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How Much Compensation Can I Claim For Cancer Misdiagnosis Claims? 2020 – Update

By Michael Patrick. Last Updated 28th January 2021. Welcome to our guide which looks at how much compensation for a misdiagnosis of cancer you could receive in a medical negligence claim. It’s only natural to trust your doctor and expect them to make a correct and timely diagnosis. However, in reality, doctors occasionally misdiagnose cases – including cancer – and this can have life-changing and even tragic consequences. If you have suffered from a cancer misdiagnosis, then you could have grounds to make a claim. After all, a cancer misdiagnosis can have a life-changing, and in some cases, devastating effects.

A misdiagnosis is actually a form of medical negligence, and appropriate legal action may be taken to determine who is responsible and how it happened. Misdiagnosis is said to have occurred when the attending physician has failed to read and interpret your test results correctly, has not examined you thoroughly and properly and hasn’t referred you to a specialist for a second opinion. These are the principal causes of medical misdiagnosis cases.

If you feel that you too have been an unfortunate victim of such misdiagnosis and that you are owed compensation, read on.

Select a section:

A Guide to Cancer Misdiagnosis Claims

All medical professionals are bound by their ‘duty of care’. This ensures that they have to provide a prescribed and acceptable level of care to you as a patient and do their utmost to protect you from harm. You are legally entitled to receive reasonable care standards and – should your doctors or other associated health professionals fail to maintain that standard – they may be guilty of committing a breach of this “duty of care.” This would actually amount to medical negligence on their part and, as a result, you may be entitled to claim for compensation.

In this guide, we will outline the various ways in which you might be able to claim for compensation. From discussing the definitions of misdiagnosis to explaining the benefits of working with a legal team on the claim, the guide is designed to provide all of the essential information for those who have been affected by a cancer misdiagnosis.

What is Misdiagnosis?

Misdiagnosis is a term used when a qualified doctor provides an incorrect or delayed diagnosis of a particular medical condition, injury, or illness. This diagnostic error can result in inaccurate or delayed treatment or even no treatment at all. This leads to worsening of the patient’s condition and – in some situations – an untimely death. However, it should be understood that a mere diagnostic error alone is not typically enough to warrant a lawsuit for medical malpractice. This is because the law does not hold doctors responsible for all errors in diagnosis. Instead, as a patient, you have to prove three things to establish any claim. These are:

  • There was a doctor-patient relationship.
  • The attending doctor in question was actually negligent. This implies that they failed to provide treatment reasonably, skillfully, and competently.
  • The negligence on the doctor’s part caused injury to you.

A misdiagnosis alone does not imply negligence. The key lies in determining whether the physician or surgeon acted with full competence. This would require evaluating the doctor’s full procedure when arriving at a final diagnosis, such as differential diagnosis methods he used to arrive at a final conclusion.

As the patient, you need to prove that the doctor did not fully comply with the differential diagnosis list. This is something a reasonably competent and skilful physician would have done under the same circumstances. For example, even though your doctor made a correct diagnosis based on the differential diagnosis list, they did not carry out appropriate tests or consult specialists to investigate the diagnosis’s viability. Errors can include:

  • Diagnostic Test Errors: On occasion, doctors fail to diagnose a condition correctly because they are reliant on inaccurate test reports from pathological laboratories and radiological clinics. This can happen due to faulty diagnostic equipment or simply human error. In cases such as these, rather than the doctor, the diagnostic laboratory or clinic may be deemed medically negligent.
  • Misdiagnosis & the Harm Caused to the Patient: You also need to prove that your doctor’s negligence caused an injury or actually worsened your condition, which wouldn’t have happened if a correct diagnosis had been made in a timely manner.
  • Missed diagnosis: Your physician gives you a clean bill of health when you have a disease or illness.
  • Delayed diagnosis: A correct diagnosis is made finally, albeit significantly delayed—the most common diagnostic error.
  • Failure to diagnose complications & related diseases: Your physician diagnoses your condition correctly, yet fails to identify factors that can aggravate your condition or illness. He may also diagnose one particular disease but fail to identify a related condition which poses a higher risk to you.
  • Misdiagnosis of unrelated disease: Your physician diagnoses the primary disease correctly, yet fails to diagnose an unrelated secondary disease.
  • Misdiagnosis in Emergencies: Misdiagnosis is more commonly experienced in emergencies. The lack of time to conduct necessary investigations before coming to conclusions is the primary reason for an incorrect or missed diagnosis that harms the patient more often than not. Heart attacks can often be misdiagnosed as a gastric problem, for example; stroke, meningitis, pulmonary embolism, and appendicitis are also often misdiagnosed.

If you feel that any of these factors have contributed to your case, feel free to discuss the matter with our legal team today.

Claiming for Misdiagnosis of Cancer

Lawsuits for cancer misdiagnosis cases can be filed in most courts in the UK. This is significant, as the UK possesses a growing number of breast cancer victims every year.

Cancer misdiagnosis claims may depend on whether your physician did not refer you to a specialist despite obvious symptoms, whether they did not perform or advise a biopsy, whether they clinically did not investigate your symptoms properly, or on whether they failed to advise appropriate CT or MRI scans.

Claiming Against the NHS for Misdiagnosis of Cancer

Healthcare provided by the NHS (or National Health Service) in the UK is usually of the highest standard. However, occasionally things do go wrong, and misdiagnosis NHS cases surface in tribunals and courts. Legal action is advised if the misdiagnosis has resulted in an injury to you

Cancer misdiagnosis

Cancer misdiagnosis

or any of your family members. If the victim died prematurely because of a misdiagnosis or is unable to initiate legal action by themselves because they are incapable, the same course of action is advised to the plaintiff. The NHSLA or NHS Litigation Authority takes care of such cases, and less than 2% of such cases are settled in court.

Special schemes for compensation from the NHS are available. You may even receive compensation under these without needing to go to court. Claims against the NHS may be made on the following grounds:

  • Failure on the NHS healthcare professional’s part to correctly diagnose your condition.
  • An error made during an operation or invasive procedure.
  • Administration of incorrect medication.
  • Failure to obtain your informed consent for treatment or failure to warn you about its risks.
  • Your treatment fell below acceptable standards and resulted in direct injury to you.

Compensation can be claimed for pain and suffering; ongoing treatment; inability to perform professional activities; earnings loss; the cost of auxiliary equipment or personal care; home adaptation and psychological damage suffered.

Claiming for a Late Diagnosis of Cancer

Late diagnosis or delayed treatment of cancer can arise from your doctor’s failure to diagnose your condition in time, leading to unnecessary delays in treating it. Alternately, they may have diagnosed your condition but didn’t act promptly enough. You can always claim compensation for delayed cancer diagnosis and treatment if such a delay has caused further suffering to you.

This is because the law stipulates that the doctor is legally bound to start the appropriate treatment once the diagnosis is made. If it isn’t, they could be guilty of negligent delay. The late diagnosis implies insufficient action taken to treat any medical condition promptly. This could also include incidents where – even though the diagnosis was quick – the attending physician did not refer the patient to the right specialist quickly enough.

It also encompasses situations in which prompt medication wasn’t given, or the required tests weren’t done. Since both scenarios could have severe consequences for your suffering, you can also claim compensation on these grounds. If the late diagnosis has been established, get in touch with a competent lawyer so that we get you the right cancer misdiagnosis settlement.

Is there a Time Limit for Making a Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim?

The time limit extends to three years after you become aware of the misdiagnosis. However, there are exceptions: if you are under the age of 18, your three-year limit starts on your 18th birthday. Or, if you have any mental illness, you can stake a claim within three years of recovering from your illness.

However, it’s important to note that this doesn’t imply three years from the time of the actual treatment. In certain circumstances, people face a substantial delay until the negative results of misdiagnosis start showing. The time limit begins from the moment the misdiagnosis becomes apparent.

Cancer Misdiagnosis Facts and Statistics

Within this section of the guide, we have taken the time to include some statistics relating to Cancer in the UK. However, please note that the information provided is not directly in relation to misdiagnosis and negligence.

According to Cancer Research UK,  the mortality rate relating to cancer from 2015-2017 is 164,901. Here are some more cancer facts provided by Cancer Research UK:

  • Cancer causes more than one in four of all deaths.
  • More than a quarter (28%) of all deaths in the UK are in relation to cancer.
  • Every four minutes someone in the UK dies of cancer.
  • In makes, there were around 88,9000 cancer deaths.
  • 77,700 cancer deaths are women.

If you are one of a minority of people who do not believe your medical care was adequate, you may be owed compensation.

Medical Professionals Duty of Care

All medical professionals are legally bound to provide the best medical treatment possible, in order to give relief to any patient officially under their care and – where a special doctor-patient relationship has developed – this is often based entirely on trust. In other words, once the doctor has voluntarily taken on the responsibility to come to his patient’s aid, he becomes liable for any injury that may result from any negligence that arises during the performance of his professional duties.

In legal parlance, the duty of care arises when a proper doctor-patient relationship has been established. The onus then lies on the doctor to provide such treatment and care with a degree of diligence and skill. The “circumstances” suggest the physician’s specialisation, accepted treatment practices, facilities, and equipment available during the course of treatment are also exigent circumstances pertaining to the medical service or treatment given.

There is also the notion of vicarious liability, wherein the negligent physician may not be the only party at fault. The hospital where the patient was treated may be vicariously liable for negligence. This can hold the employer liable for any negligence on its employees’ part. The attending physician may also be held liable for negligence by any staff and assistants who work on their orders, including medical students and interns. However, to ascertain that there was indeed a breach of the duty of care, you may require dedicated legal assistance.

What Different Reasons for a Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim are there?

Stories are often heard in the UK of the NHS paying out millions in cancer misdiagnosis compensation amounts. The most common reasons include:

Delayed care: This is worsening illness conditions and even increasing fatalities. Increasing waiting times for patients have delayed emergency surgery or medical treatment of life-threatening illnesses for patients by weeks and even months.

Misdiagnosis: Where misdiagnosis is involved, a patient may have to wait for weeks and months before receiving the correct diagnosis and proper treatment. The wrong treatment hinders recovery and causes more problems. A spiralling problem, which may not be life-threatening always. Misdiagnosed infections and fractures are more common. Most attending doctors being pressed for time are routinely missing vital things.

Medication Errors: The patient has either been prescribed the wrong medication or the wrong quantity.

These have been largely attributable to an overworked and overstressed healthcare staff of the NHS.

Are There Different Types of Cancer Misdiagnosis Negligence Claims?

There are four main types of negligence claims. These are:

  • Contributory negligence: The victim is partially responsible for their predicament. The quantity of blame to be shared by the medical practitioner and the victim will be determined and compensation awarded accordingly.
  • Vicarious liability: The claim is made against the hospital or clinic that employs the medical practitioner responsible for causing the alleged injury.
  • Gross negligence: Where the attending medical practitioner has made a gross error or shown a blatant disregard for the victim’s condition by ignoring the duty of care. In such cases, the defendant’s registration and license may be revoked. The most serious type of negligence.

Determining which one of the four categories best suits your claim will be one of the first undertakings when talking with a legal professional.

Assessing the Severity of a Cancer Misdiagnosis

Assessing the severity of misdiagnosis is never easy. However, this is possible after diagnostic errors are thoroughly audited with a proper description of their severity. The MSS or Misdiagnosis Severity Score may be used to work out the severity of a diagnostic error on a scale ranging from one to seven.

The basic procedure followed is to consider whether the treatment would differ had there been a correct diagnosis of the condition. Other factors like the anatomical severity of the injury; the potential for suffering, pain, morbidity, and mortality; and also the risks of complaint followed by legal action arising from the misdiagnosis are also taken into account. The MSS becomes a reliable tool when experienced doctors assess diagnostic error severity. However, it is a measure of a diagnostic error’s potential seriousness – involving both the hospital and the patient – and cannot be a tool for quantifying individual blame. Thus, it may only form a small part of the overall case. For more information, we offer a free legal consultation session for potential clients.

The Long-Term Effects of A Misdiagnosis

If inaccurate treatment is equal to ineffective treatment. The same logic applies to misdiagnosis, which inevitably results in inaccurate treatment that can be actually harmful in the long run.

You may receive the wrong medication, the adverse side effects of which may worsen your condition. It has been seen that patients have been given chemotherapy for misdiagnosed cancer, damaging their systems permanently. You are likely to suffer psychological trauma, excessive stress, or even depression after being diagnosed with a disease that you don’t actually have. The possibilities of incurring medical costs are also high for prolonged treatment of the wrong disease, leaving you ruined financially. In essence, the long-term effects of misdiagnosis are never pleasant and need to be suitably compensated.

What to do if you have been the Victim of A Misdiagnosis

As a victim of misdiagnosis, you may be entitled to compensation. However, it is important that you first ensure that you are receiving the correct medical care. Should there be the slightest doubt that your doctor is making an error or that his treatment isn’t working, have an open discussion with them. You may even ask your physician to refer you to a specialist.

Keep collecting all relevant evidence of misdiagnosis and how it has adversely affected you. This will prove invaluable in the event of a lawsuit. Get a third opinion, if necessary, and keep all records of statements and prescriptions given by all physicians and specialists. Keep supportive documentation of all financial losses sustained due to the misdiagnosis.

If you feel that there’s sufficient ground to file a suit, consult a solicitor. There is usually a 3-year time limit and the sooner you move, the better.

What can be claimed for if you have been a Victim of Cancer Misdiagnosis?

If you are in the process of claiming compensation following a cancer misdiagnosis, you may be curious as to what costs, expenses, and damages you can claim. These will vary from case to case but can include:

General damages: for disability, pain, and suffering experienced.

Special damages: for every expense incurred directly due to the misdiagnosis: income loss, for example, can be claimed back.

Medical expenses: for expenses such as equipment, medicine, or visits to private doctors.

Travel expenses: for travel between various entities as required by your course of treatment or misdiagnosis.

Every claim will be slightly different. If you would like a full breakdown of what you can claim, we recommend our free legal consultations.

No Win No Fee Claims:

An additional benefit that will provide some respite to you as a victim of misdiagnosis is that an expert lawyer will agree to fight for you on a ‘No Win No Fee’ basis. This approach can spare you the agony of huge legal expenses, especially when the litigation is not quickly resolved. This approach, known as a ‘Conditional Fee Agreement’, can be very useful in mitigating the risk involved in making a claim and ensuring you have access to the very best legal services available.

How Much Can I Claim for a Cancer Misdiagnosis?

Cancer misdiagnosis compensation amounts vary on a case-to-case basis. A misdiagnosis compensation calculator can give you a rough estimate of what you are likely to receive but this is most likely to be different from what a court finally awards. For instance, a final cancer misdiagnosis payout always varies from patient to patient and the range too is wide to predict.

Injury TypeSeverityAmountNotes
Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderLess Severe£3,710 to £7,680Less severe cases of PTSD would make a significant recovery within two years time.
Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderModeratley Severe£21,730 to £56,180PTSD of this nature would make great recovery with a professional, but significant impact of the individual.
Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderSevere £56,180 to £94,470PTSD of this nature would have a profound impact on the individual, as it would affect their professional and social life.
Psychiatric Damage GenerallyModerate £5,500 to £17,900While there may have been the sort of problems, great recovery would be made.
Psychiatric Damage GenerallySevere £51,460 to £108,620The injured person's ability to cope with life, education, and work;
the effect on the injured person's relationships with family, friends, and those with whom he or she comes into contact.

The information within the table above is provided by the Judicial College Guidelines and offers estimated figures. However, to receive a more estimated compensation amount, please contact us today.

How to Start a Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim

You are eligible to file a misdiagnosis cancer compensation claim if your legal counsel is convinced that your attending physician acted in a negligent manner in their professional duties towards you and there was a breach of the duty of care statute. This becomes apparent if you received a standard of care that is below the competency standard expected of a true professional operating in the field.

In order to file a claim, you will have to demonstrate that the wrong treatment caused you unnecessary injury, pain, or suffering. This is the principal cause of damages and compensation may not be awarded if your symptoms didn’t get worse despite wrongful treatment.

The claim has to be filed against your attending physician, surgeon, or hospital that you had your first consultation with. If a private clinic treated you wrongly, you sue the medical practitioner, its payroll who treated you, or its insurance company. Keep the 3-year time limit for filing the suit in mind, however.

If you would like to do this in the simplest, easiest possible fashion, we recommend working with a law firm. Call us for a free consultation and put your cancer misdiagnosis claim into motion.

Why choose us as your Claims Service for a Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim?

As legal professionals, we assure you that we are able to provide the best possible legal support, thanks to our panel of experts. We take a step-by-step approach by first assessing the merits of your case, then helping you collate the necessary evidence and representing you in all court matters.

As you are a victim of medical malpractice and are possibly undergoing treatment for cancer, we will try to make the entire process as simple and as easy as possible for you. If you are unhappy with the oncologist who is treating you, we may arrange for a consultation with a more competent specialist. Our first consultation is no obligation and free of cost. All you need is to call us or send us an email to initiate the process. For a law firm which is high on integrity and able to maximise your compensation total, we are the best choice.

Call for Free Advice and To Start a Claim

We are able to offer you the very best legal assistance on a ‘No Win No Fee’ basis. All you need to do is call our offices now and we’ll help you with your compensation for the misdiagnosis of cancer claim. You can get in touch by dialling 0800 073 8804 or by filling out the contact form for a free consultation with our panel of experts. We’re ready to make your compensation claim a reality.

Helpful Links

Feedback and complaints about the NHS in England

This NHS link provides you with information on how to file against the NHS. However, when you file a No Win No Fee claim through we will help file the claim with you along with your compensation claim.

Medical Negligence Compensation Claim Amounts.

Find out how much compensation you can claim for medical negligence in the UK.

Cancer – NHS Choices

This NHS link explains what is cancer and how it affects the body for more information visit the link.

Cancer Research UK – What Is Cancer?

Cancer is such a devastating thing also there are more than 200 different types of cancer. For more information on cancer and also to donate visit this cancer research website as its one of the UK’s main cancer charity websites.

Cancer Misdiagnosis FAQs

Can I sue for cancer misdiagnosis?

You could have grounds to make a claim if you have been the victim of a cancer misdiagnosis. However, in order to make a claim of this nature, you must be able to provide evidence that a medical professional failed to diagnose cancer due to negligence.

Can doctors miss cancer?

In short, yes. A Doctor can miss a cancer diagnosis for a variety of reasons. For instance, if a doctor fails to identify a patients symptoms, or if the doctor dismisses a patient’s concerns, then they could miss a diagnosis.

What can I do if a doctor misdiagnosed me?

If a doctor misdiagnosed you, then naturally, you may question if there are steps you can take? After experiencing a misdiagnosis, it can have a detrimental impact, and you could have grounds to make a claim. Please contact our team to speak with our team to learn how we could assist you.

Thank you for taking the time to read our guide to cancer misdiagnosis claims and how much compensation for misdiagnosis of cancer you might receive.

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