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Stroke misdiagnosis &
delay in treatment claims

Stroke misdiagnosis & delay in treatment claims

How much can you claim?

A 39 year old man had a major stroke that left him brain damaged and wheelchair-bound after having a blood clot in his heart misdiagnosed as a chest infection. He was awarded:


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Claiming for a stroke

Medical negligence whilst uncommon can have a big impact on your life and wellbeing.

Strokes are a terrifying medical condition that must be treated as an emergency to minimise the risk of death and long-term, life altering conditions. A swift diagnosis and treatment by medical professionals is key to ensuring that those affected are given the best prognosis possible. But where medical negligence occurs it can lead to crucial delays that have a significant impact.

Around one in four strokes prove fatal within a year and half of survivors are left with disabilities, including those that severely affect quality of life. If medical negligence has affected a patient’s treatment and the results of the condition, stoke negligence compensation can help them hold those responsible to account. We understand that making any claim is a daunting prospect, particularly those of a personal nature. But taking action can help you to recover and receive the financial compensation that could make your life easier.

Many of those affected by medical negligence in the case of a stroke will require a level of care and will need to make adjustments to their life. A compensation claim can help you cover costs that will improve your quality of life, such as paying for further medical treatment, the care that you require, and adaptations to your home to facilitate disabilities.

We’ll be on hand to offer you support every step of the way, using our expert skills and insights to build you the best possible chance of success. We’ll work on your behalf from the very beginning to representing you in court if necessary, taking the worry and stress of a case out of your hands.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

The time limit on making a stroke claim

Stroke misdiagnosis claims are subject to the same time limit as all medical claims. From the ‘date of knowledge’ you have up to three years to make a case against those responsible for medical negligence.

The term ‘date of knowledge’ can be confusing but is simply refers to the point that you first realised negligence has occurred. In the misdiagnosis of stokes, this could be after you’ve received an accurate diagnosis or even after treatment has been concluded. If you’re unsure of exactly how long you have to bring your claims forward, our team of stroke misdiagnosis lawyers are on hand to help you. We’ll use our skills and knowledge of previous medical claims to identify the ‘date of knowledge’ in your case, allowing you to decide if you should take a case forward.

If you do not claim within the set time period, your claim will be considered ‘statute barred’ or ‘out of time’ and will unfortunately not be taken further. There are two exceptions to this rule, in the case of children and if the negligence directly led to a fatality. In these cases suing the NHS for negligence is still possible as the date on which time begins to run is the date of the child’s 18th birthday, and in the case of fatalities, from the date of death.

While you have a maximum of three years to act, we suggest to our clients that they do so as close as possible to the ‘date of knowledge’. Not only does taking swift action mean your case will be concluded sooner, allowing you to more forward, but it can support building your claim. Documents, such as medical records and payslips, are often easier to obtain the sooner they are requested, and you’ll typically find that you’re able to give more detail in your witness statement. These factors mean that it’s often wise to undertake a case as soon as you are able to.

Throughout your claim, Your Legal Friend will help you every step of the way

  • Specialist team of medical negligence solicitors
  • A wealth of knowledge and expertise
  • Advice, support and guidance throughout your claim
  • No win, no fee – guaranteed
  • Over 30 years’ experience in personal injury compensation
I am very happy and satisfied with the settlement you achieved for me and the service was excellent and thank you very much

Mrs E. Swaffield

Our stroke claims experience

Our medical negligence team has years of experience working on a wide variety of brain injury cases so we understand just how difficult a decision it can be to bring a stroke case.

That’s why we are committed to guiding you through every step of the process. We ensure that your claim is handled carefully and professionally by our specialist solicitors, while working alongside medical experts, to guarantee the best results for you.

Our brain injury team is headed by Laura Morgan who has a wealth of experience in leading complicated, high value stroke cases.

Laura is recognised within the legal profession as a leader in the field of medical negligence and serious injury compensation. Laura has acted in a wide range of cases over her 17 years of practice and has particular expertise in acting for children who have suffered brain injury due to mismanaged birth or surgical errors, and in managing claims that have resulted in the death of a loved one. Laura has achieved a number of large settlements including £5.4 million for a 7 year old and £4 million for an 11 year old child.

Laura’s expertise and dedication to her clients is recognised in the Chambers guide to the Legal Profession in which she was praised for the efficiency of her approach to case handling and described as “tenacious and detail-oriented”.

Laura has been a member of the Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel since 2005 and accredited as a Senior Litigator in the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) since 2006. Laura is also a member of the specialist lawyers panel for Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA), the UK’s leading charity committed to patient safety and justice.

The effects of medical negligence can be devastating for the individual and their families, so securing appropriate compensation for them as quickly as possible is our top priority.

Laura Morgan
Director of Medical Negligence

*Our No Win, No Fee agreement

Pay nothing if you lose your case, get maximum compensation if you win

Whatever the nature of your stroke claim, we always seek the maximum level of compensation for our clients – and if your case is unsuccessful, we don’t charge you any fees. This is our guarantee for all standard stroke claims.

With our no win, no fee guarantee, you pay nothing, unless you win your compensation claim. At that point you will only pay your insurance premium, if applicable, and the success fee, which will never be more than 25% of the amount you win.

No Win, No Fee Solicitors

Start your claim in 10 minutes

For a FREE, confidential, no-obligation assessment of your claim, simply complete this short form. We aim to call you back within 10 minutes.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

The stroke claims process

Step 1 - Obtaining your medical records

We ask you to sign forms of authority so that we can obtain your medical records from your GP and any hospitals that have treated you.

Step 2 - Providing your statement of what happened

As the medical experts we instruct need to know what happened during your treatment, we work with you to draft a detailed, accurate statement in your own words.

Step 3 - Minimising your loss

You are responsible for minimising the losses you have incurred as a result of the alleged medical negligence, so you need to attend any available treatments that could aid your recovery.  You may also need to return to work as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Step 4 - Establishing that a breach of duty occurred

You must prove that the treatment you received fell below the standard expected of a reasonably competent and skilful medical specialist of the type who treated you and that, as a result, you suffered a loss or injury.  To do this, we obtain independent medical evidence from an expert in the appropriate area of medicine.

Step 5 - Establishing the effect of the breach of duty

We have to establish whether the sub-standard treatment you received is likely to have led to your injury or loss. As this can be difficult to establish, you may need to see one or more medical experts who will assess your current condition and what the future holds for you.

Step 6 - Calculating the value of your claim

The value of your claim comprises:

  • general damages for the pain, suffering and impact of the negligence on your daily life both now and in the future
  • actual financial losses such as loss of earnings, cost of care, medical and travel expenses.

Step 7 - Proving your loss

You need to keep all original financial documents safe as these will be needed when we prepare your case to go to Court. These documents include accounts, payslips, and receipts for expenses and medical treatments.

Step 8 - Preparing your case for Court

Although only a small number of cases proceed to a trial, we prepare every case for this eventuality.

Step 9 - Attending the trial in Court

The trial takes place before a Circuit or High Court judge who will make a decision based on the evidence we have prepared.

Step 10 - Awarding your compensation claim

If you win your case, the amount of compensation will be decided by negotiation with the defendant or, if your case goes to trial, by the judge. The defendant will usually be ordered to pay us the costs we have incurred in preparing your case. We will also agree a date by which your compensation will be paid to us so that we can pay your compensation as quickly as possible.

Frequently asked questions

Can I claim for a misdiagnosed stroke?

The misdiagnosis of strokes can be the result of medical negligence and those responsible for your care letting you down. If this has been the case in your experience, you may be able to make a stroke misdiagnosis compensation claim.

In order to successfully hold those responsible to account, you’ll need to prove that professionals within the healthcare system acted in a way that is not up to standard. This could include:

  • A delay in diagnosis of a stroke due to a doctor failing to recognise the symptoms
  • The necessary tests to achieve an accurate diagnosis not being ordered
  • An unnecessary delay in a brain scan being conducted if you have the symptoms of a stroke – a scan should be completed within 24 hours
  • A stroke misdiagnosis occurring due to test results being read inaccurately or abnormalities not being followed up
  • A delay in vital treatment being delivered

The quicker a stroke is diagnosed the less chance there is of long-term complications occurring. For a medical claim you’ll also need to show that the delayed diagnosis of stroke has caused you undue suffering. This can take many forms, from the stress and worry caused by a misdiagnosis to how your quality of life has been affected by disabilities that occurred due to complications.

Can I claim if a loved one was affected by a misdiagnosed stroke?

Yes, you may be able to make a claim if a loved one has been affected by the misdiagnosis of strokes. For instance, if your partner suffered a stroke and was consequently misdiagnosed, leading to life alerting complications, you could put forward a claim. You will still need to need to demonstrate that medical negligence was to blame and bring a case forward within the three-year time limit.

How much compensation will I get?

Stroke misdiagnosis compensation claims are all unique and the amount of compensation that is awarded varies from case to case. Should you have a stroke negligence lawsuit to bring forward, our expert team will work with you to place a value on your individual experiences.

We’ll take a range of factors into consideration, from how the medical negligence experienced has affected your level of independence to potential loss of earnings through not being able to work. A stroke misdiagnosis lawyer will be able to explain to you how much compensation you could receive if successful after listening to your case.

While we can’t value your claim without talking to you first, medical negligence cases cost the NHS millions every year, with some cases receiving hundreds of thousands in financial compensation.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

How long do I have to make a claim?

If you want to hold those responsible for stroke negligence malpractice to account, you must make a claim within three years from the point that you first realised mistakes has been made, legally referred to as the ‘date of knowledge.

Despite the three-year time frame in which stroke negligence claims can be brought forward, we urge those affected to take steps as soon as possible. Stroke medical negligence claims can be complex and we’ll use a variety of evidence to support your case. This could include documents, such as medical records, as well as witness statements from yourself and others. It can be easier to obtain evidence the closer to the ‘date of knowledge’ they are requested, helping to build a strong foundation for you stroke negligence compensation claim.

What is a stroke?

A stroke is a life threatening medical condition that should be treated as a medical emergency.

Stokes occur when the blood supply to part of your brain is cut off, most commonly occurring due to a blockage. However, they can also be the result of bleeding in and around the brain. As the blood carries oxygen and other essential nutrients to the brain, a stroke can cause damage to brain cells, leading to potentially life-altering side effects.

What causes a stroke?

There are two main types of strokes and they have different causes.

Ischaemic strokes

An ischaemic stroke is the most common and is the result of a blood clot forming and blocking the supply of blood to the brain. Blood clots typically form in arteries that have narrowed, a naturally occurring process as people age. However, there are some factors that can increase the risk of this process accelerating, including:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes
  • Excessive alcohol consumption

Haemorrhagic strokes

Haemorrhagic stroke occur when a blood vessel within the skull bursts and bleeds into and around the brain. The most common reason for a haemorrhagic stroke is a high blood pressure, which can weaken the arteries. Factors that can increase the risk of high blood pressure include:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Smoking
  • A lack of exercise
  • Stress

Ruptured brain aneurysms may also cause stokes. A brain aneurysm is where the vessels in the brain have weakened, allowing a bulge to occur.

What are the symptoms of a stroke?

The most common signs of a stoke can be remembered with the FAST test:

  • Face – The face may droop to one side and the person may not be able to smile. You may also notice the mouth or eye dropping.
  • Arms – A person suffering from a stroke may not be able to lift their arms and keep them there due to weakness and numbness.
  • Speech – A person’s speech may be slurred or they may not be able to talk at all if they are suffering a stroke.
  • Time – If any of the symptoms of a stroke are noticed 999 should be dialled immediately.

While the FAST test identifies the most common and recognisable signs of a stoke there are also others that may occur. These may include:

  • Complete paralysis on one side of the body
  • Confusion
  • Loss or blurring of vision
  • Dizziness
  • Problems with co-ordination and balance
  • Sudden, severe headaches
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Loss of consciousness

Late stoke diagnosis can have a serious impact on the prognosis of a patient. A wrong stroke diagnosis can leave a patient living with severe disabilities for the rest of their lives and even prove fatal if treatment is not delivered quick enough. As a result, it’s vital that the warning signs and symptoms are recognised and acted upon quickly.

What are the complications of a stroke?

Stokes can be fatal but they can also have long-term complications for those that survive the condition. Around half of stroke survivors will be left with a disability, with a third of these requiring a level of care as a result.

The complications each patient experiences can vary, depending on which part of the brain is affected. Some of the most common problems following a stroke are:

  • Problems with vision, such as field vision loss and processing the information received from the eyes.
  • Difficulty communicating with speech and language, a problem that is known as aphasia.
  • Short-term memory and concentration issues, as well as an impact on other thinking processes.
  • Problems with mobility that can affect movement, balance, and cause pain. This is most common among people that experience muscle weakness or paralysis during a stroke
  • An effect on bladder and bowel control, this is more common during the early stage of recovering after a stroke.

The seriousness of the consequences of a stoke, show how a missed stroke diagnosis can have a lasting impact on the patient and their loved ones lives. Where medical negligence is to blame for misdiagnosed stoke cases, it may be possible to receive compensation, reflecting the damage and suffering delayed treatment has caused.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

How is a stroke diagnosed?

There are several stages to diagnosing a stoke. Initially, when you first arrive at a hospital a doctor should assess your symptoms and order tests to achieve a diagnosis. Tests that may be conducted include a blood test, checking your pulse, and measuring blood pressure.

A brain scan will always be carried out. This is to determine a number of factors that may affect the treatment plan, including the type of stroke occurring, which part of the brain it is affecting, and how severe it is. You should receive a brain scan within 24 hours and in some cases people should receive a scan within an hour.

Other tests could also be conducted after a diagnosis to assess the effects, such as a swallow test and tests on the heart and blood vessels.

Failure to diagnose a stroke could lead to death or life alerting conditions. It’s vital that medical professionals not only act quickly on the signs of a stroke but recognise the symptoms and order the necessary tests as any delay in stroke diagnosis can have far reaching implications for a patient’s prognosis.

How is a stroke treated?

A stroke is a life threatening medical condition that should be treated as a medical emergency. Effective treatment can prevent long-term disabilities among survivors and reduces the number of people that die from the condition.

Whether a stoke is ischaemic or haemorrhagic can have an effect on the treatment that is delivered. However, in most cases it involves taking medication to prevent further strokes from occurring. In rare cases, surgery may also be needed to either unblock arteries or remove blood from the brain.

What conditions can a stroke be misdiagnosed as?

There are other medical conditions that can mimic the symptoms of a stroke, resulting in a wrong stroke diagnosis and a delay in vital, life saving treatment being delivered.

Cases of misdiagnosis of strokes have seen the condition linked to other causes, including:

  • Migraines
  • Seizures
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Subdural bleeding

While symptoms may at first be associated with other conditions, tests should indicate the need for further assessment. Where an undiagnosed stroke has occurred, it may possible for those affected to bring forward a failure to diagnose claim to hold those responsible to account. Stroke misdiagnosis cases highlight how a delay in treatment can have a lifelong impact on those that have been affected.

How often are strokes misdiagnosed?

There aren’t any official stroke misdiagnosis statistics for UK available but it can happen. Most commonly, the signs of a stroke are linked to another condition, meaning that treatment is delayed. Research shows that fast action is important in the case of strokes, not only increasing a patient’s chance of survival but minimising long-term complications. For this reason, a doctor misdiagnosed stroke could be the grounds of a medical negligence compensation claim.

Stroke misdiagnosis stories

There have been misdiagnosed strokes stories that have made it into the news, highlighting how the condition can be misdiagnosed and the seriousness of the consequences, including:

  • A stroke victim’s condition being undetected and instead the patient being labelled as ‘mad’ due to aphasia, speech loss following a stroke. Read more.

A stroke victim dying after a paramedic wrongly attributed his symptoms to a simple ear infection. Read more.

What are the statistics of strokes?

According to the Stroke Associates, a stroke happens in the UK every 3 minutes 27 seconds, equating to over 150,000 cases annually. Strokes are more common as people age and by the age 75 one in five women and one in six men will have had a stroke.

Stokes are a serious emergency and are the fourth single largest cause of death in the UK. One in eight strokes are fatal within the first 30 days and a further quarter a fatal within a year. It’s not just the figures on fatal strokes that are significant but those that show the long-term effects a stroke can have. Half of stroke survivors have a disability, making it one of the largest causes for disability, and for around a third of those they become dependent on others.