Claims For Medical Negligence Delays In Treatment In The UK

By Cat Reeves. Last Updated 27th July 2023. Welcome to our guide on medical negligence delays in treatment. When you seek medical attention, you’re entitled to a minimum standard of care from every healthcare professional who treats you. This is their duty of care.

Medical negligence delays in treatment guide

Medical negligence delays in treatment guide

But what happens if that duty of care is breached and the diagnosis or treatment of your condition is delayed as a result, causing you harm? This is an example of medical negligence.

Timely diagnosis and treatment are vital in ensuring that people have the best chance of fully recovering from their health conditions. If this doesn’t happen, then this could mean that your condition gets worse than it would have

Delayed Diagnosis And Treatment Compensation Claims

If all of this applies to you, then you could look at filing a compensation claim. That’s what our panel of medical negligence solicitors can help you with.

Our advisors can offer you a free, no-obligation valuation of your claim. What’s more, if your claim has a good chance of success, you could be connected with a No Win No Fee lawyer from our panel.

Get In Touch With Our Team

There are three methods to speak to us about claiming because of delayed treatment in the UK. You can:

Otherwise, read on to find out more about claiming compensation for harm caused by medical negligence.

Services And Information

Everything You Need To Know About Medical Negligence Delays In Treatment In The UK

In this guide, we will take a look at the process of claiming compensation if your treatment or diagnosis has been delayed because of negligence and you’ve experienced harm as a result. To begin with, we will look at what medical negligence is and how it can cause a delay in treatment or diagnosis. Furthermore, we will look at some of the medical professionals who could be responsible for your diagnosis or treatment being delayed.

We will go on to look at how claims of this nature are calculated. We’ll look at the two different kinds of damages that could potentially make up a claim for compensation and how these might be valued.

We will then go on to look at delays in treatment or diagnosis for a number of different conditions. In addition to this, we will look at the time limits that apply to claims of this nature.

To conclude this guide, we will look at No Win No Fee agreements and how this kind of agreement could benefit you. We’ll finish by looking at some frequently asked questions about this kind of claim.

What Is A Negligent Delay In Treatment?

Medical negligence is a term used to describe a breach of duty of care on the part of a medical professional that causes the patient harm. As part of a healthcare provider’s duty of care, they need to provide a minimum standard of care.

If the level of care provided falls below this acceptable standard, then this is an example of negligence. Medical negligence that results in your treatment being delayed could cause your condition to get worse than it would have if you’d received the right care.

In many cases, delays in treatment can be caused by a missed or delayed diagnosis. For example, a doctor might initially diagnose your fracture as a sprain, meaning that you don’t get the right treatment for your actual condition right away.

Another reason that your treatment could be delayed is due to an administration error. For instance, admin staff may fail to send you a letter to let you know that treatment has been arranged. Because you were not made aware of this, you don’t attend the treatment and it’s rescheduled at a much later date.

Is a delay in treatment always caused by negligence?

It’s important to note that just because you experienced a delay in having your condition treated does not mean that your healthcare provider has been negligent. It’s possible for your treatment to be delayed even when you’re being given the right standard of care.

For example, it could be that you are suffering from a condition that needs treatment. However, the symptoms you are exhibiting indicate that your condition is less severe than previously thought.

As a result, you’re not offered the treatment that someone with your condition would usually be offered until weeks down the line. In this case, the doctor might not be expected to tell how severe your condition is, and they would not be considered negligent.

The Bolam test is a tool used by the courts to determine whether a healthcare provider was negligent. It involves asking a panel of the medical professional’s peers whether or not the care provided was of an acceptable level. If not, the doctor could be considered negligent.

What Is A Delayed Diagnosis?

A delayed diagnosis is where your condition is not diagnosed within an acceptable timeframe. This means that the condition could potentially develop to a point where it is more difficult, or even impossible, to treat.

There are a number of different reasons that the diagnosis of your condition could be delayed. For example, you may not be exhibiting the usual symptoms of the condition you are suffering from, which prevents you from getting your condition diagnosed.

Alternatively, you might have had a diagnostic test, like an X-ray or MRI scan performed incorrectly. This could mean that it doesn’t show the condition you are suffering from, and you don’t get the required treatment as a result.

Like with delays in treatment, delays in diagnosis can occur even when the right level of care has been provided. For instance, you might be exhibiting symptoms that are not typical of the condition you have, meaning that your doctor could not be reasonably expected to make a diagnosis.

Call us today to discuss medical negligence delays in treatment and diagnoses as the basis for a compensation claim. Otherwise, read on for more information on what medical professionals could cause a delay in treatment.

Which Medical Professionals Or Bodies Could Cause Delays In Your Treatment?

There are a number of different kinds of health professionals who could act in a way that causes your treatment to be delayed. Whether or not this is negligence is dependant on whether they breached their duty of care.

One of the places that you could experience a delay in treatment is in A&E. For example, you may go into A&E with symptoms of a severe head injury. The person on the desk at A&E might fail to take down the symptoms you are experiencing, meaning that it is not treated as the potentially severe condition that it is.

Furthermore, you could experience a delay in treatment as the result of a diagnostic test that is not carried out properly. This could happen in a GP surgery, a hospital or A&E.

It’s not just complications in doctors’ offices and hospitals that can cause a delay in treatment. If you go to the dentist, then an X-ray performed on you might be carried out incorrectly, or the results could be swapped with those of another patient. This could mean that your treatment is delayed.

Remember, a delay in treatment can be harmful, but that does not always mean that it is the result of negligence. To find out more about whether you could have a valid claim, speak to a member of our team today.

How To Calculate Payouts For Medical Negligence Delays In Treatment

The compensation that you could claim ultimately depends on the extent of your damage. If you end up suffering severe health complications, you’re likely to be awarded a larger figure of compensation.

This table provides examples of several serious health conditions that could result from mistreatment or a delay in treatment, as well as guideline compensation brackets for both. These figures come from the Judicial College. Remember, though, that these are still only guidelines, so your final settlement may differ.

Injury Severity Compensation Notes
Lung Cancer Serious £70,030 to £97,330 A significant lung disease having a major impact on the sufferer’s lifestyle and health.
Asthma Serious £43,060 to £65,740 A severe and permanently disabling form of asthma.
Infertility (female reproductive system) N/A £114,900 to
Where infertility has arisen because of a failure to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy
Infertility (female reproductive system) N/A £3,390 to
Where there has been a delay in the diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy but fertility has not been impacted
Forearm Fracture Minor £6,610 to £19,200 A basic fracture of the forearm with a full recovery.
Shoulder Injury Moderate £7,890 to £12,770 Frozen shoulder with permanent limited range of motion.

Keep in mind that compensation itself consists of two heads of claim, these being general damages and special damages. General damages focus on your actual harm, both physically and psychologically, and these are the figures included in the table above.

Special damages

Meanwhile, special damages would focus on the expenses that you incur due to your injuries. These would include medication, hospital treatment, transportation to and from hospitals, and the depth of the negligence.

It’s important to note that when you are claiming damages for medical negligence, you will only be compensated for the additional harm that the negligence caused you. You will not be compensated for the pain and suffering caused by your condition overall.

For example, if you received a delayed diagnosis of cancer, it’s likely that you would have experienced some pain and may have had to take time off work even if your treatment began in a timely manner. You will only be compensated for the additional harm that the negligence caused you.

Get in touch with our team for further details. Otherwise, read on for more information on the kinds of delays that could worsen your condition.

When Could Delays Make Your Condition Worse?

There are a number of different scenarios where a delay in treatment could cause a condition to worsen. This worsening of the condition could cause the patient a great deal of pain and suffering that could have been avoided if the right level of care had been provided initially.

For example, you may seek medical attention for a cut on your arm. The doctor who examines you assumes that the cut doesn’t need to be dressed or treated. However, because of this, you end up with an infection in the area which requires hospitalisation.

Furthermore, you might go to the dentist to have your wisdom tooth extracted. However, the dentist you see fails to give you the right aftercare instructions. As a result, you contract dry socket that means you’re in a great deal of pain.

Medical negligence delays in treatment could severely impact your health and cause you a great deal of pain and suffering. Use the telephone number above to call us whenever you’re ready to chat about your potential claim.

When Could Delays Cause Your Condition To Become Terminal?

There are a number of different conditions that could become terminal if you don’t receive the right diagnosis or treatment in a timely manner. While this can occur even when the right level of care is provided, it can sometimes happen as the result of negligence.

For example, you may be suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD). You could go to your GP with the symptoms that can indicate this condition (for example, weight loss, blood in your urine and muscle cramps). However, your GP fails to consider that you may be suffering from CKD. This means that the treatment that could manage your symptoms and stop the condition from progressing isn’t given to you.

A misdiagnosis such as this may lead to a patient’s condition becoming terminal. If the doctor’s negligence is the cause of the condition being misdiagnosed, the patient could be entitled to make a claim. Please speak to us about claiming compensation due to medical negligence delays in treatment leading to a terminal disease.

Medical Negligence Delays In Treatment For Cancer

Cancer is one example of a disease that has the potential to spread if left untreated. In some cases, a delayed diagnosis of cancer could cause someone’s condition to be terminal.

For example, if a biopsy was performed incorrectly, this could mean that you’re told you don’t have cancer when you do. As a result, this could lead to you not getting the treatment you need for your condition, which leads it to worsen to a point where it can no longer be treated.

Furthermore, a delay in treatment could mean that the treatment you eventually receive needs to be more aggressive in order to be effective. For instance, you might visit the doctor with a lump in your breast. You’re mistakenly told that it is not cancer.

When your condition is diagnosed further down the line, it could have progressed and become more serious. This might mean that you need to have a mastectomy because cancer has spread, where you may have only needed a lumpectomy if it was caught when you first displayed symptoms.

Please call us today for further information about claiming due to delayed cancer care. If you have a good chance of succeeding in your claim, you could be connected with a medical negligence lawyer from our panel.

Medical Negligence Delays In Fracture Clinics

Another condition that you could seek medical attention for is a broken bone. Sometimes a fracture injury could be mistakenly diagnosed as something else or missed entirely.

For example, a hairline fracture might not exhibit the usual symptoms of a broken bone at all. Similarly, it can be difficult to distinguish between a broken toe and one that is simply bruised. 

If there is a delay in treating a fracture, it can cause severe long-term repercussions. It is important that fractures are treated promptly as, otherwise, they could begin to heal out of position. This could lead to an increased vulnerability to conditions like osteoporosis and, in some cases, could cause permanent disability.

Leave us a message on our 24/7 live chat service if you have any questions about this topic. Or you can give us a call to get free legal advice directly from a member of our claims team.

Delays In Surgical And Post-Operative Care

When you require surgery, it’s often best to carry out the operation as soon as possible after a diagnosis has occurred, but this is not always the case. For example, surgery might need to be delayed for a patient who is overweight so that they can get themselves to a healthy weight and reduce the risks associated with being administered anaesthetic.

When your surgery is delayed as the result of a breach of duty of care, however, this can cause complications or can lead to your condition worsening. For example, you may attend A&E with severe abdominal pains that indicate appendicitis.

If an appendectomy is not arranged for you in a timely manner, this could lead to your appendix bursting. If this happens, you could experience life-threatening complications as a result.

To discuss medical negligence delays in treatment and surgery, contact us at your convenience. We will be happy to offer you free legal advice about claiming.

How Much Time Do I Have To Claim For Delayed Medical Care?

You would generally have three years to make a compensation claim for harm caused by delayed medical care. This can either be from the date of the incident or the date that you became aware that medical negligence caused your condition. The latter is called the “date of knowledge”.

There are some exceptions to this. For example, if you’re under the age of 18 at the time you’re harmed because of negligent medical treatment, then you will not legally be able to pursue your own claim. However, a litigation friend can do so for you.

While you’re not able to pursue your own claim, the time limit is suspended. It begins again once you turn 18, meaning that you have until you turn 21 to start your own claim.

Similarly, if someone lacks the mental capacity to pursue their own claim, then the time limit will be suspended unless they recover. Otherwise, it’s suspended indefinitely. A litigation friend can claim on behalf of someone who lacks the mental capacity to claim.

Contact us today for legal advice to find out more about the timeframe for claims regarding medical negligence delays in treatment.

I Suffered Harm Because My Treatment Was Delayed, What Should I Do?

If you’re wondering what your next step should be, we recommend that you begin by seeking medical attention. This ensures that you get the right treatment for your injuries and also generates medical reports that could be used to support your claim.

After this, we recommend that you begin to collect evidence to support your claim. For instance, you may keep a record of any medical appointments you attended and their outcome. You could also collect evidence of any medical expenses that you have incurred as a result of the harm you were caused.

Finally, we recommend that you seek legal advice in anticipation to start your claim. Medical negligence claims can be complex, and your chances of getting more money for your claim could be increased with their guidance and support.

Our panel of medical negligence solicitors have years of experience and knowledge of the claims process. To see if you could be connected with a solicitor on our panel, speak to our team today.

No Win No Fee Delayed Treatment Claims

Choosing to work with a solicitor on your delayed diagnosis compensation claim can come with many benefits. A delayed diagnosis leading to a delay in treatment can have a significant impact on your health, and a solicitor can help evaluate the harm done to you and ensure all areas of your claim are filed in full.

Our panel of solicitors have years of experience in delayed treatment and delay in diagnosis claims. They also offer their services on a No Win No Fee basis by offering their clients a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). Under a CFA, your solicitor won’t ask for a fee to start working on your claim, and they won’t take a fee for their continued services. Similarly, should your claim fail, they won’t take any payment for their work.

Your solicitor will only take a fee for their work if your medical negligence compensation claim is successful. In this case, they will take a small, legally-capped percentage of your award as their success fee.

Contact our team today to start your claim or to find out if you could be eligible to work with a solicitor from our panel by:

Other Medical Claim Guides

Hopefully, you now have a greater understanding of filing compensation claims due to medical negligence delays in treatment. However, we realise that you may still want to know more. That’s why we have these internal and external pages for you to check out.

Will I need a medical report? 

Claims against the NHS for medical negligence.

Time limits for medical negligence cases.

NHS Resolution- medical negligence claims advice.

General Medical Council- Duties of a Doctor

NHS Never events.

FAQs About Negligent Delays In Healthcare

How often do Never Events happen in the NHS?

From 1st April 2021 to 31st July 2021, 131 never events were recorded in the NHS. The most common type of never event was wrong-site surgery.

How much time do I have to begin a claim?

Generally, you have 3 years to begin a claim for harm caused by medical negligence. However, some exceptions do apply; get in touch with our team for more information.

Do I have to use a solicitor?

There’s no legal requirement to use a solicitor, and you can pursue a claim yourself. However, you might find that their guidance and support helps the process of claiming run more smoothly than it otherwise would.

Thank you for reading our guide about medical negligence delays in treatment.

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