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£500k Compensation For A Cancer Misdiagnosis | Case Study

By Danielle Jordan. Last Updated 8th November 2023. This is a case study guide about claiming compensation for undiagnosed cancer. In this article, we explore in detail a case of a successful claimant who suffered due to medical negligence.

For any further queries, or for free legal advice about starting your own claim, you can get in touch with our skilled advisors at any time.

cancer misdiagnosis

Cancer misdiagnosis claims

Select a Section

  1. What Is A Medical Misdiagnosis And Can I Claim Compensation?
  2. Case Study – Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim
  3. What’s The Average Payout For A Cancer Misdiagnosis?
  4. Time Limit For Cancer Misdiagnosis Claims
  5. What Evidence Can Support A Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim?
  6. Make A No Win No Fee Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim

What Is A Medical Misdiagnosis And Can I Claim Compensation?

A medical misdiagnosis is when a medical professional fails to diagnose you or diagnoses you with the wrong condition. However, to be eligible to make a medical neglgience claim for the misdiagnosis of cancer, you must be able to prove:

  1. A medical professional owed you a duty of care.
  2. They breached their duty of care.
  3. Due to this breach, you suffered unnecessary harm.

All medical professionals in the public and private healthcare sectors owe a duty of care towards their patients. Per this duty, they must ensure that their patients receive the correct standard of care. If they fail to do so, this could cause you to suffer unnecessary harm, and you could make a medical neglgience claim.

For example, you visit your GP due to a lump in your breast. They fail to order further testing and misdiagnose your breast cancer as swollen lymph nodes. This could cause your cancer to worsen and you receiving delayed treatment.

However, it is also important to note that not all cases of misdiagnosis could lead to a claim. In certain cases, you may receive a medical misdiagnosis, but the medical professional did not breach their duty of care. In this case, you might not be eligible to receive compensation.

For more information regarding the eligibility criteria for cancer misdiagnosis claims, you can contact our advisors.

Case Study – Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim

In order to make a cancer delayed diagnosis compensation claim in the UK, you need to be able to demonstrate that having this delay in diagnosis or misdiagnosis which prevented the start of treatment lead to a significant deterioration in your condition and long-term prognosis. You need to show that this was caused by a medical professional. You could also make a claim for compensation if you have been diagnosed with cancer that you did not have.

How much your cancer misdiagnosis settlement will be will depend on how much your condition has deteriorated and by how much this has caused your condition to deteriorate. You will need to show it has adversely affected your long-term prognosis, recovery and the other impacts it can have on your life. The process of making a claim for compensation for a delayed cancer diagnosis can be lengthy and complicated. As such, it is a good idea to start your case as soon as possible.

In this case, the claimant alleged that the failure to diagnose the woman with throat cancer, her consultant caused her to require a complete laryngectomy, removing her voice box. This removed her ability to speak and hampered her breathing. Solicitors alleged that an accurate diagnosis after being referred by her GP to see a consultant would have caught cancer at an earlier stage. The medical negligence late diagnosis should have been picked up by the MRI scan, and diagnosed by the consultant.

In this case, it was alleged that the four-month gap between misdiagnosis and getting treatment meant that chemoradiotherapy was no longer a treatment option (having previously had a 60% chance of success). This left life-changing surgery as the only option.

What Did The Cancer Misdiagnosis Settlement Include?

The cancer misdiagnosis payout took into account the severity of the injuries, ie. the need for surgery which previously may not have been required. As well as the previously mentioned symptoms, the operation also lead to the woman having her tonsils removed as well as the area of her throat surrounding this removed, including her voice box and tongue. This left the claimant unable to talk. It also meant that she was extremely restricted in eating and drinking. She would now no longer be able to eat solid foods.

Whilst the claim noted that any compensation would not be able to repair the damage which had been caused by undiagnosed cancer, nor could it mitigate her condition, it would help to provide her financial help for the future. The claim also included damages for the suffering and pain that she was going through. The settlement of £500,000 included loss of earnings, out-of-pocket expenses as well as medical care. This compensation for delayed cancer diagnosis helped the claimant to rebuild her life.

What’s The Average Payout For A Cancer Misdiagnosis?

Though there is no average payout for a compensation claim, as each case is assessed individually, this section includes potential compensation amounts that could be awarded in cases of cancer misdiagnosis. The table below shows figures from the Judicial College Guidelines, a document used by legal professionals to help value general damages in personal injury claims.

Brain DamageVery Severe£282,010 to £403,990The person may be able to follow some basic commands, but they will require full-time nursing care and there will be little if any evidence of any meaningful response to their environment.
Kindey(A)£169,400 to £210,400The complete loss of or serious permanent damage to both kidneys.
Kidney(C)£30,770 to £44,880One kidney is lost with the other suffering no damage.
Bladder(A)Up to £184,200Cases involving double incontinence with the complete loss or natural bowel and urinary function with other medical complications.
Bowels(B)Up to £150,110A complete loss of the natural bowel function, with a dependence on a colostomy depending on the person's age.
Lung Disease(A)£100,670 to £135,920A serious disability in a young person with progressive worsening and premature death.
Lung Disease(B)£70,030 to £97,330Typically in older claimants. Will cause severe pain and impair quality of life and lung function.

You could also potentially claim special damages as part of your claim, to compensate you for any specific financial costs relating to your accident or injury. This could include loss of earnings or medical expenses.

Get in touch with our team at any time for more information on what you could claim. Alternatively, you can use our online compensation calculator tool.

Time Limit For Cancer Misdiagnosis Claims

If you are eligible to make a cancer misdiagnosis claim, you must start proceedings before the time limit expires. This is set out by the Limitation Act 1980, which, for medical negligence claims, gives 3 years from the date of the incident or 3 years from the date of knowledge. This is the date you first realised or would have been expected to realise that medical negligence occurred.

However, in certain circumstances, there are some exceptions to this limitation period. These include:

  • Children under the age of 18 cannot bring forward their own claim for cancer misdiagnosis compensation. The time limit is paused until their 18th birthday. Before turning 18, a court-appointed litigation friend can start the legal process on their behalf. If they turn 18 without a claim having been made for them, they will have 3 years from the date of their 18th birthday to file one.
  • Those without the mental capacity to handle legal proceedings for themselves have an indefinite suspension applied to the limitation period. During this suspension, a litigation friend can bring forward their claim. Should they regain this capacity without legal proceedings having been started, they will have 3 years from that date to start the process.

Direct any questions you may have about the average payout for cancer misdiagnosis or anything else about the medical negligence claims process to one of our advisors.

What Evidence Can Support A Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim?

If you are seeking cancer misdiagnosis compensation, you will need to obtain sufficient evidence to support your claim. It could help prove that a medical professional breached their duty of care, and you suffered avoidable harm as a result.

Here are a few examples of the evidence that could be useful in a cancer misdiagnosis claim:

  • X-ray, scan or test results. For example, if you weren’t sent for the appropriate tests, the cancer could have spread due to a delayed diagnosis.
  • A copy of your medical records, which illustrate the harm you suffered as well as the additional treatment you required.
  • Witness contact information. For example, you may have brought someone with you to your appointments. They can be contacted at a later date for a statement.

In addition, your medical negligence claim may be put to the Bolam test. This is when a panel of relevantly trained medical experts will examine the actions of the professionals who treated you and judge whether this treatment was negligent.

If you have any questions about what evidence could support your claim, speak with one of the advisors from our team.

Make A No Win No Fee Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim

If you are eligible to make a medical negligence claim for cancer misdiagnosis compensation, you may like to do so with legal representation. If so, one of our medical negligence solicitors could support your case. They usually use a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) to provide their services. This is a type of No Win No Fee agreement.

When your solicitor works under the terms of a CFA, they typically won’t charge for their services upfront. There also won’t be any ongoing service charges. Furthermore, they also won’t charge you for their work on your case if you’re not awarded compensation following an unsuccessful cancer misdiagnosis claim.

However, if your case has a successful outcome, your solicitor will deduct a success fee from your compensation. This amount is a legally limited percentage.

Contact a member of our team today to see if you could be eligible to work with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors. They can be reached by:

Useful Links On Cancer Misdiagnosis Claims

Below, you can find more useful information on cancer misdiagnosis claims:

Misdiagnosis Of Cancer Claims – Find out more information about making a claim for compensation if you have been misdiagnosed or undiagnosed with cancer.

Medical Negligence Claims – Have you experienced medical negligence by a GP, consultant or other practitioner? View our guide to see if you are entitled to compensation.

NHS Negligence Claims – If you suffered medical negligence due to the NHS, find out here how you could potentially claim.

If you have any further queries about claiming for a cancer misdiagnosis, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at any time.

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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.