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How To Make A Misdiagnosis Claim

By Stephen Traynor. Last updated 4th October 2021. Experiencing a medical misdiagnosis when we attend a GP appointment or visit the hospital can have significant consequences.

We may not get the treatment we need, meaning our injury or illness could worsen. If it involved something like a misdiagnosis of cancer, it could make the difference between survival or death.

Most of us have complete faith in our doctor’s diagnosis and treatment recommendations. We never for a second doubt that it could be wrong. Yet in just one year, it was reported in NHS Resolution’s Annual Report and Accounts 2020/21 that a staggering £2.26 billion was spent on settling clinical negligence claims for that year alone.

In this guide, we’ll examine medical misdiagnosis claims and the situations within which they could be justified.

If you have any questions while reading this guide, please call us on the number at the top of this page, write to us about your potential claim online, or chat now using our live chat function.

To learn more, please click through the sections below.

Select a Section

  1. What is medical misdiagnosis?
  2. How do you prove misdiagnosis?
  3. Types of clinical negligence misdiagnosis claims
  4. Can I make misdiagnosis claims on behalf of someone else?
  5. How much compensation can I claim for a misdiagnosis?
  6. Why do medical misdiagnoses occur?
  7. When could you claim compensation?
  8. Statute of limitations for filing medical negligence compensation claims
  9. Who is the misdiagnosis claim against?
  10. What do you need to file a successful claim?
  11. Calculating the compensation claim for misdiagnosis
  12. Understanding No Win No Fee agreements
  13. Contact our team
  14. Misdiagnosis claims FAQs

What Is Medical Misdiagnosis?

A medical misdiagnosis claim is a type of medical negligence claim you could make if your healthcare provider failed to uphold their duty of care to you. These diagnosis claims could be due to medical malpractice, for example, failing to spot symptoms of an illness that would have been spotted if professional guidelines were properly followed, resulting in unnecessary negligent delays. Please contact us today for specialist legal advice.

How Do You Prove Misdiagnosis?

The most important part of making a successful medical misdiagnosis claim is proving that the medical professional in question was negligent towards their duty of care to you. Negligence or a breach of duty can be identified by substandard care or inability to follow professional guidelines, resulting in a lack of competency normally expected from another practitioner.

To have grounds to claim compensation for any resulting suffering, you must be able to demonstrate that the action or inaction from your medical practitioner was responsible for causing you unnecessary pain, injury, or suffering.

Within this guide, we will address how a misdiagnosis claim could be a suitable course of action. More importantly, we will discuss the claims process and how a personal injury solicitor could assist you in taking legal action.

Types of clinical negligence misdiagnosis claims

misdiagnosis claims

When it comes to clinical negligence claims, there are essentially three categories of claims – total misdiagnosis in which the symptoms are not diagnosed at all, wrongful diagnosis in which the symptoms are incorrectly diagnosed and late diagnosis in which the symptoms are diagnosed beyond a reasonable time lapse. All of this may influence your potential delayed treatment compensation amount.

Claims for a total misdiagnosis – This type of error is also known as a missed diagnosis. When a medical practitioner fails to recognise an existing condition or illness symptoms, it is called a complete or missed misdiagnosis. The patient does not receive the necessary treatment without a diagnosis, resulting in a progressively worsening condition, leading to more prolonged treatment and longer recovery times.

Other types of claims

Claims for a wrongful diagnosis – Another type of misdiagnosis claim are those made for wrongful diagnosis. A wrongful diagnosis can create two types of scenarios. In some cases, the patient’s symptoms are wrongly identified, and the patient mistakenly undergoes a treatment that was not needed. The most common examples are patients who get an organ or tissue removed after a wrongful diagnosis or patients who undergo chemotherapy unnecessarily.

In other cases, while the patient receives treatment for a condition that does not exist, their actual condition goes treated, resulting in the patient requiring more extensive treatment. There is also the psychological element to be considered from being told that they are seriously ill, which in fact, it is not the correct diagnosis.

Claims for delayed diagnosis – When the symptoms are not diagnosed in time, the patient’s condition progresses and is only diagnosed when it has reached an advanced stage. A delayed diagnosis or delayed treatment causes the patient to suffer unnecessarily, and when treatment eventually begins, the recovery time tends to be longer. In some cases, depending on the condition, it can also impact the patient’s life expectancy.

Can I make misdiagnosis claims on behalf of someone else?

If a relative suffers as a result of a medical misdiagnosis, they could receive compensation. And depending on what the correct diagnosis is, it could be that the victim receives delayed treatment compensation. So, in many cases, the next step would be to file a claim.

However, if they’re unable to do so for themselves, you could be able to make legal proceedings on their behalf by assuming the role of their litigation friend. By assuming this role, you could be able to claim on behalf of a loved one, whether it’s a friend, relative or someone in your care.

You may wish to act as a litigation friend in one instance on your child’s behalf. As the minimum age to make legal proceedings is 18, you can seek compensation on their behalf if they’re entitled to compensation but aren’t yet old enough to claim it. This way, you can secure their payout in a trust, which can be accessed to cover costs related to damage resulting from their misdiagnosis.

To learn more about making misdiagnosis claims on behalf of someone else, please get in touch about your case today for some free legal advice from our specialist advisors. In the meantime, please read on.

How much compensation can I claim for a misdiagnosis?

The table below shows some compensation estimates for general damages of misdiagnosis claims per the Judicial College Guidelines. They provide a rough estimate of how much compensation you could be able to claim for certain injuries, whether physical or psychological, based on their severities:

Mental AnguishUp to £4,380Fear of impending death or harm.
DeathFull Awareness£11,770 to £22,350A state of full awareness but death still occurs after two weeks.
DeathSerious UnconsciousUp to to £2,620A situation where unconsciousness happens and leads to death within one week
DeathUnconscious£3,530 to £4,120A situation where unconsciousness leads to death within six weeks of injury.
Brain InjuryMinorUp to £11,980Minor injury to the brain enough to cause problems
MisdiagnosisMinor£3,180 to £19,170A delay in diagnosing the likes of ectopic pregnancy, but the impact isn't significant, such as fertility not being affected.
MisdiagnosisSevere£31,950 to £95,850Infertility arising from a failure to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy.
IllnessMinor£860 to £3,710A minor illness arising from the likes of a medication error. Symptoms resolve in full in a short space of time with no lasting symptoms.
IllnessSevere£36,060 to £49,270Severe toxicosis, requiring hospital admission. Some effects may be permanent.
ParalysisQuadriplegic£304,630 to £379,100Can lead to permanent deformity as a result of the injury sustained.
ParalysisParaplegia£205,580 to £266,740Loss of mobility impacting life expectancy & sexual function
ParalysisParaplegia£42,090Shorter durations of paraplegic symptoms

If your injury isn’t in this table, this doesn’t mean you can’t claim for it. Please get in touch today to consult with one of our medical misdiagnosis solicitors and receive some free and impartial legal advice on proceeding. Start your claim for the compensation that you deserve at any time by contacting us.

Why do medical misdiagnoses occur?

There are several reasons why medical misdiagnoses occur. Though one of the most common reasons people make misdiagnosis claims is negligence, this is not always the case.

A medical diagnosis may occur because a doctor did not thoroughly investigate the symptoms presented or because the doctor did not perform the correct tests that may have led to the disease being identified.

The likelihood of misdiagnosis is higher when the patient is attended to by unsupervised junior medical staff or because the doctor did not have the necessary experience in that particular speciality.

Another common cause of misdiagnosis is wrongfully interpreting diagnostic tests such as X Rays, smears, biopsies, MRI scans, tissue samples and biopsies. Any of these scenarios could allow you to claim delayed treatment compensation successfully.

When could you claim compensation?

You may be eligible to make a claim for compensation if the pain and suffering you are experiencing are more than what you would experience with a correct diagnosis of your condition. Also, this should be due to a medical professional’s misdiagnosis and should be no fault of yours.

Statute of limitations for filing medical negligence compensation claims

There are particular statutes of limitations with regards to filing a compensation claim for medical misdiagnosis. As a general rule about the time limit, you must file the claim within 3 years of the date when the error occurred.

It could be that there was a considerable time lapse between your first visit to the doctor and the second visit when the misdiagnosis becomes noticeable. In this case, you must file the claim within 3 years from the date you discover that your injuries or worsening health issues are due to a missed or late diagnosis.

The deadline extends only under a few specific circumstances. Please read on or get in touch today for free legal advice to learn more about misdiagnosis claims.

Who is the misdiagnosis claim against?

You must file a medical misdiagnosis claim against the hospital or GP surgery that you first consulted with.

If the consultation and treatment happen in an NHS hospital, the claim should be against the NHS Trust in question.

If the consultation happens in a private clinic, your misdiagnosis claim is against the medical practitioner in question or their insurance company.

What do you need to file successful misdiagnosis claims?

According to the law, all healthcare professionals owe their patients a duty of care. The most critical factor in filing a successful medical misdiagnosis claim is establishing the medical professional’s negligence towards you. In other words, you will need to prove that there was a breach of duty.

Negligence or breach of duty happens when the standard of care is below that of another professional.

Your personal injury lawyer must demonstrate that the lack of treatment or, in some misdiagnosis cases, the treatment you receive is responsible for causing you unnecessary pain, injury, or suffering.

It is important to remember that even if you can prove negligence, you may not receive any compensation if your symptoms did not worsen despite the wrongful treatment or lack of treatment. The main clause for winning the claim is that the misdiagnosis should have caused or worsened your condition or illness. And this would allow you to achieve delayed treatment compensation successfully.

Calculating the compensation claim for misdiagnosis

misdiagnosis claims

No one amount is awarded to all claimants in medical negligence cases. The amount you receive depends on several different factors, such as:

  • The nature of your illness
  • Also, the severity of your injury
  • The unnecessary pain and suffering you’re enduring because of wrongful medical treatment.
  • Additionally, the length of time that your recovery time extends by
  • The overall impact that medical negligence has on your quality of life
  • If there are any changes to your life expectancy due to the misdiagnosis

In the case of medical negligence, you can make a personal injury claim for two types of damages. These are general and special.

Under general damages, you can claim compensation for the pain, disability, and suffering you may have experienced because of the misdiagnosis.

Under special damages, you can claim compensation for all expenses directly due to the medical misdiagnosis. This includes doctor’s fees, cost of diagnostic tests, treatment and medications, loss of earnings, cost of personal care and transportation expenses to and from the hospital for treatment. Your claim could also cover home care if necessary, as well as any structural modifications to your home or vehicle.

Understanding No Win No Fee Agreements

So let’s say that you intend to go ahead and file a compensation claim for medical negligence. Now, it is always advisable to hire a personal injury lawyer instead of pursuing the case yourself. If you have a strong case, most personal injury lawyers will agree to help you out on a No Win No Fee basis. This means you do not have to pay any legal fees upfront.

The lawyer will file the case and represent you in court without charging you anything. You only pay after the case ends and only if the lawyer wins the misdiagnosis claim for you. The amount that you are due to pay will be a percentage of the total compensation.

Contact us today for some free legal advice. Alternatively, read our No Win No Fee guide on how our service could help you.

Contact Our Team

After taking the time to read our delayed treatment compensation guide, you may have additional questions relating to your medical negligence claim. If so, you could contact our team as they can help you to start your misdiagnosis claims.

Our medical negligence solicitors can offer free legal advice of no obligation. To speak with our team about working with misdiagnosis solicitors, please use one of the following quick and easy methods:

Misdiagnosis Claims FAQs

Could you claim misdiagnosis compensation?

Claiming compensation for a misdiagnosis comes under general damages, as this covers any pain and suffering if a doctor failed to diagnose you properly.

Can you sue for a misdiagnosis?

You can file a claim against the doctor in question for a misdiagnosis. Note that there are very rare cases of accident claims against leading specialists and nurses.

How do you prove misdiagnosis?

To have grounds to make a medical misdiagnosis claim, what do you need to prove? Well, that another doctor acting with appropriate attention to detail mightn’t misdiagnose you in the manner that your doctor has.

What should you do when you receive a misdiagnosis?

If you are affected by a missed/late diagnosis, you should gather information to understand the situation. And you should focus on the symptoms rather than diagnosing an injury and mention everything of relevance. Each element plays a key role in the validity and potential success of any misdiagnosis claims.

What classes as a misdiagnosis?

This type of error can occur while a medical professional is providing a prognosis based on symptoms. The prognosis could prove to be incorrect, with the condition being something different.

The condition a patient has could prove to be something worse than what was initially diagnosed, which can have serious consequences for the patient. This can especially apply with issues such as brain injuries or a cancer misdiagnosis.

What happens if a doctor misdiagnosed you?

The doctor could then be liable for malpractice. But it’s important to have clear evidence supporting this allegation.

How long does it take to settle a negligence claim?

The usual period of settling such a claim is between 18 months and 2 years. But some claims could stretch to 3-4 years if they have to go to court.

What are the 4 D’s of medical negligence?

These are Duty, then Deviation, along with Direct Causation and also Damages.

Thank you for reading our guide on how to make misdiagnosis claims. We hope you now have a greater understanding when it comes to delayed treatment compensation.

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