Advice On Medical Misdiagnosis Negligence Compensation Claims

By Stephen Lambert. Last Updated 4th June 2024. Receiving the wrong treatment for an injury or illness can have a significant impact on our health. However, sometimes the issues begin at the diagnosis stage, and in this guide, we explore the process of making a misdiagnosis negligence compensation claim.

Below, we look at how much compensation could be awarded for a misdiagnosis. We explore the criteria for making a claim, and how to prove liability.

If you’d rather speak with us now about making a medical negligence claim then we can help with that too. Our helpline is open 24 hours a day. We offer a free consultation and advice on your options.

You can reach us by using:

two doctors discussing a medical misdiagnosis on an xray

Select A Section

  1. What Is A Medical Misdiagnosis?
  2. Can I Make A Medical Misdiagnosis Negligence Compensation Claim?
  3. What Are The Causes Of A Medical Misdiagnosis?
  4. What Conditions And Illnesses Could Be Misdiagnosed?
  5. Can I Claim For A Wrong Diagnosis?
  6. Can I Claim Compensation For A Missed Diagnosis?
  7. How Much Compensation Could I Receive For A Misdiagnosis?
  8. Can I Claim On A No Win No Fee Basis?
  9. Learn More About Claiming Misdiagnosis Negligence Compensation

What Is A Medical Misdiagnosis?

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.

Can I Make A Medical Misdiagnosis Negligence Compensation Claim?

When you are receiving a diagnosis or treatment from a medical professional, they automatically owe you a duty of care. Under this duty, the medical professional should provide the correct standard of care and prevent you and their other patients from suffering unnecessary harm.

You may be eligible to claim compensation for a misdiagnosis if:

  • A medical professional owed you a duty of care.
  • The misdiagnosis/missed diagnosis occurred because a medical professional breached the duty of care they owed you.
  • You experienced unnecessary harm as a result.

It should be mentioned that not all cases of harm will necessarily mean that the medical professional caring for you breached their duty of care. For instance, it may not have been possible for a doctor to have the information to diagnose you properly because you have a condition that is asymptomatic.

To learn more about your eligibility to claim medical misdiagnosis compensation, contact our advisors for free today.

How Long Do I Have To Make A Misdiagnosis Compensation Claim?

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

What Are The Causes Of A Medical Misdiagnosis?

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 a patient’s symptoms
  • Failing to examine a patient
  • Not referring a patient for tests when showing clear signs of a serious illness

What Conditions And Illnesses Could Be Misdiagnosed?

All different kinds of illnesses and injuries could be misdiagnosed when medical negligence occurs, the following is just a brief list of examples:

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.

Can I Claim For A Wrong Diagnosis?

A wrongf 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. It could also lead to a medication error. 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 wrongf diagnosis.

Can I Claim Compensation For A Missed 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.

How Much Compensation Could I Receive For A Misdiagnosis?

There could be two heads of claim when it comes to misdiagnosis compensation. They’re known as general damages and special damages. In this section, we have explained how legal professionals calculate both figures.

General damages

This figure is in relation to the level of pain and suffering your injuries cause you. Generally, the more severe the injury, the more your general damages payment tends to be. Various other factors such as the length of your recovery period will also affect the value of this figure.

Legal professionals use a publication called the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) as part of the process of arriving at an appropriate amount. We have included some examples of possible payouts for medical misdiagnosis general damages. However, your own claim will come with its own unique circumstances. Therefore, you’ll need someone to value it independently. The amounts shown below are based on past court cases and may not necessarily reflect how much you could be owed.

Multiple Serious Forms of Harm And Special DamagesIf you have a valid claim for multiple serious injuries or illnesses, then you may receive a payout covering all of these as well as any related special damages, such as the cost of certain private treatments.Up to £1,000,000+
Kidney(a) Both kidneys are either lost or permanently damaged.£206,730 to £256,780
Female Reproductive System(a) Infertility that could have resulted from failing to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy - upper end of the bracket will tend to be awarded to those with significant medical complications.£140,210 to £207,260
Male Reproductive SystemTotal loss of the male reproductive organs.In excess of £187,790
Bowels(b) A complete loss of the bowel's natural function. The person may also depend on a colostomy depending on their age.Up to £183,190
Epilepsy(b) Established Petit Mal - Whether attacks can be controlled by medication, the effect on social life and the prognosis will affect how much is awarded.£66,920 to £160,360
Lung Disease(b) Lung cancer in an older person that caused significant pain and impairs the lungs function. This will impact the person's quality of life.£85,460 to £118,790
Lung Disease(c) Diseases such as emphysema that worsens the functioning of the lungs and impairs the person's breathing.£66,890 to £85,460
Digestive system(b)(i) Severe toxicosis that causes vomiting and acute pain. The person may be admitted into hospital for a few days or weeks.£46,900 to £64,070
Spleen(a) The spleen is lost and there is a risk of internal infections due to the immune system being damaged.£25,380 to £32,090

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.

You can get in touch with us today for free and get a bespoke valuation of your claim from our advisors. Reach out if you have any questions regarding misdiagnosis claims or medical negligence claims in general.

Can I Claim On A No Win No Fee Basis?

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.

If you’d like to begin a medical negligence claim today for misdiagnosis compensation, we can help. We offer a free consultation where you can learn about your legal rights and options. And if you’d like to move forward, our solicitors can get to work right away.

You can speak with us now by:

A doctor holding a pen and clipboard and talking to a patient

Learn More About Claiming Misdiagnosis Negligence Compensation

If you’d like to learn more about claiming misdiagnosis compensation, we have a wealth of information on our site. You can navigate your way through using the links below:

Remember, if you have any questions about misdiagnosis compensation claims, get in touch.