How Do I Sue The NHS For Misdiagnosis?

By Danielle Graves. Last Updated 11th January 2023. If you’ve been misdiagnosed as a result of negligent medical care, you may be able to claim compensation. Receiving compensation through a successful claim revolves around proving third party negligence. You may be wondering, “how do I sue the NHS for misdiagnosis?” This guide will answer that question, as well as many more.

How do I sue the NHS for misdiagnosis guide

How do I sue the NHS for a misdiagnosis guide

A misdiagnosis can cause a wide range of different health conditions. For instance, if you’re suffering from a condition that is misdiagnosed, you might not receive the right treatment for this condition.

Furthermore, the treatment you’re given for the condition you’re mistakenly believed to have could be harmful to you. An example of this is if you’re mistakenly diagnosed with cancer and are given chemotherapy, which could make you ill.

You may have questions regarding wanting to sue the NHS. If you do, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our advisors offer free legal advice, are available 24/7 and can inform you in just a few minutes if you’re able to claim. Contact us using the details below.

Otherwise, please read on to learn more about claiming for medical misdiagnosis.

Jump To A Section

  1. Can I Sue The NHS?
  2. What Is Medical Misdiagnosis?
  3. Does The NHS Owe You A Duty Of Care And Candor?
  4. What Injuries Or Illnesses Could Be Misdiagnosed?
  5. What Is The Effect Of Misdiagnosis?
  6. Why Does Medical Misdiagnosis Happen?
  7. Proving The NHS Breached Its Duty Of Care
  8. NHS Misdiagnosis Compensation Calculator
  9. What Else May I Claim?
  10. What Are The Steps In Misdiagnosis Compensation Claims?
  11. How Do I Sue The NHS For Misdiagnosis With A No Win No Fee Solicitor?
  12. Talk To An Expert
  13. Useful Links
  14. Frequently Asked NHS Negligence Questions

Can I Sue The NHS?

All medical professionals, whether they work as part of the National Health Service or within a private healthcare facility, owe the patients that they agree treat a duty of care. This means providing a service that is of the correct standard.

To be able to sue the NHS for medical negligence, your case would need to meet the required criteria. This would mean the onus will be on you to prove that firstly you were owed a duty of care, and that this duty was breached causing you harm that clearly was avoidable.

Call our advisors to have your case assessed for free. This is your chance to have any questions this guide does not cover answered by our team. The advice is free with no obligation to proceed to a claim.

What Is Medical Misdiagnosis?

A medical misdiagnosis is when you receive a diagnosis that does not reflect the condition you’re suffering from. There could be many different reasons that a misdiagnosis might occur; we’ll detail these below.

The important thing to bear in mind is that you’ll only receive compensation if you’re able to prove that the care provided that resulted in the misdiagnosis fell below the accepted level. Whether your misdiagnosis is seen as being an act of medical negligence or not is usually assessed using the Bolam Test.

The Bolam Test can be an important part of the medical negligence claims process. Medical peers, doctors with the required knowledge and insight assess the actions of the medical professional that misdiagnosed you to see if their actions go below the required standard of care. If they do, the healthcare provider in question could be considered negligent.

Does The NHS Owe You A Duty Of Care And Candor?

Making a successful claim means that you need to successfully illustrate how your misdiagnosis was caused by medical negligence. This is an important aspect of answering the question, “how do I sue the NHS for misdiagnosis?”.

Negligence from a medical professional occurs when the standard of care they provide is of an unacceptable level. As mentioned above, medical professionals have a duty of care. The NHS Constitution explains this in more detail.

To claim, you need to directly link the misdiagnosis with the worsening of your condition. This is called direct causation.

The General Medical Council provides licensing and registration in the UK to all doctors. Therefore, as part of receiving their license, they would need to agree to adhere to the code of conduct. If their actions have gone against this, they could have breached their duty of care, and you may be able to claim.

For more information on whether you could be eligible for compensation for harm caused by medical negligence, speak to one of our advisors today. If your claim has a good chance of success, you could be connected with a solicitor from our panel.

What Injuries Or Illnesses Could Be Misdiagnosed?

how do I sue the NHS for misdiagnosis statistics graph

You could suffer a misdiagnosis in any field of medicine. Using the latest data from the NHS Resolution Annual Report, we can see the number of clinical negligence claims made against them across 2020/21.

As you can see, in terms of individual departments, orthopaedic surgery, emergency medicine, and obstetrics are all the joint-highest, with 11% of new claims made against each. Orthopaedic surgery relates to issues to ligaments, nerves and muscles, while obstetrics relates to pregnancy. Emergency medicine, meanwhile, can result in many different types of conditions as the severity of your condition is the primary reason you’d be seen by that department.

However, it’s important to note the limitations of the above data – namely, that we can’t confirm how many claims are valid. Other conditions that can be misdiagnosed include:

In terms of illnesses like cancer, the delay in receiving the correct diagnosis can greatly affect your quality of life. In some cases, it could shorten your life expectancy or result in death.

To learn more about claiming, please get in touch with a member of our team. They offer free legal advice and are available 24/7. Call them today so they can answer questions like “how do I sue the NHS for misdiagnosis?”. You can contact them using the details above.

What Is The Effect Of Misdiagnosis?

The effects of misdiagnosis can be varied and greatly impact your quality of life. For example, if a broken bone is misdiagnosed, it can lead to further pain caused by the bone not healing correctly. It could cause additional issues down the line, such as an increased risk of osteoporosis.

Other effects of misdiagnosis could include:

  • Hearing loss and frequent, recurrent seizures due to meningitis not being correctly diagnosed. You could also suffer other health problems, such as permanent kidney problems and even amputation if the infection has spread.
  • Misdiagnosed cancer could cause severe consequences as it can also spread throughout the body. Even treatment being delayed by a few weeks can result in other body parts becoming cancerous. Therefore, your life expectancy can be lowered as a result.
  • Surgery potentially being required if a bone fracture is misdiagnosed. This is to treat the fact that the bone hasn’t healed correctly.
  • Psychological effects caused by your condition. If you have to live with a demanding and upsetting injury or illness for longer than you should, it could lead to anxiety or depression. You can also claim for psychological effects of the incident, as they are also considered when making a claim.

If you haven’t experienced any of the effects above, don’t worry. You may still be able to claim if your misdiagnosis has impacted your quality of life. Speak to an advisor today to find out more.

Why Does Medical Misdiagnosis Happen?

If you’re asking the question, “how do I sue the NHS for misdiagnosis?” you may be wondering how your misdiagnosis could have occurred. There are a number of reasons your condition might have been misdiagnosed.

Examples of how this could happen include:

  • The correct tests not being ordered by the doctor.
  • Medical scans being misread or misinterpreted. For example, a hairline bone fracture could be misread on an X-ray.
  • Your injuries not being correctly assessed. For instance, they may not listen to you when explaining your symptoms, resulting in you being prescribed a drug that worsens your condition.
  • An admin error. An example would be if your scan is mixed up with that of another patient, meaning that the medical staff assess the wrong information.

As previously mentioned, however, the most important thing to bear in mind when making a misdiagnosis claim is that you need to prove that the medical professional’s actions were below the required standard. It is only by doing this that you’ll be able to claim compensation for NHS negligence.

When making a claim for medical negligence, you will only be compensated for the additional pain and suffering caused by the negligence. So, for example, if you had a fracture that was negligently misdiagnosed, it’s likely that you would have been in some pain and required time off work to recover. You will only be compensated for the additional harm caused by the negligence and not your condition overall.

Proving The NHS Breached Its Duty Of Care

We’ve previously mentioned that you need to show direct causation between the misdiagnosis and the worsening of your condition. By demonstrating this, you can prove that their actions have worsened your condition. For instance, with a misdiagnosed broken bone, you could suffer weeks of further pain and agony because, due to their misdiagnosis, the injury hasn’t been treated correctly.

An important aspect of answering the question, “how do I sue the NHS for misdiagnosis?” is demonstrating how tangible evidence can prove the direct causation. You can do this by:

  • Getting an independent medical opinion. This is a necessary part of the claims process as it helps illustrate if the medical professional has been negligent.
  • Making a list of all of the tests you’ve undergone, both because of the initial condition and the misdiagnosis. This can build a timeline that reflects the pain and suffering caused.
  • Receiving the original medical reports to see when the misdiagnosis occurred.

You can also make a complaint directly to the NHS. As part of their complaints procedure, they may investigate the issue. They should then try to address all of your concerns and explain why things happened the way they did.

To learn more about proving that the NHS breached its duty of care, please get in touch with us. Our advisors offer free legal advice, are available 24/7 and can answer any questions or queries about the claims process you might have. Contact us at a time that suits you using the details above.

Suing The NHS For Misdiagnosis – What Other Evidence Do I Need?

You may still be wondering, ‘what evidence could help me when suing the NHS for misdiagnosis?’. The evidence talked about in the section above is evidence that can help prove who is liable for your injury. The other type of evidence you can collect for your claim, is evidence that act in support of the compensation you are requesting.

Outside of compensation for your pain and suffering, you could also be eligible to receive compensation for your financial losses and needs that were caused by the medical provider’s negligence. However, you will need to provide evidence of this, such as:

  • Tickets that show much you have spent money on travel to receive treatment
  • Payslips or bank statements that show how being unable to work has this affected your earnings
  • Receipts that show what you paid for prescriptions or treatment that you otherwise would not have, had you received the correct diagnosis treatment when required.

It is only possible to make successful claims against the NHS if you have sufficient evidence. If you want, you can reach out to a member of our team now who could help you by evaluating your claim, and walking you through costs and expenses you could be able to claim.

Please reach out to a member of our team now to discuss claiming for harm caused by a misdiagnosis, and the NHS.

NHS Misdiagnosis Compensation Calculator 

When claiming for medical misdiagnosis, there are two potential heads of claim. General damages compensation revolves around compensating you for the physical and psychological pain you’ve suffered as well as how the injury, in general, has lowered the quality of your life.

What you receive, in this regard, is based on the severity of the injury and the impact it’s had on you. The Judicial College provides guidance, showing the amount of compensation you could receive based on the type of harm caused to you. They do this by analysing previous payouts and comparing them to the degree and nature of the injury. As a result, they’ve been able to build compensation brackets.

We use these brackets to provide you with a greater understanding of what you could receive. This is so that you a reliable compensation estimate. The Judicial College has provided this information.

Area of InjuryAmount of CompensationDescription
Kidney (a)£169,400 to
Injuries in this bracket cause serious and permanent loss or damage of both kidneys.
Reproductive System: MaleIn excess of
This injury would cause loss of sexual function and total impotence and sterility in the case of a young man. The amount received will depend on age and psychological reaction to injury.
Bowels (d)£44,590 to

An injury in this bracket leads to severe abdominal injury causing functional impairment, often leading to temporary colostomy (causing disfiguring scars) and restrictions on diet and employment.
Leg - severe (iii)£39,200 to £54,830

Serious comminuted or compound fractures or joint injuries or ligaments causing instability and prolonged treatment.
Foot - serious (e)£24,990 to £39,200

An injury in this bracket will include ones that lead to continuing pain from traumatic arthritis or cause the risk of arthritis in the future, as well as prolonged treatment and the risk of fusion surgery.
Neck - moderate (i)£24,990 to

Injuries in this bracket are dislocations or fractures causing immediate and severe symptoms, which could cause spinal fusion.
Psychiatric Damage Generally - moderate (c)£5,860 to £19,070An injury in this bracket may cause problems to things like their ability to cope with work and life, as well as having a negative effect on the injured person's relationship with family and friends, but there will be a marked improvement after treatment and the prognosis will be good.
Chest (d)£12,590 to £17,960Injuries in this bracket are caused by a relatively simple injury, like a single penetrating wound, causing some permanent tissue damage but with no significant long-term negative impact on lung function.
Knee - moderate (ii)Up to £13,740

Injuries in this bracket includes less serious injuries than dislocations and torn cartilage, as well as twisting, lacerations and bruising injuries.
Reproductive System: FemaleIn the region of
Incidents in this bracket are failed sterilisations leading to an unwanted pregnancy where there is no serious psychological impact or depression.

As we have mentioned previously, you will be invited to a medical assessment as part of your claim. This will involve an independent expert assessing your condition and detailing their findings in a report.

What Else May I Claim?

Special damages are the second potential head of claim. This relates to the financial losses you’ve suffered because of the harm you have experienced.

Depending on the nature of your condition, you may experience significant financial losses. In order to claim these back, you need to prove the value of the losses. You can do this by using financial information, such as receipts, invoices and bank statements.

Examples of financial losses you could claim include:

  • Loss of earnings if you have taken time off work 
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Travel costs, such as the costs of going to and from medical appointments
  • Care costs, such as needing a nurse.
  • Installing adaptations to your home, such as a care bed.
  • Prescription and medicine costs
  • Cost of private health care to help with rehabilitation.

You may be wondering what the medical negligence claims time limit is. Generally, you have three years from the date of the incident or three years from when you became aware of the injury to claim. The Limitation Act 1980 establishes this.

However, exceptions do apply. For instance, the time limit for a child to claim will run from their 18th birthday; before this, a litigation friend can claim on their behalf. Speak to an advisor today for more information.

What Are The Steps In Misdiagnosis Compensation Claims?

If you want to claim, you can take steps that could increase your chance of receiving compensation. This includes things like:

  • Collecting evidence, such as medical reports and scans
  • Contacting a medical negligence lawyer
  • Keeping a list of the procedures and medication you’ve had
  • Getting an independent medical opinion of your injuries
  • Seeking medical guidance to help with your injury or illness

If you would like guidance on the kind of evidence that could be used to support your claim, we can help. Speak to our team today for free legal advice.

How Do I Sue The NHS For Misdiagnosis With A No Win No Fee Solicitor?

The benefits of using a No Win No Fee medical negligence solicitor include:

  • You won’t be asked to pay anything upfront to your solicitor.
  • Not having to pay fees to your solicitor at any point during the claim.
  • If your claim is successful, a “success fee” will be deducted from your compensation.

The success fee that a No Win No Fee solicitor deducts from your settlement award is legally capped. This means that you will always get the majority of the compensation awarded to you.

You can also rest assured knowing that a solicitor from our panel will only take your case if they feel you have a reasonably good chance of success. This is because if your claim is unsuccessful, they won’t receive payment.

If you’d like to know more about No Win No Fee agreements, why not speak with us today? If your claim is valid, you could be connected with a No Win No Fee medical negligence solicitor.

Talk To An Expert

Our advisors offer free legal advice so, if you have any questions about how to sue the NHS for misdiagnosis, please get in touch. They’re available 24/7 and can even provide you with a reliable compensation estimate over the phone.

If you can claim, they can even put you through to a medical negligence solicitor who may work your case on a No Win No Fee basis. To learn more, please get in touch.

You can:

Useful Links 

To know more about making an NHS misdiagnosis claim, please use the links below.

If you’ve broken a bone and would like medical guidance, please visit the NHS website.

Do you want to make a complaint directly to the NHS? If so, visit this website.

If you’ve already made a complaint to the NHS and are unsatisfied with their response, you could also make a complaint through the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. View this webpage to find out more.

View this page on our website for more information about how to claim for medical misdiagnosis.

Have you suffered from a cancer misdiagnosis? If so, our guide could help.

Have you suffered after experiencing an NHS accident at work? If so, read this page for more information.

Frequently Asked NHS Negligence Questions

For answers to FAQs about claims, see below.

What should I do if I think the NHS misdiagnosed my injury?

If you want to see if you can claim, start by making a list of all of the treatments and medications you’ve taken due to the misdiagnosis. You can also seek free legal advice by contacting us to explain to you the best course of action.

How could I be impacted by NHS misdiagnosis?

Your condition could worsen or exasperate due to having a delayed diagnosis. For instance, if you have cancer, it could spread to other parts of your body, increasing the likelihood of your life expectancy diminishing.

How could a solicitor help me?

They can provide legal guidance as to how to claim and help build your case using evidence. They can also arrange a medical assessment as part of your claim.

What time limit applies to my claim?

In usual cases, you have three years from the date of the incident or from when you were made aware of the injury to begin claims proceedings.

Thank you for reading our guide on how to sue the NHS for misdiagnosis.

Written by MD

Edited by FS