compensation claims that can be made.
Getting a diagnosis right, and as early as possible, is crucial to getting proper treatment. Without a proper diagnosis, the recovery from an injury or illness could be delayed at best, causing unnecessary pain, discomfort, and disruption. In more severe cases a misdiagnosis could lead to your condition becoming permanent. The wrong treatment or the absence of any treatment could lead to a worsening condition, a permanent health condition, or even death.
If you have been impacted by a misdiagnosis you might wish to find out more about your eligibility to make a compensation claim. You can find out about this by reading this page. You can also find out more by getting in contact with our team of advisors. The contact details are listed below.
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- What Is A Medical Misdiagnosis Claim?
- What Duty Of Care Are Patients Owed?
- Causes Of Medical Misdiagnosis
- Types Of Misdiagnoses
- Wrongful Diagnosis Negligence
- Missed Diagnosis Negligence
- Negligent Delays In Diagnosis
- Medical Misdiagnosis Claims Against The NHS
- Medical Misdiagnosis Claims Against Private Healthcare Services
- Is There A Time Limit On Medical Misdiagnosis Claims
- Medical Misdiagnosis Claims Compensation Calculator
- No Win No Fee Medical Misdiagnosis Claims
- How Could We Help?
- Statistics On Rates Of Misdiagnosis
- Read These Guides Next
- Medical Misdiagnosis FAQs
A third party can be held liable when someone under a duty of care is harmed because of negligence. When a doctor or nurse agrees to treat you they instantly owe you a duty of care. If substandard medical care has resulted in a patient’s health being harmed then the doctor or health provider responsible could be held to account through a medical negligence compensation claim.
A medical negligence compensation claim is when a claimant pursues a case for damages against a medical professional or trust for avoidable harm suffered through a breach in the duty of care.
One example of substandard medical care is when a doctor fails to listen correctly to your symptoms or fails to examine you and provides a diagnosis that is not correct. Misdiagnosis can happen even when a doctor has adhered to their professional standards and had provided the correct standard of care. In these cases, this would not be classed as medical negligence. However, negligent misdiagnosis can lead to medical negligence when the doctor provides a poor standard of care that leads to a missed diagnosis.
If your health is worsened due to a negligent misdiagnosis you could be entitled to make a medical misdiagnosis claim. If you can provide proof that the professional standards and procedures expected of healthcare providers were not met, and that this failure contributed to an impact on your health, you could be entitled to make a compensation claim.
When a patient is being seen or treated by a doctor or admitted to a hospital they come under a duty of care by the doctor. This means that they are responsible for your health as much as possible. If anything happens to you that could have been reasonably prevented they could be liable.
The General Medical Council outlines the duty of care owed by doctors to their patients in more detail. A doctor must:
- Provide a good standard of practice and care. Their knowledge, skills, and qualifications must be kept up to date.
- Take swift action if they think the well-being of the patient is in danger
- Work with and communicate with their patients
- Treat their patients as equals, with dignity and respect
- Be honest with their patients
- Never discriminate against their patients
- Never abuse a patient’s trust.
Medical misdiagnosis can occur for several different reasons which could potentially constitute medical negligence. Some examples of this can include:
- Misinterpreting test or scan results
- Lack of expertise or experience
- Carrying out the wrong tests
- Lack of supervision of junior doctors
- Not investigating symptoms thoroughly enough
- Not listening to patient symptoms
- Failing to examine a patient
- Not referring a patient for tests when showing clear signs of a serious illness
All different kinds of illnesses and injuries could be misdiagnosed when medical negligence occurs, the following is just a brief list of examples:
- Cancer misdiagnosis
- Internal bleeding misdiagnosis
- Meningitis misdiagnosis
- Head injuries misdiagnosis
- Internal organ injury misdiagnosis
- Heart conditions misdiagnosis
- Broken or fractured bone misdiagnosis
- Delayed diagnosis of injuries
Sometimes an injury or an illness can be diagnosed correctly, but with a delay that causes the patient to experience unnecessary pain, disability, and recovery times due to a lack of treatment. This can sometimes cause death or permanent disability. If a diagnosis is delayed beyond the amount of time it should reasonably be expected to be made in, or if it occurs because of negligence, you could be entitled to make a compensation claim.
Let’s start looking at some of the different types of misdiagnosis and how they can occur. The first example to look at is a wrongful diagnosis. A wrongful diagnosis is an incorrect diagnosis. An incorrect diagnosis is when a doctor diagnoses an illness or an injury as something different to what it is. While a patient may receive treatment in a situation like this, it is likely to be treatment that is inappropriate for the patient’s needs. Inappropriate treatment is likely to either exacerbate the patient’s condition or leave it untreated. Misdiagnosis in the event of an emergency condition or life-threatening situation can put the patient’s life at risk.
Please note that all misdiagnoses are not a result of negligence. A valid case for medical negligence misdiagnosis would see the claimant being able to prove that that doctor was negligent in the treatment which led to an incorrect, late or wrongful diagnosis.
A missed diagnosis is when the doctor misses the significance of a patient’s symptoms altogether and fails to make any diagnosis at all. By missing an illness or an injury the doctor causes the patient to lose out on any treatment altogether. As with any other misdiagnosis, this puts the patient at risk of a prolonged period of recovery at best, and the risk of death or disability at worst. In some cases, a missed diagnosis can cause additional distress for the patient if they feel that their symptoms and pain are being disregarded or ignored by a doctor.
Missed fracture diagnosis
Now let’s look at some specific examples of how medical negligence can lead to misdiagnosis. One example is missing a bone fracture because of failing to recognise the symptoms of a fractured bone. Fractures can often manifest symptoms that are visible to the naked eye. These include swelling and deformity alongside the pain experienced by the victim. Even small or hairline fractures should be visible on an x-ray, a CT scan, or an MRI scan, at least to the extent that they are visible to a trained doctor.
Not spotting and correctly diagnosing a fracture leaves a patient exposed to the risk of prolonged pain and discomfort. As well as the risk of the fracture not healing properly, leaving the patient with long-term pain and disability. Find out more about bone fracture misdiagnosis on our dedicated guide.
Missed cancer diagnosis
A missed cancer diagnosis is another example of a misdiagnosis that could have very serious consequences. Cancer is one of the most common causes of death in the UK. It is reasonable to expect a doctor to be fully alert to the signs and the symptoms. A doctor should immediately refer you to the relevant specialists and scans when they suspect they might have spotted the symptoms of cancer.
Failure to diagnose cancer is potentially life-threatening to the patient. Any delay in providing treatment could prove fatal. Even in a best-case scenario delays in treating a patient could cause an unnecessarily prolonged, invasive, and painful treatment later on. We have a dedicated guide to making cancer misdiagnosis compensation claims.
A delay in a diagnosis is sometimes just as severe and harmful as a missed diagnosis or an incorrect diagnosis. It can delay treatment, causing the patient to experience avoidable pain and discomfort. It also allows the injury or illness time to worsen. Depending on the circumstances this could mean either life-threatening or permanent effects from an injury.
The NHS is a highly respected institution that nearly all of us will come to depend on at some point in our lives. But it is not totally infallible. Medical negligence could occur in the NHS, as it could with any private facility. If you need more information on medical negligence claim against the NHS, you can find more about it on the page linked here.
Private medical providers have the same obligations to their patients as the NHS. If their medical care falls below an acceptable standard and the patient is harmed as a result, they could be liable. To claim against a private medical healthcare service, call our team to get started.
It is important to try and make your claim as soon as possible. Under the Limitation Act 1980 there are time limits to making compensation claims. Different types of compensation claims have different time limits. For medical negligence claims the time limit is three years from the time of the medical negligence. However, there are situations where exceptions could be made.
- Claiming on behalf of someone under the age of 18. A parent, a legal guardian, or a litigation friend can make a claim on behalf of a child until they are an adult. When a child turns 18 they could start their own claim within a three-year time limit until their 21st birthday.
- If the claimant was unable to make the claim on their own behalf for a given period of time due to not having the capacity to do so under the Mental Capacity Act 2005
Getting the right amount of compensation is crucial. Winning compensation is about getting your life back on track as soon as possible following an avoidable illness or preventable injury.
Let’s go into some of the factors that are used to work out the amount of compensation you are entitled to and what you need to do to prove in order to get it. A compensation payout is made up of two parts.
- General damages
The portion of the compensation that is awarded over the effects of the injury itself is known as general damages. This sum will depend on the severity of the illness or injury. Things like the amount of pain you have experienced, the amount of time you have spent recovering, and the extent of any lingering disabilities. To help work out how much general damages are worth, solicitors can refer to the Judicial College Guidelines. The figures in the guidelines are displayed in the compensation table below.
|Female Reproductive System||Infertility that resulting from a failure to diagnose ectopic pregnancy - upper end of the bracket will tend to be awarded to those with significant medical complications||£31,950 to £95,850|
|Female Reproductive System||Infertility caused by malpractice where the claimant already has children and there is no medical complication - the higher amounts tend to be awarded to those with significant psychological damage||£16,860 to £34,480|
|Female Reproductive System||Infertility where the injured person would not have had children anyway (due to age, for example)||£6,190 to £11,820|
|Female Reproductive System||Unwanted pregnancy caused by a failed sterilisation procedure - no serious psychological impact||In the region of £9,570|
|Female Reproductive System||Delay in diagnosing ectopic pregnancy but with no effect to fertility - upper end of bracket depends on pain and/or anxiety caused||£3,180 to £19,170|
|Digestive system||Severe damage||£40,370 to £58,100|
|Bowels||Severe abdominal injury causing impairment of function||£41,850 to £65,440|
|Illness||Varying degrees of pain, cramps and diarrhoea caused by medication - continuing for days or weeks||£860 to £3,710|
- Special damages
In order to fairly compensate you for a negligent misdiagnosis the compensation also has to include a payout for the financial impact of the avoidable suffering. The health problems associated with a misdiagnosis can cause you to take time off work, accrue medical bills, and force you to cancel plans among other things. If you can provide proof of these losses, you could claim them back in compensation. Proof of financial losses can be provided through the paperwork attached to them. This includes receipts, invoices, contracts, tickets, and so on.
If you have been affected by a negligent medical misdiagnosis then you may be looking at making a claim for compensation. Medical negligence claims can be very complex and although by law you are not required to have a solicitor support your case they can bring many benefits. No Win No FeeSolicitors realise that not every claimant has the funds to be able to pay upfront or hourly fees. That is why they provide a service which means unless the claim is successful the claimant pays no fees to them.
You would sign a Conditional Fee Agreement along with your No Win No Fee medical negligence solicitor. The agreement will state that if the case is won a percentage of the compensation will be taken by the solicitor to cover their fees. You also won’t have to pay legal fees to your lawyer if the claim is rejected. With a No Win No Fee agreement, the lawyers’ payment is a success fee that comes out of the claimants’ compensation sum.
Call our team of medical negligence claim advisors today. Through a consultation that is free, they can assess the likelihood of your case being awarded compensation. If you are eligible for compensation and your case has a good chance of success they can connect you with a medical negligence solicitor. If your case is accepted by the solicitor they will be funded through a No Win No Fee agreement.
15,550 claims against the NHS were resolved in 2019/20 according to the NHS litigation department, NHS Resolution. This does not refer to the number of cases of medical negligence that occurred in that year, just to the number of cases that were concluded in that year. Only 0.6% of these cases were settled after a trial, and 71.5% were settled without court proceedings. 11,682 new cases were recorded in that year.
£2.3 billion was spent by the NHS on settling claims in 2019/20. A small reduction on the previous year. Although there was an increase of 1% in the number of claims brought forward on the previous year. Maternity treatment complaints account for 50% of the value. With a disproportionate amount of damages and settlements going towards these claims. This is consistent with previous years.
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Can you sue for an incorrect diagnosis?
If you can prove that medical negligence has taken place that has resulted in misdiagnosis and that the misdiagnosis has subsequently caused your health to worsen you could be entitled to sue for an incorrect diagnosis. You could sue for aggravation of your illness or injury, or for preventable pain and discomfort caused by the misdiagnosis.
How do you prove misdiagnosis?
In order to prove a medical misdiagnosis, you need two things. One is proof that the original diagnosis you received was misdiagnoses, two is that the incorrect misdiagnosis occurred because of medical negligence
What is considered a misdiagnosis?
A misdiagnosis is any situation in which the diagnosis given to a patient is incorrect. A misdiagnosis could be a diagnosis that is incorrect or a diagnosis that is delayed.
Could you claim for an injured child?
If you are the parent or guardian of a child (someone under the age of 18) you could be eligible to make a compensation claim on their behalf. You can claim on their behalf at any point until they turn 18. Once the child is 18 they gain the legal right to make a claim on their own behalf.
Guide by Jack
Edited by LisM.