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Undiagnosed & misdiagnosed
subdural haematoma claims

Undiagnosed & misdiagnosed subdural haematoma claims

How much can you claim?

Hospital staff failed to undertake a scan on a 72 year old who had been admitted with severe head trauma. Her large subdural haematoma was left undiagnosed and caused life-changing damage. She was awarded:


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Claiming for a subdural haematoma

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

Subdural hematoma is a serious condition where blood collects between the skull and brain. It has the potential to be fatal and cause lifelong disabilities. Fast, accurate diagnosis and treatment can improve the prognosis of this devastating condition. But where medical negligence occurs, it can increase the risk of complications and leave patients feeling vulnerable.

Fortunately, in the UK, most people receive an excellent standard of care and those that experience medical negligence are small in number. However, where it does occur it can have a huge impact. Those that have been affected have the right to make a compensation claim, receiving not only financial compensation to help them move forward and reflect the suffering but help in better understanding why they were let down by those responsible for their care.

We understand that taking any claim forward can be a difficult decision. But with the support of a subdural hematoma misdiagnosis lawyer, you’ll be guided and supported from the very beginning of the process. Here at Your Legal Friend, we have a wealth of experience and knowledge in personal medical claims and bringing them forward, we could use our skills to help you hold those responsible for your suffering to account. 

We’ll act on your behalf and in your interests throughout your subdural hematoma misdiagnosis claim to build a strong case and can even represent you in court if necessary. If you’re interested in learning how we can support you and how much compensation you could receive, you can contact us today to speak to a member of our professional, experienced team.

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

The time limit on making a subdural haematoma claim

All medical claims, including a subdural hematoma misdiagnosis lawsuit, are subject to a time limit on how long patients affected have to being their case forward. You have three years from the ‘date of knowledge’.

The term ‘date of knowledge’ can often confuse those looking to make a claim but it simply refers to the date that you realised you had experienced medical negligence. In many cases, this occurs once you receive an accurate diagnosis but in others it can happen even after this point. If you’re unsure of how long you have to act or if you have a case, our team are on hand to offer you the insights and skills you need.

We’ve worked with those bringing forward medical negligence claims and will be able to help you understand when the ‘date of knowledge’ occurred, identifying how long you have to act.

While you do have up to three years to make a claim we advise our clients to act sooner. This means that your case will be concluded quicker allowing you to understand why you were let down and move forward sooner. If successful, it’ll also give you access to the compensation sooner, allowing you to relax and focus on your recovery.

Taking action as soon as you are able can also support your case. We’ll obtain documents, such as medical records and payslips, to demonstrate your claims and these are generally easier to obtain closer to the ‘date of knowledge’. We will also ask you to provide a witness statement with as much detail as possible, a task that claimants often find easier the sooner they complete it too.

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 subdural haematoma 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 subdural haematoma 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 subdural haematoma 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 subdural haematoma 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 subdural haematoma 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 subdural haematoma 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 subdural haematoma?

It is possible to make subdural hematoma misdiagnosis claims against those responsible for your suffering. In order to be successful, you will need to demonstrate that the misdiagnosis of subdural hematoma was caused by medical negligence and has caused you undue suffering.

A misdiagnosed subdural hematoma lawsuit will consider many different factors, such as if those responsible for your care undertook the necessary steps to assess your symptoms and whether these were followed up. There are a range of ways subdural hematoma misdiagnosis can occur and whatever your circumstances you’ll need evidence to prove your claims. When you work with us you can rely on our experienced, knowledgeable team to take all the necessary steps to secure you the best subdural hematoma misdiagnosis compensation possible.

How much compensation will I get?

Misdiagnosis of subdural hematoma compensation reflects each person’s experience and as a result the amounts vary. We can’t tell you how much you will receive without first speaking about your case. However, medical negligence can amount to thousands and every year the amount that affected patients receive totals millions.

We recognise that subdural hematoma claims are all different and take this into consideration when placing a value on your case. We take the time to listen to your experience to ensure that all impacts are fully considered, both those that happened immediately after your illness and those that will continue to affect your life. Subdural hematoma misdiagnosis compensation claims can take a wide variety of factors into consideration, from travel costs to potential changes you will need to make to your home due to disability caused by medical negligence.

When you choose to work with Your Legal Friend to make a claim for subdural hematoma malpractice, you can rest assured that we will cover all aspects to deliver you the best outcome possible.

How long do I have to make a claim?

If you have experienced a wrong diagnosis of subdural hematoma and would like to make a compensation claim against those responsible, you must do so within three years.

The timeframe for making a claim begins from the date that your first realised that you had experienced medical negligence, legally referred to as the ‘date of knowledge’. This can be when you receive an accurate diagnosis or even after treatment has started. In a negligence claim against subdural hematoma it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly when your timeframe started. If you’re unsure exactly how long you have to bring a case forward, we can help you. We have expert subdural hematoma misdiagnosis lawyers on hand to offer you advice and guidance, including unravelling your experience to explain the time limit.

While you do have up to three year to make a subdural hematoma misdiagnosis claim, we advise that you start sooner rather than later. This can make obtaining vital documents and witness statements easier, supporting your case.

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

What is a subdural haematoma?

A subdural hematoma is a serious condition where blood collects between the skull and the surface of the brain. A subdural hematoma can increase pressure and damage brain tissue, which can result in brain damage and death.

There are several different types of subdural hematoma, the most serious are acute subdural hematoma, which are often associated with significant brain damage and long recovery times. The prognosis for subacute and chronic subdural hematoma is often better but there are still risks even if surgery is an option.

Is a subdural haematoma a stroke?

No, subdural hematoma is not a stoke although the symptoms can often be similar. A stroke occurs when part of the blood supply to the brain is cut off, while subdural hematoma is the result of bleeding in the subdural space following a head injury. It is common for a misdiagnosed subdural hematoma to be linked to a stroke.

What causes subdural haematoma?

In the majority of cases, a subdural hematoma is caused be a significant head injury. Injuries can cause the blood vessels of the brain to become damaged, leading to bleeding in the space between the skull and the brain. As the blood gathers within this space, known as the subdural, it can lead to a build-up of pressure. In rare cases, subdural hematomas may occur after a minor bump to the head.

A serious head injury can cause a subdural hematoma is anyone. But there are risk factors that could increase the likelihood of the condition developing or a minor head injury leading to a chronic subdural hematoma, where the blood gathers slowly over a period of weeks.

Risk factors for subdural hematoma include:

  • Increasing age – The chances of developing chronic subdural haematomas increase with age, with the condition most commonly occurring in people aged over 60. This has been linked to increased tension on the brain’s blood vessels as we age, making them already more delicate and vulnerable to injury.
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol – The brain can shrink if alcohol is misused over a long period of time. The shrinkage means that the brain’s blood vessels are more vulnerable to damage.
  • Blood thinning medication – Blood thinning medication is designed to reduce the risk of blood clots forming. However, it can also mean that should bleeding occur the blood clots less easily to stop the flow. As a result, blood thinning medication can make bleeding sustained through a head injury more severe.
  • Existing conditions – Other medical conditions have also been linked to subdural hematoma, including epilepsy, haemophilia, brain aneurysms, and cancerous brain tumours.

What are the symptoms of a subdural haematoma?

Subdural hematoma can develop very quickly or gradually over time depending on whether the condition was sustained from a serious or minor head injury. The signs of subdural hematoma can vary based on the pressure that is being applied to the brain tissue and where in the brain the blood is building up.

Symptoms of a subdural hematoma may include:

  • A headache that keeps getting worse
  • Nausea and being sick
  • Confusion
  • Personality changes
  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech and other speech problems
  • Double vision and other vision issues
  • Paralysis on one side of the body
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

Emergency medical attention should always be sought after a serious head injury. A late subdural hematoma diagnosis gives the condition further chance to develop, leading to an increased risk of life altering complications or death occurring as a result. Therefore, if you’ve experienced a missed subdural hematoma diagnosis, you may have a compensation claim that you can take forward.

How is subdural haematoma diagnosed?

A subdural hematoma is diagnosed based on several different factors – your medical history, symptoms, and the results of a brain scan.

  • Medical history

The person responsible for your care should assess your medical history, such as seeing if you’ve recently received treatment for a head injury that could have led to a subdural hematoma. They should also check if you take any medication or have existing medical conditions that could increase your risk of a subdural hematoma forming.

  • Symptoms

If a subdural hematoma is suspected you will be checked for physical symptoms of the condition, this could include testing how your pupils respond to light to check for signs of brain damage. Verbal and motor responses will also be used to check your level of consciousness and determine severity of brain damage. If the results suggest that there could be a problem with the functioning of your brain, furthering testing will be ordered.

  • Brain scan

Most commonly a CT scan is used to diagnose subdural hematomas through showing where the blood has collected. A MRI scan may also be used in some cases.

A quick diagnosis is vital for minimising the effects of a subdural hematoma for each patient. An accurate and quick diagnosis relies on those responsible for your care linking your symptoms with the condition and ordering the necessary tests to be conducted. Failure to diagnose subdural haematoma can lead to serious complications and potentially prove fatal. Those affected by undiagnosed subdural hematoma may be able to make a failure to diagnose claim to reflect the suffering that medical negligence has caused.

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

How is subdural haematoma treated?

In most cases, subdural hematomas are treated through surgery. However, some may heal on their own and if this is likely medical professionals may instead recommend that you are closely monitored.

All surgeries carry an element of risk and the potential complications that could occur during brain surgery can be substantial, though rare. These risks can include further bleeding in the brain, an infection, seizures, and a stroke. In the case of subdural hematoma, it is also possible for blood to again begin gathering between the skull and the brain, in which case further surgery may be needed.

There are two main types of surgery used to treat subdural hematoma:

  • Craniotomy – A craniotomy is a procedure where the blood is gently removed using suction and irrigation after a temporary flap has been created in the skull. It is the surgery that is most commonly used for acute subdural hematoma, where the condition has developed quickly after a major head injury.
  • Burr holes – Where the subdural hematoma has occurred gradually following a minor head injury, burr holes are more commonly used. During the surgery, small holes are drilled into the skull to allow a neurosurgeon to drain the hematoma away.

Effective surgery is often vital for improving a patient’s prognosis and minimising the chance for long-term complications, such as severe brain damage, occurring. As a result, a delayed diagnosis of subdural hematoma can have serious consequences. Cases of misdiagnosis of subdural hematoma demonstrate the need for effective diagnosis and treatment.

How is subdural haematoma misdiagnosed?

In most cases, doctors will accurately diagnose subdural hematoma but it is possible for delays or misdiagnosis to occur.

Misdiagnosed subdural hematoma cases include the initial medical practitioner assessing symptoms missing the signs, necessary tests not being ordered, or the result of a test being read inaccurately. Wrong subdural hematoma diagnosis can lead to the blood gathering between the skull and brain worsening, increasing the risk of both long-term brain damage and death. 

Those affected by a delay in diagnosis of subdural hematoma may be able to make a compensation claim, reflecting the suffering it has caused and how the individual has been let down by the healthcare system.

What conditions can subdural haematoma be misdiagnosed as?

The symptoms associated with subdural hematoma mean the signs can be mistaken for other conditions leading to a delay in subdural hematoma diagnosis. 

Symptoms such as a headache and nausea are common signs of many other conditions. If the signs of subdural hematoma are initially mild, it can lead to doctor misdiagnosed subdural hematoma occurring in some cases. While the condition may be difficult to diagnose in some cases you should be able to rely on those responsible for your care to take all reasonable steps and order necessary tests in order to ensure that an accurate diagnosis is achieved.

The symptoms of subdural hematoma can often be mistaken for:

  • Strokes
  • Infections
  • Dementia

How often is subdural haematoma misdiagnosed?

There aren’t official figures showing the percentage of subdural hematoma misdiagnosis in the UK but it on rare occasions it does happen. Across all patients being treated in the UK, previous research suggests that as many as one in six patients may be misdiagnosed.