It is often very difficult to make a successful wrong diagnosis compensation claim. Not only has it to be proven that a medical practitioner made an incorrect diagnosis which – with the information he or she had at the time – could have been avoided with greater diligence, but a compensation claim for a wrong diagnosis also has to show that you or a loved one suffered a loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition which would not have occurred had the correct diagnosis been made.
There are several other factors which have to be taken into consideration in order to establish that wrong diagnosis medical negligence has occurred and, once negligence is determined, to ensure that an appropriate settlement of compensation for a wrong diagnosis is received. Therefore, should you believe that you – or somebody close to you – have been injured due to an incorrect diagnosis, it is recommended that you speak with a solicitor at the first possible moment.
When is a Wrong Diagnosis not Medical Negligence?
There are many scenarios in which your medical practitioner may not be directly responsible for the diagnosis that was incorrectly made. A wrong diagnosis could be the result of:-
• Incorrect testing procedures or misinterpretation of test results in a laboratory
• An administrative error in which the wrong test results are provided to your doctor
• A failure (by you) to communicate the symptoms of an illness or a medical condition
Inasmuch as there are numerous examples of where a wrong diagnosis has been made due to a poor professional performance by a medical practitioner, a solicitor compiling a wrong diagnosis compensation claim on your behalf would first write to each potential individual involved in the diagnosis process – without accusing them of negligence – to obtain copies of every note relevant to your treatment.
Those notes would then be reviewed by an independent medical specialist to ascertain the source of the wrong diagnosis, whether any errors which were made could have been avoided and whether the mistakes that were made in your treatment would be sufficient grounds to make a compensation claim for a wrong diagnosis. If it is considered that “in the circumstances and at the time” a wrong diagnosis could have been prevented, the medical specialist will then investigate the effect of the incorrect diagnosis on your health.
Why the Effect on Your Health is so Important
Wrong diagnoses happen more frequently than you may imagine but, as there are often no ill-effects, patients are either none-the-wiser or grateful when the correct diagnosis is made and they receive the treatment that enables them to recover from their illness. In order to successfully claim compensation for wrong diagnosis medical negligence against a medical practitioner or a member of their support team, it has to be shown that you suffered a significant “adverse event” which would otherwise have not occurred.
If your health would have deteriorated irrespective of whether the correct diagnosis was made, or the incorrect diagnosis was realised before any discernible negative effect on your health, it is unlikely that a compensation claim for a wrong diagnosis would succeed. For this reason, the medical specialist who will be investigating the grounds you have to make a wrong diagnosis compensation claim will also look at the effect the incorrect diagnosis has had on your health.
Once it has been determined that you have a viable wrong diagnosis compensation claim, your solicitor will give you an indication of how much compensation for a wrong diagnosis you are likely to receive and inform you of the procedures that are involved in making a compensation claim for a wrong diagnosis which is relevant to your personal situation. This will enable you to decide whether or not you wish to proceed with a claim for wrong diagnosis medical negligence.
Making a Wrong Diagnosis Compensation Claim
Because any one of a number of parties may have been responsible for the incorrect diagnosis, the Injuries Board will decline an application for the assessment of a wrong diagnosis compensation claim. Instead, your solicitor will send a ‘Letter of Claim’ to the individual considered liable for the medical error, their employer (usually the Health Service Executive – HSE – if employed by a hospital) or the private healthcare facility the negligent party works.
The ‘Letter of Claim’ (or O´Byrne Letter if multiple people are considered to be at fault) will be supported by the evidence of negligence collected by your solicitor and the medical specialist, giving the individual/HSE/private healthcare facility the opportunity to accept liability at this stage before court proceeding are issued. Your solicitor will not mention in the ‘Letter of Claim’ how much compensation for a wrong diagnosis you are seeking – indeed, the full consequences of the medical error may not yet be known.
The alleged negligent party will usually discuss the issue of wrong diagnosis medical negligence with their medical insurers and either an offer of compensation will be forthcoming or your compensation claim for a wrong diagnosis will be contested. Even if liability for your wrong diagnosis compensation claim is denied, court action may not be necessary, as insurance companies will weigh up the potential value of your compensation claim for a wrong diagnosis against the cost of defending against it.
Calculating the Value of a Compensation Claim for a Wrong Diagnosis
How much compensation for a wrong diagnosis your claim is worth will depend on the consequences of the wrong diagnosis. If, for example, you have unnecessarily suffered a considerable amount of pain or needlessly undergone a surgical procedure, these factors will be included in the calculation of compensation for a wrong diagnosis. Your solicitor will also take into account how the wrong diagnosis has affected your everyday life and any emotional trauma you have suffered.
If the wrong diagnosis has resulted in an avoidable reduced life expectancy, the value of your claim for wrong diagnosis medical negligence will be significantly higher subject to your age and the nature of the pre-existing condition you already had when the incorrect diagnosis was made. In this scenario, you would also be compensated for the “loss of amenity” a reduced life expectancy would result in and the mental anguish of knowing that you could have lived a longer life in better health had it not been for the medical error.
You will also be entitled to recover any expenses you have incurred – or may incur in the future – which are directly attributable to the medical mistake, along with any loss of earnings which you may experience. As you can imagine, the range of values of a compensation claim for a wrong diagnosis can be extremely diverse and it is unlikely that two claims for wrong diagnosis medical negligence will ever result in an identical settlement.
Get Legal Advice about Compensation for a Wrong Diagnosis
It is in your best interests to obtain legal advice about compensation for a wrong diagnosis as soon as possible after discovering that you or somebody close to you has received an incorrect diagnosis and suffered a loss, an injury or the avoidable deterioration of an existing condition. Not only is there a strict time limit on making a wrong diagnosis compensation claim, but it is often much simpler to compile a compensation claim for a wrong diagnosis when evidence of negligence is still recent.
In order to help you get advice which is relevant to your personal situation, we have established a free injury claims advice service on 1800 989 850 which you are invited to call and discuss your wrong diagnosis with a member of our experienced team. All calls to our free injury claims advice service are completely confidential and, as mentioned above, it is your decision whether or not you proceed with a wrong diagnosis medical negligence claim for compensation once you are aware of the facts.
Our Promise to You:
• 100% You will receive one-to-one counsel to discuss your personal situation
• 100% The service we offer is discrete and confidential
• 100% All the advice you receive is accurate and up-to-date
• 100% There is no pressure on you to proceed with a claim
What You Can Expect When You Call
The first thing you can expect when you call is a sympathetic ear. Irrespective of whether you ultimately have a compensation claim for a wrong diagnosis, it is likely that you have recently experienced an emotional trauma and we will understand that.
The usual procedure is that you explain what happened to you, how it has affected you physically and emotionally and ask any questions you may have. It is often best to have a notepad and pen handy when you call to make notes you may wish to refer back to later.
Without conducting an investigation into your wrong diagnosis medical claim, it is impossible for us to inform you whether you have a wrong diagnosis compensation claim which is worth your while to pursue or how much compensation for a wrong diagnosis you are likely to receive, but we can put the wheels in motion to arrange for an independent medical specialist to review your case.
The course of action thereafter will depend on the individual circumstances of your incorrect diagnosis and the impact it has had on your health.
Our lines are open twenty-four hours a day, including at weekends; and, if it is not convenient for you to speak with us right away on 1800 989 850, please complete your details in our call-back box below and one of our friendly team will be back in touch with you at a time which is more suitable for you.