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Your guide to misdiagnosis

Doctor holding head in hand - clinical negligence

When the standard of treatment received falls below expectation...

If you or a member of your family believe you have received poor treatment that has caused injury or made an existing injury worse you probably want to know, “Why was this allowed to happen to me?” and “What went wrong?”

At Your Legal Friend our specialist solicitors will seek  these answers when investigating your case because we know that it is important to prevent this happening to anyone else. Our expert lawyers have  the specialist knowledge of both the law  and medicine to identify the important  issues to investigate your case efficiently but with sympathy and understanding as we have years of experience of bringing claims for injured people. 

Did you know...

  • A total of 800,000 patients -  or 1 in 20 - admitted to hospitals across England fell victim to an avoidable error. (Report prepared for NHS - Frontier Economics, October 2014).

  • Fifty per cent more complaints were received from people who felt that the NHS had not acknowledged mistakes in care. (Listening and Learning Report, 2012).

What is the difference between ‘clinical negligence’ and ‘medical negligence?’

"Medical negligence" was the term originally used before "clinical negligence" and  is still often used to mean "clinical negligence.”  Currently, the term “clinical negligence” is more likely to be used as it includes claims for dental negligence.

A claim for "clinical negligence” will cover compensation for mistakes made by both the medical and dental professions.

The most common types of clinical negligence are:

  • A delay or failure to diagnose or treat a condition
  • Inappropriate treatment
  • Failure to obtain valid consent

To bring a successful clinical negligence claim it is necessary to prove:

  • The healthcare treatment received fell below a generally accepted standard and caused physical or psychiatric injury.
  • An existing injury or condition has been made worse as a result of medical negligence.
  • Negligent care caused the harm and not the underlying condition or an existing illness.

Time limit for making a claim for clinical negligence...

When a mistake is  made by a clinical or medical professional, that appears to have caused a physical or psychological injury, it is vital to immediately seek professional legal advice.

A claim for clinical negligence must start within 3 years from:

  • The date of your injury, or
  • The date when you first discovered your injury was the result of an action you now  believe was negligent.

Clinical / Medical Misdiagnosis

The consequences of a misdiagnosis can be far reaching

When an incorrect diagnosis has been made ... the underlying condition, which is actually the cause of the symptoms will still be untreated and there could be further health problems as a result of the medications prescribed in error.

When a condition is left completely undiagnosed and untreated ... the greater the chances that the condition will worsen, greatly increasing the pain and discomfort suffered and  prolonging the period of recovery.  In some cases, failure to correctly diagnose can lead to severe disability or loss of life.

Unnecessary treatment can cause their own additional health problems... and often includes associated psychological injury.

Prescription errors

Prescription or medication errors include those involving incorrect drugs, dosage or patient allergies / reactions between multiple medicines, pills and other treatment types.

One of the most common reasons for a prescription error is because a GP / doctor has provided incomplete information or the instructions are illegible.

While  many of the errors may only have short term effects, some do result in serious or even fatal injury either through use of the wrong drug/dose or from a delay in receiving the required treatment.

Did you know...

  • Up to one in twenty prescriptions are, on average, found to be incorrect
  • The prescription error rate is two in five for adults aged over 75
  • Nearly one in five of children under 14 were given an incorrect prescription


There are TWO main types of damages that you can claim due to an undiagnosed injury/ condition:

  • General compensation for the pain and suffering incurred
  • Special damages to compensate any financial losses

The amount of compensation you receive will depend on the type of injury and personal circumstances, such as the consequences of the injury.

Loss of income

There is likely to be a direct financial impact if your ability to work or quality of life has been seriously affected, including a number of other expenses, such as medical bills.

How Your Legal Friend can help you..

As experienced clinical negligence specialists, we know that many of those who have been affected by clinical negligence will want to seek an explanation for why they received sub-standard treatment.

We are committed to ensuring victims of clinical negligence obtain the answers and receive the justice they deserve, which could prevent others from suffering in a similar way.