Medical Misdiagnosis Claims
When a medical condition is misdiagnosed, it can have a very serious impact on your health. You might have been given an incorrect diagnosis which meant you may have been given the wrong treatment with harmful side effects or other negative consequences. This may have also led to a delay in your correct diagnosis.
In such cases, making a medical misdiagnosis claim can be essential in assisting with your recovery and financial security. Compensation can help to pay for medical support and rehabilitation, as well as other types of ongoing losses you may have suffered as a result of the misdiagnosis, including replacing lost income.
At Barcan+Kirby, our leading medical negligence solicitors support clients across the UK from our offices in Bedminster, Bishopston, Bristol city centre, Kingswood and Thornbury. We can guide you through the whole process with empathy and sensitivity, while ensuring you get the best possible result for your claim.
Can I make a medical misdiagnosis claim?
To make a claim for misdiagnosis of a medical condition, you have to show that the misdiagnosis was caused by negligence on the part of clinical professionals who owed you a duty of care. You will also need to be able to show that your health has suffered as a result i.e. that you have suffered additional harm as a result of treatment for an incorrectly diagnosed condition.
We offer ‘no win, no fee’ funding, so you don’t need to be put off by the potential cost of making a medical misdiagnosis claim. You can read more about this in our guide to funding your medical negligence claim.
If you have already received advice or started a claim with another firm and are unhappy with how your claim is being progressed, you can speak to us about whether we can help.
Looking for more information about medical misdiagnosis claims? Please take a look at our medical misdiagnosis FAQs or get in touch to discuss your case with a member of our team.
Why choose Barcan+Kirby for your medical misdiagnosis claim?
We are independently recognised as one of the leading medical negligence teams in the South West. This includes:
- Ranked by Chambers and Partners UK for our medical negligence practice
- Three members of the team – Richard Harries, Jay Nathwani and Claire Hurrell – are individually ranked by Chambers and Partners for their expertise
- Our Clinical Negligence team is one of only five medical negligence departments in the South West region to receive a top-tier ranking (Tier 1) from the Legal 500
- Richard Harries is recognised by the Legal 500 as a ‘Leading Individual’, whilst Helen Franklin and Jay Nathwani are listed as ‘Next Generation Partners’. Claire Hurrell and Fiona Dabell are also noted as ‘Key Lawyers’
- The team is headed up by panel members of Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA) (the charity for patient safety and justice) and the Law Society’s Clinical Negligence Accreditation Scheme
- We won Team of the Year at the Bristol Law Society Awards 2019
In addition to our own expertise, our medical negligence lawyers work with various external experts to ensure your case is managed to the highest standard, including barristers, medical experts, cost lawyers and charities.
Medical misdiagnosis FAQs
Misdiagnosis may have occurred if a doctor fails to diagnose or incorrectly diagnoses your illness, disease or condition. Examples include a scan or test results being misinterpreted, leading to you receiving the wrong treatment.
There can be many different reasons why a medical condition is not correctly diagnosed. Common reasons include symptoms or test results being missed, not recorded correctly or misinterpreted and failures in making sure patients are seen by clinicians with the correct expertise.
To prove misdiagnosis negligence, we may need to obtain medical records, consult with medical experts and gather witness statements, if applicable. It’s important for us to establish the facts and gather as much information as possible so that we can build a strong case for you.
The exact level of compensation will depend on the situation, including both the financial and non-financial impact on the life of the misdiagnosed person.
There are two types of compensation for a misdiagnosis to which you may be entitled:
- Special damages: for specific financial costs due to the misdiagnosis e.g. paying for treatment and lost income. This can cover both costs you have experienced so far and costs you expect to incur in the future.
- General damages: for non-financial issues, such as pain, suffering and ‘loss of amenity’ which means no longer being able to do things you previously could.
You normally have three years to start a medical misdiagnosis claim. This is counted from the time when you were aware that you had been misdiagnosed and that this may have been due to negligence. This is known as the ‘date of knowledge’.
There are some situations where you may have longer to claim. This refers to a date of knowledge. If you have suffered a misdiagnosis it may be that you do not find out that you have been misdiagnosed for some time. The time limit can therefore start from the date you knew of the misdiagnosis.
- Was under the age of 18 at the time of the misdiagnosis: their parent or guardian has until they turn 18 to bring a claim. The claimant will then be able to bring a claim themselves up until their 21st birthday should they need to do so.
- Does not have the mental capacity to bring a claim: there is no time limit for someone else to make a claim for them.
- Has died: a representative of their estate will normally have three years from the date of death to make a claim.
Unfortunately, there is no set answer to this as it will entirely depend on the circumstances. The good news is that most claims for misdiagnosis of a medical condition can be settled out of court, which can sometimes prolong the claims process.
This is a common concern, but not something that should ever put you off making a claim. The majority of claims we handle are funded through a ‘no win, no fee’ agreement, so you do not need to pay anything to start a claim and our fees will only apply if your claim is successful.
It is also worth bearing in mind that, in many cases, the Defendant will cover the majority of your fees in a successful claim.
The vast majority of medical negligence claims we deal with are settled out of court, however, there may be circumstances where the claim does need to go to trial. In any case, our expert team will do their best to help secure maximum compensation for you.
Yes, if you need to make a claim on behalf of someone who is under the age of 18 or who does not have the mental capacity to make a claim, you may be able to do so. Please speak to our team to discuss whether you are eligible to claim for someone else.
Yes, if a loved one has sadly died due to a misdiagnosis, then a representative of their estate will usually be able to make a claim on behalf of their estate and any dependants. You normally have three years from the date of death to do so.
This is a common source of anxiety for people with a potential claim and is really understandable.
It is important to remember that making a claim is often the best way for people who have been let down by the NHS to raise concerns and help to ensure this is less likely to happen to someone else. Also, NHS trusts have insurance for exactly this reason, so please be assured that any damages you are awarded will not be taking funds away from providing services to other patients.
You should also keep in mind that you have to do what is right for you and your loved ones. Seeking NHS misdiagnosis compensation is often the only way to ensure you can get the financial support you need to live with the impact of a misdiagnosis.
We cover this subject more in our guide, suing the NHS – is it ethical?
If you or a loved one have been affected by a misdiagnosis, you can arrange a no obligation initial meeting with a member of our medical negligence team. We will talk through what has happened and the impact the negligence has had on your or your loved one’s health and wellbeing
Our expert solicitors will then look at your case and decide whether we think your claim for misdiagnosis of a medical condition merits further investigation. If we believe you have a claim, we will discuss the next steps with you, including funding options.
We understand that it may not always be possible for you to visit our offices if you are living with the impact of medical negligence, so we can offer home visits to accommodate your needs.
Medical misdiagnosis case studies
- Diagnostic overshadowing leads to delayed diagnosis of a serious genetic lung condition
- £610k for misdiagnosis of abnormal smear resulting in terminal cancer
- £110k settlement for pneumonia misdiagnosed as chest infection
- £450k for rectal cancer misdiagnosed as haemorrhoids
- Inquest into child’s death following misdiagnosis
- £650k for widow of man who died after sepsis was misdiagnosed as medication side effects
- £975k settlement for widow of man who died after haemochromatosis misdiagnosed as gastritis
- £350k settlement for husband and son of woman who died from cardiac arrest after being misdiagnosed as ‘low risk’