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How To Sue The NHS For Misdiagnosis

By Danielle Jordan. Last Updated 20th June 2024. In this guide, we will explain how to sue the NHS for misdiagnosis. If you can prove that you’ve been mistreated at a hospital or negatively impacted by a misdiagnosis that was caused by negligence, you may be able to claim compensation.

When you seek medical attention, you’re entitled to a minimum standard of care from the healthcare provider treating you. If they fail to provide this, it could cause your condition to worsen. We will look at what the impact of a misdiagnosis can be and the circumstances that could entitle you to claim.

Our advisors offer free legal advice so, if you have any questions or queries, such as wanting to know if you’re eligible to claim for an internal organ injury misdiagnosis, please get in touch. They’re available 24/7 and can put you through to a solicitor in just a few minutes. Contact us today using the details below.

Furthermore, please read on to learn more about claiming for medical misdiagnosis.

How to sue the NHS for misdiagnosis

Select A Section

    1. Can I Sue The NHS For A Misdiagnosis?
    2. What Is Medical Misdiagnosis?
    3. What Are The Most Commonly Misdiagnosed Medical Conditions?
    4. Causes Of Misdiagnosis In Healthcare
    5. How To Sue The NHS For Misdiagnosis And Its Effects
    6. How Do I Prove An NHS Misdiagnosis Compensation Claim?
    7. How Much Compensation Could I Get For An NHS Misdiagnosis?
    8. How To Sue The NHS For Misdiagnosis With A No Win No Fee Solicitor
    9. Resources When Claiming Against The NHS

Can I Sue The NHS For A Misdiagnosis?

You may be wondering whether you could sue the NHS for misdiagnosis. To be eligible to make a medical negligence claim, you will need evidence that proves your case meets the required criteria. This means that you need to prove that you were owed a duty of care by a medical professional and that when this was breached, you suffered unnecessary harm.

All medical professionals, whether they work as part of the public or private healthcare sector, owe their patients a duty of care. Per their duty of care, they must ensure that you receive the correct standard of care when they are treating you as their patient. If they breach this duty, you could suffer unnecessary harm and may be able to make a medical negligence claim.

However, there may be certain instances where you receive a misdiagnosis, but a medical professional did not breach their duty of care. In this instance, you might not be eligible to make a medical negligence claim.

If you have any questions about claiming for an NHS misdiagnosis for compensation, get in touch with one of our advisors.

How Long Do I Have To Claim NHS Misdiagnosis Compensation

In most standard cases, the claims time limit is three years from the incident date or three years from the date you became aware that your symptoms were caused by negligence. The latter timeframe is for when you’ve suffered from a condition that has developed over time that you’ve only just become aware of, such as lung disease.

Whether you’ve suffered negligence from an NHS trust, a GP, or a hospital, your claim will not be successful if you’ve taken over three years to start your claim. This is outlined in The Limitation Act 1980. There are, however, two exceptions to this:

  1. If you’re a child and you want to claim for NHS negligence, you have three years from the date of your eighteenth birthday to claim compensation.
  2. If you don’t have the mental capacity to claim, there is no time frame for claiming.

In both instances, you can also select a guardian or a loved one to be a litigation friend, meaning that they claim on your behalf, while you’re unable to do so yourself. To learn more about this, please get in touch. Our advisors are available 24/7, offer free legal advice and can inform you over the phone in just a matter of minutes if you’re able to claim compensation.

What Is Medical Misdiagnosis? 

A medical misdiagnosis is where you receive a diagnosis that does not accurately reflect the condition you’re actually suffering from. For example, you may be wondering how to sue the NHS for misdiagnosis if your condition has been mistakenly diagnosed as something else, meaning that the treatment you need for your actual condition has been delayed.

All doctors owe their patients a duty of care. This duty of care involves performing their roles to the degree expected of them within the medical profession. You may be able to receive compensation if you can prove that the level of care they provided fell below these standards.

However, it’s important to note that just because you are misdiagnosed by an NHS healthcare provider doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to make a successful claim. This is because complications can arise even when the appropriate level of care is being administered.

As part of a misdiagnosis claim, peers of the medical professional usually review the steps taken in your treatment to determine if they were of an acceptable standard or not. This is referred to as the Bolam Test. If the panel of peers find that the doctor acted outside their duty of care, this could indicate negligence.

What Are The Most Commonly Misdiagnosed Medical Conditions?

Injuries and conditions that could be misdiagnosed include:

If you could like to know more about claiming compensation for an NHS misdiagnosis, speak to a member of our team today. You can also read on for more information on the kinds of diagnostic errors that could occur.

Causes Of Misdiagnosis In Healthcare

Many factors can cause medical misdiagnosis. For example:

  • Misinterpreting a scan or test. For instance, a broken or fractured bone misdiagnosis can be caused by a fracture being missed on an X-ray. If it’s a hairline fracture, these can be difficult to spot.
  • Insufficient supervision. Medical professionals may make a mistake because their superiors aren’t available to guide them when diagnosing you. This could particularly be the case with junior doctors and nurses.
  • GP negligence. A GP may not pay full attention to you when you’re explaining your condition, which could lead to a misdiagnosis.
  • A lack of expertise. Simply put, the doctor or medical professional may not have the training or experience required to diagnose you correctly.
  • Incorrect tests. The wrong tests may be ordered, leading to the wrong diagnosis.
  • Inaction on behalf of medical professionals. They may not have taken a sufficient medical history to be able to diagnose you correctly.

As we have already mentioned, just because your condition was misdiagnosed does not mean that you are the victim of medical negligence. Some of these causes of misdiagnosis are in direct contrast with the duties of a doctor as outlined by the General Medical Council (GMC), like not listening to the patient’s concerns.

However, some of these might occur even if the right level of care is administered.  For instance, your doctor might order the wrong test because you were not exhibiting symptoms typical of your condition.

If you would like to know more about whether you could claim for the harm caused by negligent misdiagnosis, speak to us today.

How Do I Prove An NHS Misdiagnosis Compensation Claim?

Both personal injury claims and medical negligence claims revolve around proving third party negligence. Therefore, an integral part regarding how to sue the NHS for misdiagnosis revolves around proving the three key principles below:

  1. Firstly, you need to prove that the third party has a duty of care towards you. In this case, this would be the medical professional or doctor who may be liable for your injuries.
  2. You then need to show that their actions breached this duty of care.
  3. Finally, you need to show how this breach led to an injury or your condition worsening.

Medical professionals have a duty of care to patients, as clarified in legislation such as The National Health Service (Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice) Regulations 2019. If you’re able to prove all three of these things, you may be able to receive compensation.

Evidence that could help you prove this includes:

  • Medical reports
  • An independent professional medical opinion. This is a required part of the claims process.
  • Scans, such as X-rays, etc.

To learn more about what evidence you may need, please get in touch with us. Our advisors have years of experience, so they’ll be able to answer any questions you have about how to sue the NHS for misdiagnosis. Contact them today 24/7 using the details above.

How Much Compensation Could I Get For An NHS Misdiagnosis?

The amount of NHS misdiagnosis compensation you could potentially receive can depend on a range of things. For example, these might include:

  • How much evidence you have
  • How severely you were harmed
  • Whether or not you suffered financial losses

Because of this, we can’t tell you exactly how much you could receive if your claim against the NHS for a misdiagnosis succeeds. However, we can talk a bit more about how your compensation is calculated.

Generally, the compensation you receive is split into two heads. The first, general damages, is awarded in every successful claim. Under this heading, you can get compensation for the physical and mental harm caused by the misdiagnosis.

When professionals calculate this heading, they can use the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to help. This document provides guideline compensation brackets for different injuries and illnesses. You can find some examples of these that could be relevant to misdiagnosis in the table below.

Keep in mind that these are only guidelines and not guaranteed amounts. The first entry in this table has not been taken from the JCG.

Type of InjuryAmount of Compensation
Multiple Instances Of Harm And Special DamagesUp to £1,000,000+
Very Severe Brain Damage (a)£344,150 to £493,000
Lung Disease (a)£122,850 to £165,860
Lung Disease (b)£85,460 to £118,790
Bowels (b)Up to £183,190
Bladder (b)Up to £171,680
Leg Amputation (a) (iv)£119,570 to £162,290
Female Reproductive System (c)£68,440 to £87,070
Total Loss Of One Eye (d)£66,920 to £80,210
Total Loss Of Hearing In One Ear (c)£38,210 to £55,570

The second head of claim that you could be entitled to is special damages. Under this heading, you can recoup the financial losses caused by the misdiagnosis. For example, special damages can help cover the cost of:

  • Childcare
  • Travel
  • Prescriptions
  • Private medical treatment
  • Mobility aids
  • Home adjustments
  • Professional care

These are only a few examples of the kinds of costs that could be covered by special damages. To learn more, get in touch with our team today.

How To Sue The NHS For Misdiagnosis With A No Win No Fee Solicitor

You may have heard the phrase No Win No Fee before, but be unsure what it entails. A No Win No Fee agreement can sometimes be referred to as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). It sets out the conditions that need to be met before you pay your solicitor.

The advantages of this kind of agreement include:

  • Not paying legal fees, either upfront or during the entire claims proceedings.
  • You also won’t have to pay legal fees if your claim is unsuccessful.
  • Instead, they will take a small, legally capped amount of your compensation once your claim has been successful to cover the cost of legal fees.

If you would like to know more about the advantages offered by a Conditional Fee Agreement, speak to our team today. You could be connected with a No Win No Fee solicitor to work on your claim.

Start Your Misdiagnosis Claim


Our advisors are available 24/7 and offer free legal advice so, if you have any questions about how to sue the NHS for misdiagnosis, please get in touch! They can assess whether you’ll be able to claim and can even provide you with a reliable compensation estimate in just one phone call. They can also put you through to a medical negligence lawyer who can work your case on a No Win No Fee basis.

Resources When Claiming Against The NHS

To know more about medical negligence claims, please use the links below.

  • If you’ve broken a bone and want medical guidance, please refer to the NHS website.
  • Never events are medical incidents that should never occur if all the proper procedures are followed. To learn more about them, visit this webpage.
  • Have you suffered from dental trauma? If so, and you’d like more information, read this NHS guidance.
  • If you would like to claim for harm caused by GP negligence, this guide could help.
  • To learn more about the time limits for suing the NHS, visit this page.
  • Want to know more about the different types of medical negligence claims? If so, visit our webpage.

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    • Patrick Mallon

      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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