Medical professionals, from medical secretaries to specialists, have a duty of care, but many people are unaware that this is a legal obligation. It means that there is legal recourse for those that feel their health has been negatively affected by misdiagnosis. Doctors accept responsibility for their patients, and failing to diagnose a medical issue accurately can have long-term adverse effects for the misdiagnosed patient. In those cases, the patient is well within their legal rights to seek advice on making a misdiagnosis claim. If you think that misdiagnosis has affected you adversely, then here are the essentials that you need to be aware of.
Reasons for making a claim
There are a variety of reasons why you may be considering making a legal claim for misdiagnosis. The most common reasons for this legal action are:
- Treatment Delay: If your illness or injury has become worse due to a time delay on your treatment, you may be able to make a claim.
- Incorrect Treatment: A misdiagnosis can mean that you do not receive the right treatment. This can negatively impact your recovery and future health.
- Medication Errors: This can refer to either a patient receiving the wrong medication entirely or even receiving the wrong advice on medication amounts.
First Steps in a Misdiagnosis Claim
Your first step always should be to seek legal advice. Once you have done so, you will have a clearer idea of what is expected of you. Next, you will need to ensure that you have the relevant documents that prove your case. Gather as much evidence as you can which shows when and where you started receiving your misdiagnosis. You will also need to collect as much evidence as possible that shows that your quality of life has been negatively affected. You should always:
- Keep documents that support any financial impact the misdiagnosis has caused.
- Get a formal second medical opinion.
- Keep records of prescriptions and any available statements from doctors and specialists.
There is a specific time limit for medical negligence claims for those people who feel that they have a valid case of misdiagnosis. Usually, you lose the right to make a medical negligence claim after three years of the Date of Knowledge (the date that you became aware of the issue), although age and mental competency also affect the time whereby you can make your claim.
The Financial Side
It can be challenging to work out precisely how much money you may be entitled to, and what costs will fall under the claim that you make. Any damages, ongoing costs, and even expenses can all be claimed for. These can include (but are not limited to):
- General damages: This covers any disability, pain, or suffering that has been caused by your misdiagnosis.
- Special damages: These will refer to any additional expenses that have occurred due to your misdiagnosis.
- Medical expenses: If you have spent any money on treatment following a misdiagnosis, then you can add those expenditures to the total cost of your NHS misdiagnosis compensation.
- Travel costs: Often forgotten about in the immediate aftermath of a misdiagnosis, these costs can play a big part of the negative issues that you face after a misdiagnosis.
If you believe that you suffered a medical misdiagnosis, and your life has been negatively impacted because of it, then you should always start by seeking legal advice. Professional solicitors with experience of making claims against the NHS or private practices will be able to advise you on the next steps to take and will be able to answer any questions that you have.