How To Sue The NHS For Misdiagnosis Of Your Illness Or Injury

By Danielle Fletcher. Last Updated 6th October 2023. Welcome to our guide on how to sue the NHS for misdiagnosis.

If you’ve been misdiagnosed by the NHS because of negligence, you may be able to claim compensation. To succeed in making a medical negligence claim for misdiagnosis, you need to be able to prove that negligence on the part of a medical professional led to a worsening of your condition.

This guide will explain how to sue the NHS for misdiagnosis. We will also look at what a misdiagnosis is and what your claim could cover. 

To learn more about suing the NHS for a misdiagnosis, or to see if you can make a claim, you can get in touch with us directly. We offer a free consultation and could connect you with a specialist medical misdiagnosis solicitor from our panel.

You can contact us in the following ways:

How to sue the NHS for misdiagnosis

How to sue the NHS for misdiagnosis guide

Services And Information

  1. What Is A Misdiagnosis Claim?
  2. What Injuries And Illnesses Could Be Misdiagnosed?
  3. Why Does Misdiagnosis Occur?
  4. Can You Sue The NHS For Misdiagnosis?
  5. Misdiagnosis – How Much Compensation Can I Claim?
  6. What Evidence Do I Need To Support My Misdiagnosis Claim?
  7. Following The NHS Complaints Process
  8. How Much Time Do I Have To Sue The NHS For Misdiagnosis?
  9. Claim Compensation For Misdiagnosis With A No Win No Fee Solicitor
  10. Related Medical Claims Information
  11. FAQs About Suing The NHS For Misdiagnosis

What Is A Misdiagnosis Claim?

A misdiagnosis claim could be made if a medical professional negligently misdiagnosed you and this caused you harm. For example, if you approached your GP with symptoms of lung cancer, but they did not order further testing and instead diagnosed you with a chest infection, your lung cancer could potentially worsen without proper treatment.

All medical professionals have a duty of care to provide a reasonable standard of service to patients. If this does not occur, you could potentially come to harm. However, not all instances of harm will be cause for a claim. For a misdiagnosis claim to be valid, the following criteria will need to apply:

  • You were owed a duty of care
  • The duty of care was breached
  • You sustained an injury due to the breach

To find out more about claims for misdiagnosis or how to claim for a wrong diagnosis, get in touch with our advisors at any time. Our lines are open 24/7.

What Injuries And Illnesses Could Be Misdiagnosed?

how to sue NHS for misdiagnosis statistics graph

Many types of illnesses or injuries could be misdiagnosed. The NHS has supplied data for 2020/21 regarding the number of clinical negligence claims reported within that year. In total, there were 10,816 new claims registered. 

As you can see, 12% of new claims were made concerning orthopaedic surgery, which relates to injuries caused to bones and joints. In comparison, 11% were made regarding emergency medicine, which are events that need immediate medical attention. 

This data has certain limitations because it doesn’t specifically break down the reason for the claims or the type of injuries involved. However, they do show that NHS negligence complaints can come from many different fields of medicine.  

To know more about how to sue the NHS for misdiagnosis, please contact us using the details above. Our experienced advisors will be able to answer any medical negligence claim questions you have. They can also provide you with a reliable compensation estimate. Alternatively, please read on to learn about how these incidents can occur. 

Why Does Misdiagnosis Occur?

All medical professionals owe their patients a duty of care regardless of whether they work for a private or public healthcare provider. Should they breach this duty, and you are misdiagnosed, then you could potentially make a medical negligence claim.

A few examples of medical misdiagnosis and how they could happen include:

  • Your GP does not sufficiently consider your symptoms and instead diagnoses you with another condition. 
  • If your GP fails to refer you for further tests, this could delay your diagnosis. If your diagnosis is delayed, your condition may worsen. 
  • Misinterpretation or misreading test results can lead to misdiagnosis. For example, if you are sent for an X-ray, the technician or doctor may fail to recognise a fracture and diagnose you with a sprain instead. 

However, not every case is eligible for compensation for misdiagnosis. If a medical professional can prove that they did not breach their duty of care, yet you still suffered harm due to being misdiagnosed, you might not have a valid claim. 

If you have any questions about medical negligence claims such as ‘When could a claim for suing the NHS for a misdiagnosis be valid?’ you can contact our advisors.

Misdiagnosis Claims – Examples Scenarios

In this section we look at examples of how negligence could occur in a medical setting. However, it’s important to note that not all instances of harm sustained in this setting will form the basis of a valid misdiagnosis claim.

Examples of how a misdiagnosis could occur include:

  • An incorrect diagnosis resulting from your doctor failing to refer you for further tests. As a result, you may have been given the wrong treatment. For example, you may have been diagnosed and treated for irritable bowel syndrome when you actually had bowel cancer.
  • A failure to diagnose occurs when a condition is missed entirely. For example, you may have a broken wrist. However, the doctor may misread the X-rays or X-rays may not have been ordered. This could result in sending you away without the appropriate treatment. Failing to diagnose can result in complications or a worsening of the condition.
  • Late diagnosis could occur when a patient presents with symptoms, but these are not taken seriously by a doctor.

If you are seeking misdiagnosis compensation, you must have evidence that proves you suffered unnecessary harm due to a medical professional providing you with substandard care.

If you can prove this happened, you may look at suing for emotional distress in the UK as well as the physical pain and suffering you experienced.

Call our advisors to further discuss misdiagnosis claims.

Can You Sue The NHS For Misdiagnosis?

So, can you sue the NHS for a misdiagnosis?

The process of potentially suing the NHS for misdiagnosis could include informing those in charge of the facility where you were injured that you intend to make a claim against them.

Next, you will need to gather evidence to help support your claim. The more evidence you have, the better. Your medical records are a good example of this. These will contain vital information such as details regarding the dates of any relevant appointments, as well as any treatment and/or medication administered.

People also often ask us, “can you sue the NHS without a lawyer?”. Whilst it is possible, you may find the process easier with an expert solicitor by your side. The legal professionals on our panel have handled many medical negligence cases in the past and can bring that experience to your own claim.

If you have sufficient evidence to prove that your health has suffered due to a misdiagnosis by the NHS, then get in touch with our team for more information.

Misdiagnosis – How Much Compensation Can I Claim?

You might be wondering, ‘how much compensation can I claim if I sue the NHS for your misdiagnosis?’. In a successful claim, you could be able to request compensation for:

  • Physical and mental suffering
  • Financial losses

Compensation for your physical and mental suffering would be awarded to you under general damages. The table below shows how general damages has been awarded in previous personal injury claims.

This information is taken from the 2022 Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). You should not take these figures as a guarantee of what you will receive if you claim against a GP for a misdiagnosis, but rather as a guide.

Area of Injury Amount of Compensation Description
Reproductive System: Male £114,900 to £148,320 The injury in this bracket relates to total loss of sexual function, sterility and total impotence in the case of a young man.
Lung (b) £70,030 to £97,330 The injury in this bracket is for lung cancer that proves fatal in most cases; the symptoms of which may not be as painful as mesothelioma, but more long-lasting.
Foot – Severe £41,970 to £70,030 Injuries in this bracket include fractures to both heels or feet causing restrictions to movements or leading to permanent or considerable pain.
Back – Severe (iii) £38,780 to £69,730 Cases in this bracket include fractures or disc lesions or soft tissue injuries causing chronic conditions where, even with treatment, disabilites like continuing severe pain and discomfort are created.
Illness/Damage To the Digestive System Resulting from Non-traumatic Injury (i) £38,430 to £52,500 This bracket relates to damage caused by a illness/damage caused by non-traumatic injury, such as food poisoning. It can cause severe toxicosis, causing acute pain, diarrhoea, vomiting and fever.
Neck – Moderate (i) £24,990 to £38,990 Injuries in this bracket include dislocations or fractures causing severe immediate symptoms that may result in you needing spinal fusion.
Bladder (d) £23,410 to £31,310 Injuries in this bracket relate to the bladder where there is almost a full recovery but where there is some fairly prolonged interference with natural function.
Deafness/Tinnitus – Partial Hearing Loss (ii) £14,900 to £29,710 Moderate tinnitus and noise-related hearing loss (NIHL) or NIHL alone or moderate to severe tinnitus.
Injuries to the Pelvis and Hips – Moderate (ii) £12,590 to £26,590 This bracket relates to cases that involve surgery, such as hip replacement.
Elbow – Moderate Up to £12,590 Elbow injuries that relate to this bracket include tennis elbow syndrome, lacerations and simple fractures.

You could also potentially claim under special damages if the misdiagnosis financially affected you. Special damages in a medical negligence claim could address:

  • Affected income
  • Treatment or care costs
  • Home adaptions or mobility aids needed to cope with your injury

Both general damages and special damages could be part of your final payout settlement if you were able to successfully claim.

Please reach out to member of our team for any other questions you may have regarding compensation or if you’re still wondering ‘how to sue the NHS for medical negligence?’.

What Evidence Do I Need To Support My Misdiagnosis Claim?

The crucial aspect of claiming for NHS misdiagnosis is providing evidence that shows your quality of life has been impacted. Potential evidence includes:

  • Medical reports. As part of your claim, you will usually be invited to an independent medical expert. The report from this will be used to value your claim. 
  • A list of medicine or prescriptions
  • A detailed timeline of your treatment to illustrate how your condition has worsened due to the NHS misdiagnosis

The more evidence you can use to show the impact that the misdiagnosis has had on you, the more chance you have of a potential settlement award fully reflecting your condition. 

In learning how to sue the NHS for misdiagnosis, you may also want to know the evidence you need to claim for special damages. You can prove the financial losses you have experienced by providing receipts, invoices and bank statements. 

Following The NHS Complaints Process

If you want to complain to the NHS, there are several stages of the complaints process

  1. You can begin by complaining to your doctor or the medical professional directly. 
  2. Most hospitals provide a Patient and Advice Liasion Service (PALS). You can speak to a PALS member informally. They can work with the department involved to solve the issue. 
  3. If you’re thinking about complaining, a member of the independent NHS Complaints Advocacy service can help. They can attend meetings and review information you’ve been given as part of the complaints process. Your local council can make you aware of who the advocacy provider in your area is. 
  4. You can either complain to the NHS provider directly or the commissioner of the service provider. 

Complaints should normally be made within twelve months of the incident or of you becoming aware of the issue. You can either complain verbally, by email or over the phone.

The timeframe for the complaint resolution depends on the extent of the issue. You should, however, be provided with an acknowledgement of the complaint within three working days of them receiving it.  

Why make a complaint to the Ombudsman?

If you’re unhappy about the resolution of an NHS complaint, you can always refer to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. They independently review the complaint and come to a final decision. If the Ombudsman side in your favour, they could recommend that the NHS make changes so the same error doesn’t happen again and can ask them to send you a formal apology letter. 

You don’t need to complain through the Ombudsman to make a medical negligence claim against the NHS. You do, however, need to complain directly to the NHS first before going to the Ombudsman. 

How Much Time Do I Have To Sue The NHS For Misdiagnosis?

The Limitation Act 1980 clarifies how long you have to start a medical negligence claim. In a  standard case, you have three years to start a claim. This can either run from the date of the incident or the date that you became aware that your symptoms were caused by negligence.

However, there are a couple of exceptions to this rule: 

  1. If you’ve suffered an illness or injury due to NHS negligence as a child, you have three years from the date of your eighteenth birthday to begin the claim. Before this, the time limit is suspended, and a litigation friend can claim on your behalf. 
  2. If someone doesn’t have the mental capacity to claim, the medical negligence claims time limit is suspended indefinitely. A litigation friend can claim on behalf of them. In the event that they recover, they will have three years to start their own claim if one has not already been made. 

If you would like to know more about the time limits that apply to making a claim, or if you would just like more general information on how to sue NHS for misdiagnosis, speak to our team today.

Claim Compensation For Misdiagnosis With A No Win No Fee Solicitor

If you would like to pursue a claim for misdiagnosis compensation, one of the solicitors on our panel could support you. They have years of experience working on medical misdiagnosis claims. Additionally, the solicitors on our panel generally offer their services under a type of No Win No Fee arrangement called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).

When your solicitor offers their services on a No Win No Fee basis, they usually won’t ask you for an upfront payment. They don’t ask for payments towards ongoing fees either. Furthermore,  if your claim is not successful, you won’t have to pay your solicitor for their services.

If your solicitor is successful, they will take a legally capped percentage of your compensation award. This is called a success fee.

If you have any questions about claiming compensation for misdiagnosis, please get in touch with our advisors. In addition to answering your questions, you could be connected to one of the solicitors from our panel.

To talk to an advisor:

Related Medical Claims Information

For more useful information, please use the links below. 

If you’re unsure if you’ve broken a bone and would like guidance, please refer to the NHS website. 

Do you want to learn more about claiming for dental negligence? If so, please view this webpage. 

For more information about the time limit when making medical negligence claims, please view this page on our website. 

View this page to learn more about how to report a doctor for medical negligence. 

Do you want to see if you can claim for an operation gone wrong? If so, please read this page. 

How Do I Claim For Testicular Cancer Misdiagnosis?

How Do I Claim For Sepsis Misdiagnosis Medical Negligence?

My Brain Cancer Was Misdiagnosed, How Do I Claim Compensation?

FAQs About Suing The NHS For Misdiagnosis

For answers to frequently asked questions about how to sue the NHS for misdiagnosis, please read below. 

What are NHS never events?

Never events are events that should always be preventable if the proper procedures are followed. This includes, for example, incidents like an operation in which the wrong body part was removed. 

Can you sue NHS for the wrong diagnosis?

If you’re able to prove that negligence led to you being misdiagnosed, you may be able to receive compensation. You will also need to show that the misdiagnosis directly caused your condition to get worse than it would have if you’d been diagnosed correctly. 

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