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Stroke Misdiagnosis Medical Negligence Claims Guide – How Much Compensation Could I Claim For A Misdiagnosed Stroke?

Stroke misdiagnosis compensation claims

Stroke misdiagnosis compensation claims

By Mark Ainsdale. Last updated 15th July 2021. Welcome to our stroke misdiagnosis compensation guide. When someone suffers a stroke, swift and prompt medical care and treatment are essential. If the correct treatment is delayed, the victim could be left with long term disabilities, a level of damage to the brain or even lose their life.

A misdiagnosed stroke due to clinical negligence can have a devastating impact on a person’s life, possibly leaving them unable to work or carry out normal tasks. It could also mean the victim incurring significant financial costs such as costs for specialist equipment or required home adaptions. A medical negligence claim for stroke misdiagnosis compensation, if successful, could provide the financial support you need through your recovery.

Medical negligence claims can be complex, whether for NHS negligence or private healthcare negligence, so seeking legal help is advised. For advice or assistance on making a stroke misdiagnosis claim, you can contact our team on 0800 652 3087.

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A Guide On How To Make A Claim For Stroke Misdiagnosis Compensation

If you have suffered due to a negligent misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of a stroke due to medical negligence, you could be entitled to launch a compensation claim. Medical professionals are expected to provide a good, acceptable level of care to their patients to treat them accordingly. If you were seen by a medical professional and received below the expected standard of care, resulting in you being avoidably harmed, you could have a valid cause for medical negligence.

When suffering a stroke, it is imperative to receive the correct treatment urgently. The amount of time between having a stroke and receiving treatment is a major factor in the victim’s prognosis and survival. If treatment is given immediately, the side effects of a stroke can be minimalised and the prognosis good. If treatment is delayed, however, there is a greater chance of serious brain damage, resulting in disabilities such as paralysis.

Compensation for a misdiagnosed stroke may be sought if an act of negligence resulted in the misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis causing avoidable harm. Claiming medical experts isn’t necessarily straightforward. So, within this guide, you will find various bits of information that can help you understand what is involved. Below we discuss the different types of strokes, what may cause a stroke, the signs and symptoms, and how strokes are treated.

We then look at what impact a misdiagnosis of a stroke can have on the patient and the consequences they may face as a result. We also talk you through what may be claimed for, the medical negligence time limits for making a claim, how much compensation you could secure, and the benefits of having a no win, no fee solicitor.

What Are Strokes?

A stroke is when the blood supply to an area in the brain is cut off, which results in brain cells being damaged and essentially killed off. The effects of having a stroke will depend on the size of the area in the brain that has been damaged and which area it is in the brain. Brain damage affects how the body works and can change the way someone thinks and feels. Having a stroke is classed as a medical emergency. Getting treatment as quickly as possible can limit the amount of damage experienced, whereas any delay in treatment could have devastating consequences. Please read on for more information about scenarios that allow victims to make stroke misdiagnosis compensation claims.

Types of Strokes People Could Suffer:

Three main types of strokes can occur, one known as a mini-stroke. Strokes happen when an area of the brain is starved of oxygen due to the blood supply being blocked, which causes brain cells in the affected area to die. The types of strokes are:

  • According to the NHS, Ischaemic Stroke is the most common type and accounts for 85% of strokes. This is where the blood supply has been completely cut off to an area of the brain due to a blood clot.
  • Haemorrhagic Stroke –There are two types of these strokes, Intracerebral Haemorrhagic, which is when bleeding is within the brain usually due to a burst vessel, and Subarachnoid Haemorrhagic, which is when there is a bleed on the brain between the brain and the skull usually due to a burst blood vessel on the surface of the brain.
  • Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) – This typically occurs due to the blood supply to the brain being interrupted temporarily. It is often referred to as a mini-stroke; it can last from anywhere between a few minutes and 24 hours. It is important also to get these types of strokes treated urgently as they are often an indicator that a full-blown stroke could be imminent. If you have suffered a TIA, you should seek medical attention immediately, even if your symptoms have started to improve.

What Is A Medical Misdiagnosis?

A medical misdiagnosis is when a qualified medical professional gives an incorrect diagnosis causing a delay in diagnosis. An error of this kind can result in the correct treatment not being provided or being delayed or the patient not receiving any treatment at all. A delay in treatment could cause the patient’s condition to worsen.

A medical misdiagnosis alone cannot be classed as medical negligence. If the misdiagnosis was caused by a negligent act that led to the patient being avoidably harmed, this could be classed as medical negligence. Therefore, a claim could be made. For a misdiagnosis to be recognised as medical negligence and to be able to make a claim, you would need to prove the following:

  • That the patient was receiving treatment from the doctor.
  • When attempting to diagnose and treat the patient, the medical professional provided a level of care below the expected and accepted standard, consequently resulting in the misdiagnosis.
  • The medical professional’s negligence caused avoidable harm to the patient.

If the medical professional assessing the patient made a misdiagnosis but had provided a competent and accepted level of care, it’s unlikely a claim could be made for medical negligence. However, if they acted negligently, failing to provide a reasonable level of care which led to a misdiagnosis causing avoidable harm to the patient, then a stroke misdiagnosis compensation claim could be considered valid.

A diagnosing error could be caused by:

  • Wrong diagnosis – This is where the medical professional has incorrectly diagnosed the patient. This then causes the patient to miss out or be delayed the treatment they need.
  • Delayed diagnosis – A delay in diagnosis may occur due to the doctor failing to initially recognise symptoms, diagnostic testing errors or failing to carry out the appropriate tests to determine the illness.
  • Missed diagnosis – The doctor treating the patient fails to recognise symptoms of illness and gives the patient the all-clear.

Signs And Symptoms Of A Stroke

The main symptoms and signs of a stroke can be remembered if you think of the word FAST. The main symptoms and signs are:

  • Face – One side of the face might appear to have dropped, the person’s eye or mouth might have dropped, or they might not be able to smile.
  • Arms – They might have difficulty lifting both of their arms and keeping them there due to one arm experiencing numbness or weakness.
  • Speech – Speech of the person suffering may become garbled or slurred, or they might not have the ability to speak at all even though they are awake. They may also not be able to understand what is being said to them.
  • Time – If any of these symptoms and signs appear, you must call 999 immediately for emergency medical assistance.

Other symptoms may be apparent when someone suffers a stroke, and these main signs and symptoms for this particular brain injury. These can include:

  • Loss of vision or blurred vision
  • Paralysis down one side of the body
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Lack of balance and coordination
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Headaches that are sudden and severe
  • Loss of consciousness

A delay in a stroke diagnosis will ultimately lead to a delay in treatment which can have a devastating impact on the victim’s life, such as leaving them with severe disabilities. Giving a stroke victim the correct treatment as soon as possible is crucial in limiting the damage caused by having a stroke. The longer the victim is left without the right treatment, the worse the damage could be.

What Causes A Stroke?

As we get older, our arteries naturally become narrower and harder, increasing their chances of becoming blocked, which is the cause of Ischaemic strokes. Several things, including: may cause a blockage

  • A blood clot forms in one of the arteries leading to the brain or one of the small arteries within the brain.
  • Damaged small blood vessels deep within the brain.
  • Atrial fibrillation and other heart conditions may cause blood clots to appear on the heart, detach and then move around the body and up to the brain through the bloodstream.
  • Arterial dissection is when blood can get through the different layers of the artery walls due to a tear in the lining of the artery.

With haemorrhagic strokes, the causes include:

  • High blood pressure is one of the main contributing factors within around half of all strokes.
  • An Aneurysm. This is when an area of an artery in the brain has become weak with thin and weak walls and therefore more susceptible to burst, especially with a condition such as high blood pressure. Some aneurysms are there at birth, or sometimes certain lifestyle choices such as smoking can increase the chances. Also, anyone with a family history of aneurysms may be more at risk.
  • Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy. This is when blood vessels in the brain can become damaged, making them more likely to tear due to a build-up of a protein called amyloid within the vessels. This is more common in older people.
  • Taking Anticoagulants which are used for blood thinning. Although the risk overall is very low, people who take this type of medication to reduce the risk of blood clots have an increased risk of bleeding occurring on the brain.
  • Illegal drugs. Drugs such as cocaine can cause the walls of the blood vessels to become irritated, making them weaker and more likely to burst.

A temporary clot causes a TIA. The clots cut off the blood supply to the brain but only temporarily as it eventually dissolves or moves. The blood supply then returns to normal, and the symptoms disappear. The blood clots, in most cases, form in areas of blood vessels that have become narrow or furred up with fatty deposits. With some heart conditions, blood clots can form on the heart and then be transported to the brain in the blood.

More information on what a stroke is and how this may allow for stroke misdiagnosis compensation claims is here.

Treatment Options For Stroke Victims

The treatment for a stroke is dependent on which type of stroke you have suffered and which area of the brain has been affected. In most cases, medication is used, injections of a medicine called alteplase. Sometimes surgical procedures may be needed to remove blood clots; a procedure called a thrombectomy. Surgery may also be required to treat any brain swelling, or surgery may be used to unblock the artery. This is called a carotid endarterectomy.  A surgical procedure, craniotomy, may be required to repair blood vessels and remove blood from the brain.

What Is The Impact Of A Stroke Being Misdiagnosed

Every stroke is different and will affect different people in different ways. The effects will depend on the type of stroke, what area of the brain has been affected and how big the affected area is. But another important factor that will affect the impact of a stroke is how quickly medical treatment is given. If a stroke is not diagnosed, or there is a misdiagnosis of a stroke, this will lead to a delay in treatment which could have a devastating impact on the person.

When someone suffers a stroke, it’s possible they could make a good recovery if promptly diagnosed and receive the treatment they need urgently. But if treatment is delayed due to a misdiagnosis, they could suffer serious life-altering injuries. Stroke related paralysis can occur as well as brain damage and other health problems leading to life-long disabilities.

One of the dangers after suffering a stroke is a high chance of suffering another stroke days or weeks later. Getting the correct treatment promptly will allow doctors to treat the stroke and put in place preventative measures to lessen the chances of another one.

An undiagnosed stroke or a stroke being misdiagnosed can have a devastating impact on the person suffering and their families. Prompt diagnosis and swift treatment will give the person suffering the best possible chance of a good recovery compared to someone who has been misdiagnosed.

If you or someone you love has suffered due to a misdiagnosed stroke through negligence, speak to Medical Negligence Assist. We can see how we could help you to get the stroke misdiagnosis compensation you deserve.

Could I Claim For Someone Who Suffered A Misdiagnosed Stroke?

The answer here is yes, you can. If a loved one, such as your partner or parent, for example, or someone with diminished mental capacity, has been avoidably harmed due to a negligent misdiagnosed stroke, you could forward a claim on their behalf. However, you still need to prove that your loved one’s injuries are due to medical negligence.

Time Limits To Make A Stroke Misdiagnosis Compensation Claim

When making a compensation claim, it is important to do so as soon as possible. This is because compensation claims time limits that apply regardless of whether you are claiming for personal injury, accidental injury or medical negligence. In most cases, the time limit is 3 years from the date that the injury occurred or from the date that the preventable injury was first diagnosed. Occasionally the time limits can vary depending on the circumstances.

What Could I Claim? Calculating Stroke Misdiagnosis Compensation

The compensation awarded for medical negligence is made up of two main categories of damages, these are:

  • General Damages – These damages account for the physical and psychological pain and suffering the victim has endured due to the injury sustained. The victim’s long term prognosis will be taken into account.

Compensation that may be available for stroke misdiagnosis victims for general damages is displayed in the table below.

Injury TypeCompensation Award AmountComments
Brain Damage - Very Severe£264,650 - £379,100No evidence or little evidence of meaningful response to the individuals' environment, little or no language function, double incontinence, and full-time nursing care is required.

Factors which help to decide how much compensation is awarded in this bracket include the degree of insight the individual has (if any), life expectancy, how physically limited the individual is, whether gastrostomy feeding is required, sensory impairment, the ability to communicate, behavioural problems, and epilepsy is present.
Brain Damage - Moderately Severe£205,580 - £264,650The individual is seriously disabled with substantial dependence on others and constant professional care is required.
Brain Damage - Moderate£40,410 - £205,580The individual has serious disabilities similar to those with moderately severe brain damage but the level of dependency is markedly lower.
Brain Damage - Less Severe£14,380 - £40,410The individual will have made a good recovery and is able to get back to work and have a normal social life, although there may still be persisting problems such as concentration is poor and memory is affected.
Brain Damage - Minor£2,070 - £11,980Brain damage is considered minimal. Factors that help determine which end of the bracket the individual will receive are how severe the initial injury was, how long it has taken to recover, continuing symptoms, headaches.
  • Special Damages – These damages account for the financial implications that the victim has incurred due to their injury. Special damages include costs such as medical and travel expenses. Special damages also include any costs that may have been incurred if extra help is needed around the home or for personal care. They also include any loss of income or future loss of income.

No Win, No Fee Compensation Claims For Stroke Misdiagnosis

No Win No Fee claims, also referred to as Conditional Fee Agreements, are in place to provide legal representation when making a medical negligence claim.

With No Win No Fee policies, the claimant is not required to make any payments to their medical negligence lawyer at all before or during the process of them making their claim. If the claim is successful, their lawyer will then ask for a small contribution towards their costs of securing the compensation for the claimant. This is then usually paid as a small percentage of the final settlement amount. There is no need to worry; however, this amount is legally capped. If the claim is unsuccessful and no compensation award has been secured, the claimant need not pay their lawyer anything.

Contact Our Team

Medical Negligence Assist is a team of specialists who work with a panel of expert medical negligence solicitors, helping people get the compensation they deserve.

At Medical Negligence Assist, we have strong moral and ethical values that drive our passion for supporting those who need our help. Our panel of medical negligence solicitors share these values, and it really shows in their dedication to getting justice for our clients.

We offer an excellent customer care package that includes:

  • Providing free legal advice
  • Offering a free, without obligation, legal consultation
  • Providing a No Win No Fee policy
  • Delivering a local medical assessment

We are a friendly team that work with complete honesty and integrity when handling cases like stroke misdiagnosis compensation claims. We will always strive to get the best outcome for our clients. We certainly don’t shy away from hard work!

If you would like to discuss making a medical negligence claim with Medical Negligence Assist, you can contact us on 0800 652 3087, and we will do our best to help you.

Stroke Misdiagnosis Compensation FAQs

Can I get compensation for misdiagnosis?

Yes, you can receive compensation for pain, suffering and disability, along with special damages covering additional costs.

What could a stroke be misdiagnosed as?

Alternative diagnoses include a migraine, a seizure, Bell’s Palsy, a brain tumour and Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

What happens if a stroke goes undiagnosed?

This could lead to the victim suffering permanent damage without being aware of why or how it happens.

Can I claim compensation from the NHS?

Yes, you can make a compensation claim against the NHS if you have sufficient evidence supporting your case.

How do you prove a misdiagnosis?

This is about emphasising the doctor-patient relationship and proving an error by the doctor that demonstrates negligence. And this error should then be the cause of the patient’s unnecessary harm.

Are there warning signs days before a stroke?

The victim can suffer from numbness, tingling or a headache in the days before a stroke. But oftentimes, a stroke will come about without warning.

What is a false stroke?

This is what doctors call a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which sees a blood flow interruption to the brain. And this may create symptoms akin to a stroke, but with the situation not actually being a stroke.

How do you tell if someone has had a stroke in the past?

Signs of this could include numbness or weakness within the face and speech problems, lack of vision, and dizzy spells.

Helpful Links

Filing Hospital Negligence Claims – Some information is provided here regarding claiming hospital negligence.

Misdiagnosis Claims – Further information provided here regarding misdiagnosis.

Misdiagnosis Claims, What Happens? – Our guide here gives a brief outline of how the misdiagnosis claims are dealt with.

Stroke Prevention – The NHS gives advice here on things that can help prevent a stroke from happening.

Impact Of Having A Stroke – A guide from the Stroke Association on how a stroke may impact you.

Written by Kelly

Edited by Lis.

Thank you for reading our stroke misdiagnosis compensation guide.