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Undiagnosed & misdiagnosed
subarachnoid haemorrhage claims

Undiagnosed & misdiagnosed subarachnoid haemorrhage claims

How much can you claim?

A 50 year old woman's subarachnoid haemorrhage was not diagnosed after spending 12 days under observation at a neurology centre. She was awarded:


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Claiming for a subarachnoid haemorrhage

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

A subarachnoid haemorrhage is a rare type of stroke that can have devastating complications both in the short and long-term. Without effective treatment, a subarachnoid haemorrhage can lead to life-long disabilities and, in some case, be fatal. The vast majority of patients in the UK suffering receive an excellent standard of care but there are some that experience medical negligence, placing further stress and worries on them.

The misdiagnosis of subarachnoid haemorrhage doesn’t only affect a patient’s emotional wellbeing either. It can have a large impact on their prognosis and the long-term effects that they will have to live with. For those that have been affected, misdiagnosis of subarachnoid haemorrhage compensation can help support them. Taking a case forward doesn’t only help you understand what went wrong but can provide you with financial compensation too. The compensation received can alleviate money concerns and help you cover additional costs that may now be required, such as medical care, adaptions to your home, or further treatments to improve your quality of life.

We know that deciding to take a subarachnoid haemorrhage misdiagnosis lawsuit forward can be difficult. But we’re on hand to offer you all the support and guidance you need. Backed by experience, our specialist team of medical negligence solicitors will take care of the process from beginning to end and will even represent you in court if necessary, allowing you to focus on your recovery and moving forward.

Subarachnoid haemorrhage malpractice is serious and it’s right that those affected are able to make a claim. We’ll work on your behalf to secure the best possible outcome for your individual case.

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

The time limit on making a subarachnoid haemorrhage claim

Subarachnoid haemorrhage misdiagnosis claims must be brought forward in line with the medical claim time limit. You have up to three years to make a claim but we advise our clients to start the process as soon as they can.

Starting a claim sooner can make it easier to obtain the documents that we will use to support your case. These documents may include medical records and payslips. You will also need to provide a witness statement that details your experiences to show how you have been affected and demonstrate that medical negligence occurred. Claimants are typically able to give more details in their witness statement the sooner they are conducted, providing a stronger foundation for your case to be built on.

Your time limit doesn’t start from when you first visited a GP or doctor with concerns but when you first realised that medical negligence had occurred. This can be a significant period after your initial visit, particularly if you were misdiagnosed. Placing the ‘date of knowledge’, the legal term for the start of the timeframe, can be difficult in some cases, especially those that are complex. But we’re on hand to offer you advice and support, including clarifying exactly how long you have to make your subarachnoid haemorrhage misdiagnosis claim against those responsible for the medical negligence you experienced.

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.

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 subarachnoid haemorrhage 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 subarachnoid haemorrhage 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 subarachnoid haemorrhage 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 meningitis 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 meningitis 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 subarachnoid haemorrhage 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 subarachnoid haemorrhage?

It is possible to make a claim and there are case studies of misdiagnosis of subarachnoid haemorrhage claims. In order to be successful, you will need to prove that medical professionals missed an opportunity to achieve an accurate diagnosis and that undue suffering was caused as a result of negligence.

There are a range of ways that subarachnoid haemorrhage claims can demonstrate either of these factors, from showing that necessary tests where not conducted to not having to live with life altering conditions caused by subarachnoid haemorrhage misdiagnosis. Our subarachnoid haemorrhage misdiagnosis lawyers will listen to your experiences and use evidence to support your claim for compensation.

If you want to learn if you have a potential subarachnoid haemorrhage misdiagnosis compensation claim, we can help you.

How much compensation will I get?

Undiagnosed subarachnoid haemorrhage cases are all different and the compensation received by successful claimants reflects this.  It’s impossible to say exactly how much compensation you could receive without fully understanding your circumstances but we’ll work with you to give your misdiagnosed subarachnoid haemorrhage claim a value that accurately reflects the suffering it has caused.

We’ll take a variety of factors into consideration when we place a value on your case, from the additional suffering you endured due to treatment being delayed to the long-term effects it has had on your health and quality of life. Subarachnoid haemorrhage misdiagnosis compensation claims are valued to fully reflect how the medical negligence has affected you, both in the short and long term.

While we can’t tell you how much compensation you could receive from subarachnoid haemorrhage misdiagnosis without speaking with you, the NHS does pay out millions every year to those affected by medical negligence. Through using our experience of the legal process and supporting those making claims, we will give your misdiagnosed subarachnoid haemorrhage lawsuit the best possible change of success.

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 or a loved one has experienced missed subarachnoid haemorrhage diagnosis and you would like to make a compensation claim against those responsible you must act within three years. 

You have three years to bring misdiagnosed subarachnoid haemorrhage cases forward from the ‘date of knowledge’, the same as in all medical claims. The term ‘date of knowledge’ can make it confusing to understand exactly how long you have to take action but we’re here to help. The legal term simply means the point that you first realised that a mistake had been made with your care. In complex subarachnoid haemorrhage misdiagnosis cases, it can be difficult to pinpoint this date. We’ll use our skills and expertise to clarify the timeframe for you.

Wherever possible, we recommend that those affected by medical negligence take action as soon as they are able to. It not only means that you can put the process behind you quicker but could support your claim too. Doctor misdiagnosed subarachnoid haemorrhage cases will be supported with a variety of evidence and this can often be easier to obtain the closer to the ‘date of knowledge’ these documents are requested.

What is a subarachnoid haemorrhage?

A subarachnoid haemorrhage is when bleeding occurs in the subarachnoid space – the area between the arachnoid membrane and the pia mater the surrounds the brain. The bleeding can place pressure on areas of the brain, leading to brain damage that can have life-altering effects and, in some cases, be fatal. A delay in subarachnoid haemorrhage diagnosis can significantly affect the prognosis of a patient.

How is a subarachnoid hameorrhage different from a stroke?

A subarachnoid haemorrhage is a rare type of stroke. In the UK, around 1 in 20 stokes is subarachnoid haemorrhage and they may also be referred to as hemorrhagic strokes.

What causes a subarachnoid haemorrhage?

The most common cause of a subarachnoid haemorrhage is a brain aneurysm – a bulge in a blood vessel caused by weaknesses in the wall. A brain aneurysm doesn’t typically cause any symptoms but when it ruptures it leads to bleeding within the brain.

Around 80% of subarachnoid haemorrhages are caused by a brain aneurysm. They can occur in anyone but some people are at a higher level of risk. Smoking, high blood pressure, excessive alcohol consumption, and family history are factors that can increase the likelihood of brain aneurysms developing.

Other causes of subarachnoid haemorrhage include:

  • Brain tumours that have damaged the blood vessels
  • Arteriovenous malformations – where blood vessels have developed abnormally
  • A brain infection
  • Fibromuscular dysplasia – a condition that causes arteries to narrow
  • Moyamoya disease – a condition that causes blockages in the brain’s arteries
  • Vasculitis – Where the blood vessels within the brain become inflamed

What are the symptoms of a subarachnoid haemorrhage?

In most cases, there are no warning signs of a subarachnoid haemorrhage and symptoms will often happen suddenly.

The main symptoms of subarachnoid haemorrhage include:

  • A sudden agonising headache
  • A stiff neck
  • Nausea or being sick
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Other stroke like symptoms, such as slurred speech and weakness on one side of the body

It’s vital that medical attention is sought quickly following the symptoms of subarachnoid haemorrhage to diagnose and treat the condition quickly. A delay in subarachnoid haemorrhage diagnosis can have a serious effect on the prognosis of a patient and as a result it’s crucial that those responsible for their care link the signs of the condition to the correct diagnosis.

How is a subarachnoid haemorrhage diagnosed?

If you have a suspected subarachnoid haemorrhage you will be referred to a hospital for diagnosis.

The most common way for medical professionals to achieve an accurate diagnosis to through a CT scan. A CT scan takes a series of X-rays to create a detailed 3D image, which can then be used to check for signs of a brain haemorrhage and show where bleeding is occurring in the brain.

However, not all subarachnoid haemorrhages can be picked up by a CT scan. If a CT scan does not give a diagnosis but your symptoms suggest that you have a subarachnoid haemorrhage, doctors responsible for your care should order an additional test in the form of a lumbar puncture. A lumbar puncture removes a sample of the fluid that surrounds your brain and spinal cord to be analysed for signs of bleeding.

Once a diagnosis has been achieved, further tests, such as a MRI scan, can be used to give a more accurate picture and plan an effective course of treatment.

For those suffering, a delayed diagnosis of subarachnoid haemorrhage can have devastating consequences and means that they are more likely to be left with life-altering conditions. If you’ve experienced the wrong diagnosis of subarachnoid haemorrhage you may have a failure to diagnose claim that you could bring forward against those responsible. Subarachnoid haemorrhage that is left undiagnosed can develop further and place additional pressure on the brain and those affected have the right to understand what went wrong and receive compensation.

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

How is a subarachnoid haemorrhage treated?

Once you’ve been diagnosed with subarachnoid haemorrhage you’ll often be moved to a specialist neuroscience unit for your treatment.

Treatment options are split into two categories – medication and surgery – and sometimes a treatment plan will include both aspects.

  • Medication

One of the main complications of subarachnoid haemorrhage is secondary cerebral ischaemia. This can cause brain damage through disrupting or reducing the supply of blood to the brain. Medication is often given to reduce the risk of this occurring. Other medication that may be given to patients include pain relief, and drugs to prevent seizures and vomiting.

  • Surgery

If the subarachnoid haemorrhage was caused by a brain aneurysm, surgery will often be used to repair the affected blood vessel and reduce the risk of it rupturing again. Surgery offered can be either neurosurgical clipping or endovascular coiling. The surgery that is recommended for your personal case will consider a range of factors, including the size and location of the aneurysm and the risk of long term complications.

Treatment that is delivered quickly gives patients the best chance of surviving a subarachnoid haemorrhage without any complications. But in some cases, a wrong subarachnoid haemorrhage diagnosis can lead to a delay in treatment. If this has happened to you or a loved one, you may be able to make a claim for failure to diagnose subarachnoid haemorrhage.

How can a subarachnoid haemorrhage be misdiagnosed?

In most cases, a patient attending a hospital can rely on the treatment they are given. But there are cases of misdiagnosis of subarachnoid haemorrhage. Misdiagnosis doesn’t just place extra stress on a patient during an already challenging time but it can seriously affect the prognosis too.

There are many ways a doctor or GP misdiagnosis subarachnoid haemorrhage can occur, including:

  • The symptoms and signs of subarachnoid haemorrhage being mistaken for another condition
  • The necessary test results not being ordered for an accurate diagnosis
  • A lumbar puncture not being ordered after a CT scan was clear but symptoms indicated subarachnoid haemorrhage
  • Abnormalities in test results not being followed up
  • Unnesseary delays in tests being conducted or surgery being delivered.

What are the complications of a subarachnoid haemorrhage?

Subarachnoid haemorrhage is a serious condition that has been linked to several complications. Treatment and a quick diagnosis can help reduce the likelihood of complications arising.

According to the NHS complications of subarachnoid haemorrhage may include:

  • Rebleeding – During the initial few days following a subarachnoid haemorrhage the risk of rebleeding is highest. This is where a brain aneurysm has caused the condition and continues to burst after it’s sealed itself. The complication carries a high risk of permanent disability and death and treatment is needed quickly.
  • Delayed cerebral ischaemia – Following a subarachnoid haemorrhage the flow of blood to the brain can be disrupted, causing with it the risk of brain damage. Medication is often given following a subarachnoid haemorrhage to reduce the chance of this complication occurring.
  • Hydrocephalus – Hydrocephalus can cause brain damage and is a common complication of subarachnoid haemorrhage. It is the build-up of fluid in the brain but it can be treated through draining away the excess.

Long-term complications of subarachnoid haemorrhage

As well as complications that occur soon after a subarachnoid haemorrhage, there is also the potential for long-term issues to arise. These complications can affect a person’s quality of life.

  • Epilepsy – Around 1 in 20 people who have a subarachnoid haemorrhage will develop epilepsy, where they have repeated seizures. It is possible to control epilepsy through medication.
  • Cognitive dysfunction – A subarachnoid haemorrhage can cause brain damage and most people that have experienced the condition will have some degree of cognitive dysfunction, although the severity is varied. For instance, those affected may find their memory, concentration, or planning skills have been affected.
  • Emotional problems – Emotional problems, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD, are also a common complication of subarachnoid haemorrhage.

Late subarachnoid haemorrhage diagnosis can lead to vital treatment not being given as quickly as it should, leading to a rise in the potential for both short and long-term complications to arise. For this reason, a delay in diagnosis of subarachnoid haemorrhage could be the basis for a compensation claim.

How often is a subarachnoid haemorrhage misdiagnosed?

There aren’t any official figures showing the percentage of subarachnoid haemorrhage misdiagnosis in the UK. But it on rare occasions it does happen. Across all patients being treated in the UK for a range of conditions, previous research suggests that as many as one in six patients may be misdiagnosed to begin with.

What are the statistics on subarachnoid haemorrhage?

In the UK, around 5% of the strokes that occur are subarachnoid haemorrhage. Annually, this accounts for around 6,000 patients. Subarachnoid haemorrhages can happen at any age but they are most common in those aged between 45 and 70, and are slightly more likely to occur in women than men.