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Delayed Treatment Medical Negligence Claims Guide – How To Claim Compensation For Medical Negligence Delay In Treatment

By John Bowes. Last Updated 14th April 2021. This is our updated guide to delayed treatment compensation claims. In it, you can learn more about making a delayed treatment medical negligence claim if you were harmed by a treatment delay. 

Medical professionals whether working under the NHS or privately, have a duty of care to provide a health care service that meets government expected standards, including providing care and treatment in a timely manner. When a patient’s treatment is delayed, it can result in further pain and suffering for the patient as well as sometimes causing other complications that cannot be reversed and sometimes can result in devastating consequences. A delay in treatment may occur for a variety of reasons such as an illness or injury failing to be recognised, or misdiagnosed as something else, a pro-longed wait for surgery, wrong medication is given or not being referred when necessary. Avoidable harm suffered resulting from a negligent delay in treatment could potentially happen in a hospital, GP surgery, A&E department, dental surgery or any other healthcare setting.

If you or someone you love has suffered due to a medical negligence delay in treatment, you may be able to claim compensation. Having the right legal help, guidance and representation can increase the likelihood of your claim being successful. Legal Expert is a team of experienced personal injury solicitors that can help you to secure the compensation you deserve. You can contact us on 0800 073 8804 to establish whether you have a valid claim and if so, get your claim started today.

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A Guide To Claims For Medical Negligence Delay In Treatment

Delayed treatment medical negligence claims guide

Delayed treatment medical negligence claims guide

Although having a personal injury lawyer to make your claim on your behalf is recommended to get the best outcome, it also helps to have some knowledge about compensation claims for delay of medical treatment, what is required and what a medical negligence claim actually involves. This guide will provide you with further information on delayed treatment compensation claims. 

This guide has been produced in order to provide lots of useful information for someone considering making a medical negligence claim. The information includes what is classed as a delay in treatment and what may cause it to happen, what complications and problems may arise from negligent delay in treatment, and which health care establishments might medical malpractice delayed treatment occur. The guide also looks at what can be included in your claim for clinical negligence and how much compensation you may be awarded if successful. Lastly, the guide also provides information on how to start your claim and how using a no win no fee personal injury solicitor can be beneficial.

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. 

Negligent Delays In Treatment Which Cause Illnesses To Spread

Although with some cases where medical treatment is delayed, the error can be rectified and the patient eventually returning to normal health, sometimes a delay in treatment could potentially cause certain illnesses such as meningitis, cancer or sepsis, for example, to worsen or spread further throughout the body potentially resulting in devastating consequences and possible loss of life. Many illnesses and/or diseases are ‘time-sensitive‘ whereby they need to be dealt with as soon as possible, the earlier the better to prevent further complications and ill health.

For instance, the NHS has a target that 85% of NHS trusts should start treatment within 62 days of being urgently referred by their GP. As the graph below from the NHS Key Statistics report for February 2020 shows, 75% of trusts aren’t meeting this target.

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.

If you had been given the correct treatment in time, it may be possible that your condition may not have worsened and you might have made a full recovery, of course, this isn’t guaranteed, but you may have had the chance to get better, or at the very least have a longer life expectancy.

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 treatment 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.

Where Could A Negligent Delay In Treatment Happen?

Medical negligence delay in treatment could happen in any healthcare setting. If someone’s health worsens due to medical negligence, regardless of where it happened, they may be entitled to claim compensation for their pain and suffering. Delayed treatment in healthcare may happen in the following places:

  • GP Surgery – Generally we visit our GP as something appears to be wrong with our health and we want to find out what it is and have it treated before it gets worse. From ear infections to chickenpox, stomach upsets or mysterious lumps for example, whatever health concern we are visiting the GP about, we have a right to expect a good standard level of care. Our GP should be able to either diagnose the problem, or know when something needs a referral for more specialist investigation, and treat accordingly. If our GP fails to correctly recognise the symptoms of an illness, make a referral or misdiagnoses what is wrong leading to a delay in treatment, they could be deemed negligent in their duty of care.
  • Hospital – Hospitals are generally busy places with all sorts of medical practices going on in the many departments throughout the hospital. There are many ways in which negligent healthcare could result in a delay in treatment in a hospital such as:
  • Medical staff being overworked and overtired leading to negligent errors
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Wrong treatment is given
  • Procedure booking error
  • Failure to correctly interpret x-rays, scans, blood test results, or other investigative procedural results
  • Failure to recognise symptoms of a serious nature

A delay in treatment could lead to minor problems that can later be rectified, but a delay in treatment could possibly result in catastrophic consequences that can have a lifelong impact.

  • A&E Department – A&E departments are very often extremely busy places with patients being admitted for numerous different reasons. A delay in A&E treatment could have serious consequences as being an emergency department, treatment is very often needed urgently in an attempt to stop any further ill health, pain or suffering for the patients. In accident & emergency departments, people with life-threatening illnesses and injuries get admitted and prompt medical care and treatment are needed to prevent loss of life. A delay due to misdiagnosis, misinterpreting test results or failing to recognise an urgent case, for example, can, therefore, lead to treatment being delayed possibly resulting in fatal consequences.

If you or a loved one has received below the expected standard of care in an NHS or private healthcare setting resulting in a delay in treatment, you may be eligible to make a claim for delayed treatment compensation.

Could You Claim For A Negligent Delay In Treatment?

In order to make a successful medical negligence claim, you need to be able to prove that you or a loved one was caused further injury or harm because of a delay in treatment and that this delay could have been avoided had you not been treated with negligence. Patients have a right to a good standard level of care in any healthcare setting, regardless of whether it is a private setting or under the NHS.

If the medical professionals treat you negligently resulting in a delay in treatment for your illness or injury, and your condition worsens, or other conditions occur in relation to your delay in treatment, you may be able to make a claim providing you can prove that you have suffered due to the delay in treatment. Contact us about delayed treatment compensation claims. 

Compensation Calculator For Medical Negligence Delays In Treatment (April 2021)

Personal injury claims award amounts vary from case to case and no one claim is ever the same, even when the circumstances surrounding the injury are similar, this is because the final amount awarded depends on numerous factors. Baring this in mind, we cannot say exactly how much you could be awarded should your case be successful, however, we can show the payment amounts for certain injuries and how severe they are:

Reason For CompensationAmountComments
AsthmaUp to £61,710Mild asthma to permanent disabling asthma.
Bowel injuriesUp to £172,860From some permanent damage but returning to natural function to total loss of natural function.
Brain damageUp to £379,100From minor head injuries to very severe brain damage.
Chest injuriesUp to £140,870From minor rib or soft-tissue injuries to industrial diseases.
Deafness/TinnitusUp to £102,890From slight noise induced hearing loss to total deafness
Female reproductive systemUp to £158,970Covers scenarios such as a delay in diagnosing ectopic pregnancy but where fertility has not been affected to infertility.
Kidney injuriesUp to £197,480The loss of one kidney to serious and permanent damage to both kidneys/loss of both kidneys.
Male reproductive system£144,420+Total loss of reproductive organs.
Neck injuriesUp to £139,210From minor neck injuries where a recovery is made within three months to severe neck injuries such as permanent spastic quadriparesis.
Psychiatric damageUp to £108,620Minor damage to very severe psychiatric damage such as from sexual or physical abuse.
Loss of smellUp to £30,870Injuries of this nature are usually associated with brain injury or infection.
Loss of taste Up to £23,460Injuries of this nature are usually related to brain injury or infection.

If you’d like to discuss your case in more detail, please speak with us at Legal Expert and we will try to assist you in this matter.

Examples Of Special Damages Which May Be Claimed

As mentioned above in the guide, the final amount of delayed treatment compensation awarded is made up of numerous items all unique to each individual case, these include:

  • General Damages – These represent the amount of compensation awarded for the actual injury or illness itself, both physical and/or psychological. The amount awarded will depend on the severity of the injury and the level of pain, suffering and life disruption the claimant has experienced as well as whether there are any long term effects.
  • Travel Expenses – If the claimant has incurred any expenses in relation to travel as a direct consequence of their injury or illness, these can be included in the claim.
  • Medical Expenses – If the claimant has incurred any expenses in relation to medical care or treatment as a direct consequence of their injury or illness, these can be included in the claim.
  • Care Claim – Any extra costs for needing help around the home whilst the claimant recovers can be included in the claim.
  • Loss Of Income – Any income lost, or future income that will be lost due to the claimant’s injury can be included.

No Win No Fee Claims For Negligent Delays In Medical Treatment

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. 

Start Your Claim

Legal Expert has an experienced team of medical negligence solicitors that are experts in their field and can help you to get the compensation you deserve. We work on a no win no fee basis and offer fantastic customer service. During an initial free consultancy session with one of our lawyers, you can discuss the details surrounding your case and ask us any questions about claiming compensation that you may have, and we can use this time to gather the facts involved to determine whether you have a valid claim. Should you indeed have a valid treatment delay claim, we will most likely offer to make the claim on your behalf and then set to work immediately gathering all of the required evidence and information to build a strong case.

We always aim to get the maximum amount of compensation for our clients in a quick but efficient manner, keeping them informed every step of the way.

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

Essential References

Advice For Claimants – This NHS guide gives advice on what you can do if you’ve been treated negligently in the NHS.

NHS Complaints – Here you will find guidance on how to complain to the NHS.

Misdiagnosis Claims – If you have suffered a delay in treatment due to a misdiagnosis, this guide may be useful.

Wrong Medication Negligence  – This guide written by Legal Expert covers medical negligence claims involving being given the wrong medication.

Blood Test Result Errors –  A guide by Legal Expert explaining how to claim for blood test results errors.

GP Error And Delayed Diagnosis – An updated guide on claiming for mistakes and errors by a GP.

Hospital Negligence – An updated guide on claiming for mistakes and errors in a hospital.

NHS Waiting Times – Information on waiting times for medical care at hospitals in England.

Delayed Treatment Compensation FAQS

What are the causes of treatment delays?

Avoidable treatment delays are never acceptable. If a doctor, dentist or other professional diagnoses you with an injury or illness there should be no undue delays in you getting medical care. However, there are times when treatment delays do happen.

Possible causes of treatment delays could include;

  • Doctors failing to refer someone to a specialist practitioner.
  • A doctor failing to refer someone for specialist treatment.
  • IT systems failing.
  • Failing to follow up on the results of a test.
  • Delays to diagnosing a medical condition.

Whilst such circumstances could happen, they are still not acceptable reasons for your treatment to be delayed.

What are the time limits to claim for delayed treatment?

As with any personal injury claim, there are time limits for a claim to be made. When making a claim for delays to your medical care, patients will generally have three years from the date the medical negligence happened, or when you became aware of the injury.

When making a claim for those under the age of 18, the time limit will run until their eighteenth birthday. At this point, the claimant then has three years to make the claim on their own behalf.

How long does it take to settle a medical negligence case?

It’s difficult to say. Like the amount of compensation your claim will be worth, the length of time that your claim will take will be dependant on a number of different factors, like the complexity of your case and whether you have a solicitor acting on your behalf.

What is a breach of duty of care?

A duty of care is someone’s responsibility to, as far as is reasonably practicable, ensure your safety by adhering to the standard of care that they’re expected to adhere to.

Will my medical negligence claim go to court?

Usually, no, but it is possible. In 2019/20, over 70% of claims handled by NHS Resolutions were settled without going to trial.

Can I claim medical negligence on someone else’s behalf?

In some cases, yes. As well as being able to claim for a child under the age of 18, you can also claim on behalf of someone who lacks the mental capacity to claim for themselves as a litigation friend.

How can I strengthen my medical negligence claim?

The best way to ensure that you’re getting the compensation you deserve following your claim is to collect evidence. As well as evidence of the injuries that the delay in treatment has caused you, you should keep receipts and invoices for any special damages you’ve incurred, like travel or care costs.

Written By Kelly.

Edited By Melissa.

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