Compensation Claims* Guide to Cancer Misdiagnosis / Failure to Diagnose Cancer
If you or a loved one have been misdiagnosed or have had an inordinate delay in the diagnosis of cancer, there may be a case for a malpractice compensation suit against an individual such as your GP, specialist or a combination of individual healthcare professionals and/or a corporate body such as a hospital or even a government agency.
Medical negligence claims for incorrect or late diagnoses of cancer are now becoming more commonplace.
This is partly due to greater public awareness and knowledge of early indicators of cancer symptoms, and therefore a oftentimes justifiable demand for restitution when healthcare professionals fail to act with the necessary alacrity. The much-publicised Susan Long case whose cancer was not detected sufficiently early for successful intervention has also had a significant impact.
Broadly speaking there are two common types of medical injury compensation actions with regard to cancer;
Cancer Misdiagnosisis when a patient is wrongly identified as having cancer and for instance an unnecessary procedure (e.g. removal of bowel) is performed. This can be due to a failure in clinical judgement or a systems error where patient files are mixed up for example. Where this can be proven to have occurred a medical negligence compensation or malpractice case can be taken by the patient (or in more limited circumstances in the event of the latter’s demise by the relatives/dependents if emotional or economic damage is occasioned).
Failure to detect cancer is as it suggests, a failure to recognize cancer symptoms and/or to apply diagnostic tests within a reasonably expeditious timeframe. It should be noted that there is a significant burden of proof required to successfully establish that a medical professional was negligent in his/her duty in this regard.
In all cases, the more material evidence history available to the claimant’s legal team, the greater the likelihood of a successful outcome so it is important to keep records and notes where possible.
Process of Taking a Claim
It should be noted that the Injuries Board do not undertake medical negligence claims cases so you should contact and medical injury claims solicitor who is registered with the Law Society. The solicitor will assess the case (usually without cost obligation) and will advise if the case has merit and is worth proceeding with. In many cases the liable party (i.e. the insurers of the doctor or hospital) may settle a claim before it reaches a court of law although many contested cases still can have a successful financial outcome for the claimant.
Statute of Limitations
This refers to the period of time in which you must make your claim after the Date of Knowledge (this the date that you become aware of the incident of malpractice or negligence). This period is usually two years for medical claims cases but there are many exceptions to this, particularly in cases of misdiagnosis. Nevertheless you should contact a personal injury lawyer without delay even if your claims concerns events which occurred many years previously.
How much compensation is paid?
Successful claims for cancer misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose tend to result in very high awards, as there tends to be serious consequences to the afflicted parties which deserve high compensation. The amounts can run to several hundred thousand euro or above. Solicitor fees are generally claimed separately and directly from the opposing party.