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Bowel cancer misdiagnosis claims &
colon cancer compensation

Bowel cancer misdiagnosis claims & colon cancer compensation

How much can you claim?

A 63 year old woman died as a result of a delay in diagnosis of bowel cancer. Her husband was awarded:


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Claiming for bowel cancer negligence

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

Discovering you have bowel cancer, (also referred to as colon cancer or colorectal cancer), can be devastating at any time. But if misdiagnosis or negligent delay  has occurred it can be  even more difficult to deal with. Thankfully most NHS patients receive excellent care when they need visit their doctor with symptoms or require treatment. But those that don’t  can be left feeling unsure who to trust and where to turn to next.

While being a victim of medical negligence can lead to patients feeling vulnerable, unable to speak out or even embarrassed this shouldn’t be the case. You should be able to rely upon those responsible to listen to your medical concerns and take the necessary steps to help you. If you experienced delays, complications, or are mistreated when you had colon cancer, you can take action. You have the right to receive an explanation as to why things have gone wrong. If you have suffered an injury as a result you have a right to receive compensation.

If you’ve been affected by medical negligence while fighting bowel cancer, Your Legal Friend could help you secure the compensation and justice that you need deserve to reflect the suffering you’re endured. While each individual case is different, our professional, expert team can guide you throughout the process. We know that compensation won’t right the wrongs you have experienced but it can help you take a step forward. After suffering negligent treatment for colon cancer, you may need additional care, or  treatment, money to cover outgoings and bills while you recover and  compensation can help to  pay for these, without adding to existing worries or concerns.

Here at Your Legal Friend we pride ourselves on working with those affected by medical negligence, ensuring the best possible outcome in each case. Our skills have been used in a wide range of medical negligence claims, including those of bowel cancer misdiagnosis or where colon cancer signs and symptoms have been missed despite seeing medical professionals. Throughout your case we will work on your behalf to provide the support and expertise that you need and ensure you have access to a cancer misdiagnosis lawyer.

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

The time limit on making a bowel cancer claim

If you’ve been affected by medical negligence it is possible to make a compensation claim. However, there is a time limit on when you can begin a claim, for this reasons it’s often best to start your case as soon as possible.

If you’ve experienced medical negligence while displaying bowel cancer symptoms or didn’t receive the level of care you should be able to expect, you can make a claim up three-years after the ‘date of knowledge’. This means the time limits starts from when you learnt of a medical mistake rather than when you first attended the doctors or were diagnosed, for example. In some cases, it can be difficult to tell if your case falls within the allowed time limit but if you’re unsure you can contact our knowledgeable team today to discuss your situation and potential to make a bowel cancer misdiagnosis claim.

It is possible to make a compensation claim at any time during this three-year period. However, it should be noted that it is easier to access the required paperwork to build you a strong case if you make the claim sooner. It will also mean that the details are still fresh in your mind and other witnesses. We know that after fighting colorectal cancer you’ll need to recover and relax but with our professional support we’ll ensure that it’s as stress free as possible for you.

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 cancer 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 bowel cancer negligence experience

Our medical negligence team has years of experience working on a wide variety of cancer negligence cases so we understand just how difficult a decision it can be to bring a bowel cancer negligence 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 bowel cancer negligence team is headed by Laura Morgan who has a wealth of experience in leading complicated, high value bowel cancer negligence 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.

If you’d like advice as to whether you might be able to pursue a cancer negligence claim, either call our freephone number or submit your details through the form on this page and we’ll be in touch to schedule a phone call at a time that’s convenient for you. If you decide that you’d like to start a claim, one of our medical malpractice lawyers will be able to tell you whether you can enter into a No Win, No Fee agreement*, meaning that in the event that your claim is unsuccessful, you won’t have to pay any legal costs so there’s no financial risk to you.

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 bowel cancer negligence 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 bowel cancer negligence 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 bowel cancer negligence 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 bowel cancer misdiagnosis?

It is possible to make a compensation claim for bowel cancer if you’re misdiagnosed. In order to make a successful claim you’ll need to be able to demonstrate that you received a level of care that is sub-standard to what you should be able to expect, this could include tests not being ordered when you presented the signs of colon cancer or a delay in receiving the treatment you need.

As well as misdiagnosis, there are other instances where you can make a compensation claim after suffering from bowel cancer, including:

  • Misdiagnosis

There are several different conditions, such as IBS or haemorrhoids, that have similar symptoms to bowel cancer. This means that unless the doctor is thorough with their questioning and conducts the necessary tests it’s possible for bowel cancer to be misdiagnosed as one of these. Misdiagnosed bowel cancer means you won’t receive the medical treatment and care that you need and can affect the odds of surviving the disease significantly, especially if the cancer further develops before the correct diagnosis is given. If you went to your GP with colon cancer symptoms and do not feel they took the steps they should have to diagnose you, you could have a compensation claim.

  • Delay in treatment

A delayed diagnosis of cancer, including bowel cancer, can mean a delay in the treatment beginning. Or in some cases you may experience a delay in treatment beginning even if you were diagnosed quickly. Efficient and effective treatment can have a huge impact on the success of the medical care. And if you’ve experienced a delay in your treatment we may be able to help you make a compensation claim.

  • Incorrect treatment

Your treatment for bowel cancer should depend on your individual circumstances and be decided by a team of medical professionals. However, if the wrong choice is made it can mean the chances of success are lower. Colon cancer treatment should give you the best chance possible to beat the disease and if this hasn’t been the case you may be able to make a compensation against those responsible for the decision.

  • Poor treatment

If you’ve been diagnosed with colon cancer you should be able to expect the team responsible for your care to treat you properly. Poor treatment can lead to other issues that can impact your health as well as your mental wellbeing. For instance, if you underwent surgery but were not adequately looked following it you could, for example, pick up an infection that hinders your recovery.

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

How much compensation will I get?

The amount of compensation you will receive if you experienced medical negligence will depend on your individual case.

When you take your claim forward we will calculate the value of your claim based on several different factors. As well as general damages for the pain and suffering the negligence has resulted in, we will also consider areas such as the impact the negligence has had on your quality of life, effect on your earnings and the potential need to pay for care in the future.

Once your claim has been valued you will then need to prove your losses to the court in order to be successful. This is quantifiable in some cases, such as through financial documents and payslips. In other cases, you can show your medical treatment record to support your claims, such as those indicating the level of pain you were experiencing at the time.

What are the symptoms of bowel cancer

There are signs of colorectal cancer that should signal that you should visit your doctor to undergo tests for bowel cancer.  The symptoms of colon cancer include:

  • Bleeding from the rectum or blood in the stools
  • A change in normal bowel habits
  • A lump that your doctor can feel in your rectum or stomach, more commonly on the right side
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Abdominal pain, discomfort or bloating that is brought on by eating

More than 90% of those suffering with bowel cancer experience with a persistent change in bowel habit, blood in their stool or abdominal pain and those with these symptoms should visit their GP if they persist for more than 4 weeks. Unfortunately, some of the signs of bowel cancer can be misinterpreted for other conditions, such as IBS or haemorrhoids, leading to a delay in diagnosis and treatment.

How long do I have to make a claim?

Under the law, you have to make a claim within three years from the date of knowledge. We recommend that you begin the claims process as soon as possible. While it’s likely you have other things on your mind and want to focus on your recovery, it can make it easier, as all the details will still be fresh in your mind.

The date of knowledge can mean it’s confusing to understand if you have a claim. For instance, if you first attended the doctors but were misdiagnosed and then were later diagnosed with bowel cancer, you will be able to make a claim three years after you were diagnosed and realised that there has been a mistake. In some cases, you may not realise that a mistake has been made for some time and this can make the law around this difficult. If you’re unsure whether you have a potential claim that is inside the three-year limit, you can contact us to discuss you case.

Cancer misdiagnosis compensation amounts can be thousands. In 2014, the NHS paid out £194 million in compensation claims to 1,303 patients.

How is bowel cancer caused?

The exact cause of colon cancer is unknown but it is the result of abnormal cells in the body. Despite this there are factors that can you are more likely to develop bowel cancer, these include:

  • Age – Almost 95% of those that develop colon cancer are aged over 60.
  • Family history – A family history of colon cancer can increase your risk of developing the condition yourself.
  • Diet – A diet that is high in red and processed meats has been linked as one of the causes of colon cancer.
  • Smoking – Those that smoke cigarettes are more likely to develop bowel cancer.
  • Alcohol – Drinking alcohol regularly and in increased amount can raise your risk of developing colon cancer.

Other risk factors for colon cancer include being overweight, existing medical conditions such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, exposure to radiation and previously having another type of cancer. While bowel cancer causes are still unknown, taking steps in the areas that have been linked to the disease can reduce the likelihood of bowel cancer developing.

Can bowel cancer be misdiagnosed?

In some instances, colon cancer misdiagnosis can occur, as the symptoms can be confused with other conditions or the correct tests are not ordered. It’s estimated that across all types of cancer around 10% of cases are initially misdiagnosed. This means a delay in treatment and can potentially have a significant impact on survival rates and the type of treatment that is needed.

  • Colon cancer misdiagnosed as diverticulitis

Diverticulitis affects the large intestine, or colon, and has symptoms that are also associated with bowel cancer, such as abdominal pain and feeling bloated.  This means that unless your GP conducts the necessary tests to rule out bowel cancer, it can be mislabelled as diverticulitis.  

  • Colon cancer misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

IBS is a common digestive problem that causes bouts of symptoms such as bloating and diarrhoea or constipation. The symptoms can vary from mild to severe but in some cases bowel cancer can wrongly by diagnosed as IBS. If the symptoms are mild, it can mean that a doctor doesn’t link the signs with cancer at first but believes it is IBS.

  • Colon cancer misdiagnosed as ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease, the symptoms tend to flare up and are similar to those of bowel cancer, including abdominal pain and recurring diarrhoea. Ulcerative colitis is often misdiagnosed as colon cancer and vice-versa, as a result of the similar symptoms.

  • Colon cancer misdiagnosed as haemorrhoids

Haemorrhoids, or piles, are swellings containing enlarged blood vessels that are found inside or around the rectum. As bowel cancer can also cause swelling this can mean bowel cancer is misdiagnosed as haemorrhoids. However, piles aren’t typically associated with other symptoms of colon cancer.

In order to prevent misdiagnosis there should be steps that GPs and other medical professionals take. Diagnosis of colon cancer will include a digital rectal examination conducted by the GP. If the symptoms suggest that you do have colon cancer a colonoscopy or computerised tomography colonography can be used to conduct a more extensive examination of the colon. Once bowel cancer is confirmed it’s likely that further testing will be carried out to see if the cancer has spread.

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

How is bowel cancer treated?

The treatment for colon cancer varies depending on a number of factors, including how advanced it is and which part of the bowl is affected. If it’s caught during the early stages, there is a very good chance that treatment will be successful and prevent bowel cancer coming back in the future. However, a cure isn’t always possible.

If you’ve been diagnosed with bowel cancer you’ll be cared for a multidisciplinary team that will decide on your personal treatment, considering a variety of factors.

Bowel cancer treatment may combine chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and biological treatments. But surgery is the main treatment for colorectal cancer. Surgery can range from removing just a small piece of the colon wall if the cancer is in the early stages to a colectomy, where an entire section of the colon is removed, this may be necessary if the cancer has spread into the muscles surrounding the colon.

How long does it take for bowel cancer to develop?

Cancer initially starts when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. These abnormal cells start to grow into polyps which than take around 10 to 15 years before they turn into colon cancer. It is possible for polyps to be picked up and removed before they become cancer through regular pre-screening tests. Those that are at an increased risk of developing bowel cancer, such as having a family history of the disease, may be invited to such screenings.

Is bowel cancer operable

Some cases of bowel cancer are operable but other aren’t. Whether or not cancer can be operated on depends on the size and location of the tumour. Some areas mean that the cancer is too dangerous to remove, such as if it’s next to a major blood vessel. There will also need to be a margin of healthy tissue removed from the area too, in order to minimise the risk of the cancer coming back. For these reasons, cancer that is in the early stages are more likely to be operable than that which has reached stage 4.

How does bowel cancer spread?

If you have cancer, there is a risk that some of the cells from the original tumour break off and spread. These cells can then travel via the bloodstream or the lymphatic vessels and result in the cancer spreading to other parts of the body. When bowel cancer spreads to another part of the body it is referred to as secondary, metastatic, or advanced bowel cancer. It’s most common for the cancer to spread to the liver but it can affect other areas too.

What are the survival rates of bowel cancer?

As with other forms of cancer, the survival rate for colon cancer is improving every year. According to Cancer Research, men have a 77% chance of beating the disease, while women have a 74% chance. The colon cancer survival rate can vary depending on how quickly the cancer is identified and treatment begins. Some 98% of patients that are diagnosed during the initial stages survive the disease for at least one year but this falls to 40% when diagnosed at stage 4.