In the past, being diagnosed with cancer was often the worst piece of news you could possibly hear. Nowadays, though, an early cancer diagnosis can massively increase the chances of survival or extend the amount of time you’ll have with your family and friends. Conversely, a delay in cancer diagnosis can shorten your life expectancy or reduce the chances of treatment working. In this guide, we’ll show you when a delayed cancer diagnosis claim could be made if the delay has caused you to suffer and was the result of medical negligence.
Our team is on hand to help you if you’ve got questions about claiming. They’ll review your claim on a no-obligation basis and give free legal advice about your next steps. If the claim is viable and a medical negligence solicitor on our panel agrees to represent you, the claim will be managed on a No Win No Fee basis. We know that making a delayed cancer diagnosis claim can be stressful enough so knowing that you won’t pay legal fees unless you’re compensated should help a little.
If you or a loved one has suffered due to a delay in cancer diagnosis, call us on 0800 6524 881 to check your options. Alternatively, please continue reading and contact us if you have any questions.
Table of contents
- Duty Of Care In Delayed Cancer Diagnosis Claims
- Am I Eligible To Claim Delayed Cancer Diagnosis Compensation?
- What Harm Can Result From A Delayed Cancer Diagnosis
- How Much Compensation For A Delayed Cancer Diagnosis Could I Claim?
- Evidence To Support A Delayed Cancer Diagnosis Claim
- Claiming Compensation On Behalf Of Somebody Else
- Starting The Delayed Cancer Diagnosis Claims Process
All medical professionals have a legal duty to provide a minimum level of care to all patients. This means that they must try to follow the correct procedures, carry out the right tests and analyse any results in accordance with their training. This is vital in cancer diagnosis as getting things wrong can have serious consequences for the patient’s prognosis.
If doctors, oncologists or other medical professionals get things wrong, it can lead to:
- Cancer misdiagnosis – where the symptoms of cancer are spotted but recorded as being linked to another illness.
- Delayed cancer diagnosis – where the medical professional doesn’t spot the cancer symptoms that are present and dismisses them altogether.
In either case, you could claim compensation if you or a loved one has suffered as a result of medical negligence.
A medical negligence solicitor on our team will assess the merit of each claim before agreeing to work on them. For delayed cancer misdiagnosis claims, they’ll check whether:
- Negligence – where the level of care provided fell below what could be reasonably expected of a qualified medical professional; and
- The diagnosis of your cancer was delayed as a result; and
- Causation – the delay caused you to suffer in some way.
This means that if your cancer diagnosis was delayed but no suffering occurred, we wouldn’t be able to help, unfortunately.
As you might imagine, proving that medical negligence led to a delay in diagnosing cancer can be quite a complex thing to do. That’s why in all claims, the evidence will need to be reviewed by an independent medical specialist. If they agree that the defendant was negligent, your solicitor is likely to proceed with the claim and try to secure compensation to cover your suffering.
Importantly, delayed cancer diagnosis claims have a 3-year time limit. In most cases, the limitation period will start from the date that you became aware of the delay i.e. when a doctor explained what had happened.
The outcome of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and other forms of cancer treatment will often improve the sooner it is started. Therefore, it’s vital to try and diagnose cancer as quickly as possible.
According to the NHS, when diagnosed, cancer is usually given a stage and a grade. The stages of cancer are:
- Stage 0 cancer – the cancer hasn’t developed beyond where it started.
- Stage 1 cancer – the cancer is small and has not spread.
- Stage 2 cancer – the cancer has increased in size but still has not spread.
- Stage 3 cancer – the cancer will have increased in size and may have spread to the lymph nodes and the surrounding tissues.
- Stage 4 cancer – the cancer has begun to affect one or more organs of the body as well as where it started.
The chances of surviving cancer may increase the lower the stage it’s diagnosed at. Therefore, delayed cancer compensation claims may be possible if:
- A delay meant the symptoms of cancer were worse than they’d have been if the diagnosis had happened sooner.
- You had to undergo more intrusive cancer treatment because of the delay.
- Your cancer became inoperable and your life expectancy was reduced as a result.
Please contact our advisors if you would like to discuss this with a medical negligence solicitor.
Although the NHS does have a formal complaints procedure, this won’t result in compensation being awarded for your suffering. A response to your complaint may help though as it could explain why there was a delay in the diagnosis of your cancer. It could also result in an apology or changes to the way things are done in the future.
If you have complained about your treatment and received a response, send a copy to your solicitor as it might be used as evidence to support your claim.
Each claimant will be affected by a delay in cancer treatment differently. Therefore, there’s no standard compensation payment for misdiagnosed cancer claims. However, dealing with the potential consequences of a delayed diagnosis can have a massive impact on various aspects of your life. These should all be considered if you decide to seek compensation from either the NHS or a private hospital.
If your claim is won, you could receive damages to cover factors such as:
- The pain and suffering you endured as a result of the delayed cancer diagnosis.
- Fear for life, depression or anxiety.
- Medical expenses.
- Lost income including future losses too.
- Loss of enjoyment of family activities or your normal hobbies.
- The time a loved one spent caring for you and supporting you.
- Travel costs.
- Home of vehicle modifications to counter any reduction in your quality of life caused by your condition.
The cost of these factors can all be quite significant so it’s important that they are valued properly before your claim is filed. If you work with a solicitor from our team, they’ll try to secure the maximum compensation for delayed cancer diagnosis possible.
Your solicitor will file your claim with NHS Resolution or the insurer of a private hospital on your behalf if your claim is taken on. To try and ensure you’re fairly compensated, they’ll need to provide as much evidence as possible to prove how and why you’ve suffered. This could include:
- Your medical records. These could help to make it clear at what point your cancer should’ve been diagnosed.
- A personal statement. This will explain how you’ve suffered as a result of the delay in your diagnosis.
- Witness statements. Your solicitor may also ask friends and family about the ways in which they’ve noticed that you’ve suffered following the delayed cancer diagnosis.
- Financial records. To help claim back any costs incurred because of your suffering, receipts, wage slips and bank statements may be used as evidence.
Please get in touch to see if a solicitor on our team can help with this.
If you’ve lost a loved one following a delayed cancer diagnosis or if they are too poorly to handle their own claim, it may be possible for you to claim compensation on their behalf.
We realise that money won’t be at the forefront of your thoughts but compensation could help to cover any financial implications caused by their illness or their death.
A solicitor could help you to claim for your loved one’s loss of earnings and pain and suffering while they’re alive. In the unfortunate event that the delay in cancer diagnosis leads to the death of your loved one, a solicitor could help you to claim back funeral expenses or the impact their loss has if you’re financially dependent on their income.
Our advisors are specially trained to help you so they’ll work compassionately at a pace you find suitable and without putting on any pressure on you to proceed.
To find out if you might be eligible to claim compensation for the suffering caused by a delayed cancer diagnosis, simply call our friendly team of specialists on 0800 6524 881 today. During your call, we’ll explain your options and provide free legal advice on what to do next.
Remember, the medical negligence solicitors we have on our team provide a No Win No Fee service for all medical negligence claims so you don’t pay legal fees unless the claim is won.
To ask any further questions on the process of claiming compensation for delayed cancer diagnosis, please get in touch via our live chat service.