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Delayed Diagnosis And Treatment Medical Negligence Claims

By Cat Way. Last Updated 6th October 2023. Experiencing a delay in medical treatment can have significant consequences. It may see a condition or illness worsen, causing you more pain and discomfort. In this guide, we explore delayed diagnosis compensation claims in comprehensive detail.

We examine whether or not you can sue the NHS for a delay in treatment, potential compensation payouts, and how our medical negligence solicitors can help you.

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Delayed diagnosis and treatment compensation claims

Delayed treatment medical negligence claims guide

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Can You Sue The NHS For A Delay In Treatment?

You might be wondering, “Can you sue the NHS for a delay in treatment?” A delay in treatment can have significant consequences, but not all cases of delayed treatment or delayed diagnosis will result in a claim.

The NHS and private healthcare providers all owe a duty of care to their patients. This means that the treatment they provide must meet a minimum standard. The steps that medical professionals are required to take to meet this standard both within the NHS and in the private sector vary by field. For example, the General Medical Council (GMC) provides guidance for doctors in their Duties of a Doctor.

In order to make a delayed treatment or delayed diagnosis claim, you must be able to prove that:

  •   You were owed a duty of care by a medical professional.
  •   This duty of care was breached.
  •   As a result, you suffered unnecessary or avoidable harm.

If your case meets these three criteria, then you may be able to claim delayed treatment or delayed diagnosis compensation.

Contact our team today to learn more about this, or read on to find out what your compensation could include.

What Is A Negligent Delay In Treatment?

A delay in treatment is when a patient does not receive the necessary treatment needed for an injury or illness in a timely manner, including a delay in seeing a medical professional initially to have their condition assessed and diagnosed. If a patient suffers more than they needed to because of this delay and the delay could have been avoided then this may be classed as a negligent delay. People affected by such delays could make delayed treatment compensation claims. 

Delays In Treatment Causing An Illness To Become Terminal

Finding out that you have a terminal illness is devastating for both you and your loved ones, but finding out that your illness has become terminal following a negligent delay in treatment makes the blow even harsher.

Healthcare professionals have a duty of care to their patients to correctly diagnose and treat any injuries or illnesses in a timely manner, failure to do so can result in the patient’s condition deteriorating, sometimes very suddenly. For example, if a doctor fails to recognise the signs of an impending heart attack and therefore doesn’t provide urgent necessary treatment and the patient goes on to have a heart attack soon after, the doctor may be deemed negligent in their duty of care, or if a doctor misdiagnoses a disease such as cancer resulting in a delay of treatment, this could lead to the cancer spreading to other areas of the body possibly resulting in it being incurable. For examples of when a delay in treatment can prove deadly include:

  • Pulmonary problems
  • Heart problems
  • Renal problems
  • Pseudomyxoma peritonei
  • Vascular conditions
  • Cancer

If your illness has become terminal, or if your loved one has lost their life through illness and you believe it was as a result of receiving the right treatment too late, you may be eligible to make a claim. If you would like to claim delayed diagnosis compensation for damages, it’s best to get the claim started as soon as possible so that it is within the personal injury claims time limit.

Negligent Delays In Surgical Treatment

As soon as an illness or injury has been diagnosed, treatment should commence in order for the patient to become better and make a recovery. If an illness or injury requires surgery the necessary steps should be taken to get it underway. Surgical delays can result in the patient’s condition becoming worse causing their health to deteriorate, and in some cases causing them to be at risk of permanent complications and long-term effects. A medical negligence delay in treatment such as surgery can also be life-threatening, for example, if a patient needs heart surgery and it is delayed, they could have a fatal heart attack in the meantime, which could’ve been avoided had they received the required surgery straight away.

Negligent delay in surgery can result from negligent errors from as early on as the initial appointment with a medical professional where you first mentioned your health concern. Their failure to diagnose your condition and recognise the severity of your symptoms or failure to refer you to a specialist can all have led to a delay in surgery. A delay in surgery could cause the following to happen:

  • Increase in pain and suffering
  • Further illnesses occurring resultant from the primary condition
  • Worsening of the condition
  • The chance of a full recovery is reduced
  • A reduction in life expectancy

If you or a loved one has suffered further ill health due to a negligent delay in surgery, you may be eligible to make a personal injury claim. Speak to Legal Expert for free specialist legal advice to find out if you could make a delayed treatment compensation claim.

Delays In Cancer Treatment

Cancer is a devastating disease and one that if not treated as soon as possible, can be terminal. With cancer, the earlier the treatment is started, the higher the chance of beating the disease and making a full recovery, but if treatment is delayed due to a misdiagnosis, for example, it could quite literally mean the difference between life and death.

A delay in the treatment of cancer could be caused by the following:

  • The healthcare professional failing to recognise symptoms
  • Failure to make a correct diagnosis
  • Failure to refer the patient to a specialist
  • Being given the wrong treatment
  • A delay in investigations such as CT scans, MRI scans or X-rays after the health concern has been brought to the attention of a medical professional and referred.

A delayed treatment in healthcare where cancer is concerned can have devastating consequences and time is an important factor in surviving the disease.

If you or someone you love has suffered due to a delay in the treatment of cancer because of medical negligence, you may be entitled to pursue a claim for compensation.

Negligent Delays In Treatment Of A Fracture

A delay in fracture treatment could potentially result in a permanent disability depending on the type and severity of the fracture and wherein the body it is located.

A negligent delay in treatment of a fracture could result in further problems arising because the fracture may have started to heal itself without first being put back into the correct position, which could then lead to more extensive treatment being required such as corrective surgery.

In some cases may result in permanent mobility problems and risk of arthritis, than if treatment was given straight away to correct the fracture and support it such as by using a cast for example so that it can heal properly.

A delay in fracture treatment may occur because of the following:

  • A doctor failing to recognise fracture symptoms and therefore doesn’t offer an x-ray
  • X-ray results are misinterpreted
  • The fracture couldn’t be seen on the x-ray as the x-ray was taken in the wrong position or from the wrong angle
  • The x-ray was not passed on to the doctor to be examined

If a patient with a fracture fails to get the treatment they need, depending on the circumstances, it can result in the patient suffering further pain and discomfort and may also have an effect on their everyday life and work life.

Regardless of whether it was a delay in treatment by a GP, a delay in-hospital treatment, or a delay in A&E treatment, if you have suffered due to delayed treatment medical negligence after sustaining a fracture, you may be entitled to make a delayed treatment compensation claim. Although it cannot change what has happened, if successful, it may provide some financial assistance whilst you recover from your injury.

What Is The Medical Negligence Claims Time Limit?

If you have suffered unnecessary harm from delayed treatment and you meet the eligibility criteria, you must also be aware of the medical negligence claims time limit.

Under the Limitation Act 1980, you’ll have three years from the date you were harmed or the date of knowledge to start your claim. The date of knowledge is the date you first connected the harm you suffered with medical negligence.

However, the three-year limitation period is suspended if a minor is harmed as a result of delayed treatment. A medical negligence claim can be started from their 18th birthday, and the time limit will run until their 21st birthday. Similarly, if a claimant lacks the mental capacity to make their own claim, the time limit is suspended indefinitely. If they were to regain this mental capacity, they will have three years to start a claim from the recovery date.

In cases where the time limit is suspended, a litigation friend can make a claim on the injured party’s behalf. A litigation friend could be a solicitor, parent, or legal guardian, for example.

To see whether you are within the time limit to start your medical negligence claim, you can contact our advisory team today.

How Much Compensation Could I Receive For Delayed Treatment?

If you have experienced unnecessary harm due to negligent delayed treatment, you may be eligible to make a medical negligence claim.

If your claim is successful, your compensation settlement could include general and special damages. General damages aim to reimburse you for the pain you have endured as a result of your delayed treatment.

The Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) is a document that lists compensation guidelines for various injuries. Many legal professionals will refer to this document to help them value claims. In the table below, we have listed some of the amounts that are stated in the 16th edition of the JCG.

However, it should be noted that compensation is decided on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, you should only use this table as a guide.

Reason For Compensation Comments Amount
Brain damage There is little evidence of any response to the environment, if any exists at all. £282,010 to £403,990
Kidney injuries Both kidneys are either lost or permanently damaged to a serious level. 169,400 to £210,400
Bowel injuries An entire loss of natural bowel and urinary function. Up to £184,200
Female reproductive system Injury or disease has caused infertility accompanied by sexual dysfunction and mental health conditions. £114,900 to £170,280
Male reproductive system Total loss of reproductive organs. In excess of £153,870
Chest injuries One lung is removed entirely or there is damage to the heart that is serious and painful. £100,670 to £150,110
Neck injuries The cervical spine discs are damaged or there are serious fractures resulting in permanent damage to the brachial plexus. £65,740 to £130,930
Deafness/Tinnitus Total deafness with a higher award if speech deficit and tinnitus are also present. £90,750 to £109,650
Psychiatric damage Some problems in coping with relationships and employment but there is evident improvement and a good prognosis. £5,860 to £19,070
Asthma Bronchitis, colds, chest problems, and asthma that is mild and can be resolved within a few months. Up to £5,150

Special damages aim to compensate you for the financial losses you have experienced due to the medical negligence.

Some examples of the financial losses you could be compensated for include:

  • A loss of earnings.
  • Medical expenses.
  • Travel costs.

You will need to provide evidence regarding these financial losses, such as payslips and invoices.

For further information on claiming compensation for delayed treatment, please contact our advisors today.

Claiming Delayed Diagnosis Compensation On A No Win No Fee Basis

Personal injury claims for medical negligence delay in treatment are often complex and hiring an experienced medical negligence lawyer is recommended to give the maximum chance of successfully winning your compensation claim. However, hiring a legal team can prove expensive unless you hire a no win no fee personal injury solicitor.

With a no win no fee policy you are not required to pay any of your solicitors’ legal fees until the case has concluded where they will take their payment as a small percentage of the settlement amount if they win your claim for you, if they do not win the claim, then you will not be required to pay any of their fees. Learn more about no win no fee delayed treatment compensation claims by calling us. 

Contact Our Team

If you’d like to speak to Legal Expert about making a delayed treatment compensation claim, just contact us on 0800 073 8804.

Learn More About Claiming Delayed Diagnosis Compensation

Below, you can find more information on claiming delayed diagnosis compensation:

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      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.

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