By Daniel Boimler. Last Updated 10th August 2022. 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 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.
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- What Is A Medical Misdiagnosis?
- What Duty Of Care Are Patients Owed?
- Causes Of Medical Misdiagnosis
- Types Of Misdiagnoses
- Wrongful Diagnosis Negligence
- Missed Diagnosis Negligence
- Medical Misdiagnosis Claims Against The NHS
- Medical Misdiagnosis Claims Against Private Healthcare Services
- How Much Compensation For A Misdiagnosis?
- Can I Claim On A No Win No Fee Basis?
- Make A Medical Negligence Claim Today
- Learn More About Claiming Misdiagnosis Compensation
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.
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
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. 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
|(a) Both kidneys are either lost or permanently damaged.
|£169,400 to £210,400
|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.
|£114,900 to £170,280
|Female Reproductive System
|Permanent sexual dysfunction in a person with no children that may include significant medical complication such as ectopic pregnancies or multiple surgeries.
|£43,010 to £102,100
|Male Reproductive System
|Total loss of the male reproductive organs.
|In excess of £153,870
|A complete loss of the bowel's natural function. The person may also depend on a colostomy depending on their age.
|Up to £150,110
|(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.
|£54,830 to £131,370
|(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.
|£70,030 to £97,330
|Diseases such as emphysema that worsens the functioning of the lungs and impairs the person's breathing.
|£54,830 to £70,030
|(b)(i) Severe toxicosis that causes vomiting and acute pain. The person may be admitted into hospital for a few days or weeks.
|£38,430 to £52,500
|(a) The spleen is lost and there is a risk of internal infections due to the immune system being damaged.
|£20,800 to £26,290
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.
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:
- Dialling 0800 652 3087
- Completing our online claim form
- Chatting with us via our pop-up live messenger
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:
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Remember, if you have any questions about misdiagnosis compensation claims, get in touch.