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Delayed diagnosis of epilepsy
compensation claims

Delayed diagnosis of epilepsy compensation claims

How much can you claim?

A 36 year old epileptic man went 20 years without diagnosis or treatment. He suffered from depression and seizures that damaged his spine. He was awarded:

£1,079,200

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


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Claiming for epilepsy

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

Epilepsy is a relatively common condition across the UK, affecting both children and adults. But that doesn’t mean that the condition is any less distressing. The seizures associated with the condition can be terrifying, especially if the reason for them is unknown due to misdiagnosis and medical negligence.

For those that have experienced a delay in diagnosis, it means that treatment to control the condition is also delayed, potentially having a serious impact on their quality of life and the chance of complications occurring. We know that after a delayed diagnosis an epilepsy misdiagnosis lawsuit may be the last thing on your mind but it can help you hold those responsible to account and receive financial compensation.

While winning a medical negligence claim won’t undo the suffering that has already been caused, it can help you take a step forward. The money secured, for instance, can be used for further medical treatment that could improve your condition or help you cover expenditure while you take time off work to recover.

Our expert and friendly solicitors are on hand to offer you support every step of the way. With a wealth of knowledge and experience in supporting those affected by medical negligence, they could help you too. From the very beginning of the process when you reach out to us to representing you in court if necessary, you know you have the backing the Your Legal Friend team whenever you need it.

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

The time limit on making an epilepsy claim

If you would like to bring a medical claim forward after experiencing misdiagnosed epilepsy, you have three years to make your claim, the same time limit placed on all medical claims.

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.

The starting point of this timeframe is the ‘date of knowledge’ – the date that your first realised that you had been affected by medical negligence. In some cases, this point can occur a considerable amount of time after you first spoke to a medical professional about your concerns and symptoms. For this reason, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly how long you have to act. If you’re unsure, Your Legal Friend is here to help. Using our knowledge and experience of the legal process, we’ll be able to tell you when your time limit ends.

The exception to this rule is if you were affected as a child. In many cases, epilepsy first develops during childhood and you can bring a claim forward as an adult. In these cases, you have three years to act from the date of your eighteenth birthday.

While you do have a maximum of three years to take action, we advise that you do so as soon as you’re able. This not only means that the medical claim is put behind you quicker but it can make it easier to obtain medical records, witness statements, and other supporting documentation to build your case on.

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
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 epilepsy claims experience

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

If you have been affected by medical negligence you may be able to make a claim against those responsible. Successful epilepsy misdiagnosis claims must demonstrate both that medical negligence was to blame for the delay in diagnosis and that is caused undue suffering.

Showing that your suffering was the result of medical negligence can take a variety of forms depending on your personal circumstances. For instance it could show:

  • That you presented the symptoms of epilepsy to your doctor but they were not followed up
  • That further testing, such as an MRI or EEG, was inconclusive but symptoms were not further investigated
  • That abnormalities in test results were not followed up
  • That there was an unnecessary delay in receiving tests that were required

Epilepsy misdiagnosis compensation claims can help you reflect how you’ve been affected by medical negligence and support you with moving forward.

Can I claim if misdiagnosed epilepsy affected my child?

Epilepsy often develops during childhood and can be distressing for the whole family, especially if misdiagnosis has occurred. It is possible for parents to make epilepsy misdiagnosis claims if their child has been affected. You will still need to follow the usual processes, such as acting within three years from the ‘date of knowledge’ and building a case that proves medical negligence was to blame. If you would like to make a claim as a parent, our epilepsy misdiagnosis lawyers are on hand.

How much compensation will I get?

Each epilepsy misdiagnosis malpractice claim is different and this is reflected in the compensation that claimants are awarded. Misdiagnosis of epilepsy compensation takes a range of factors into consideration and as a result it’s not possible to state how much compensation you could receive without first listening to your experiences.

If you want to take your claim forward, our expert team are on hand to offer you advice. Using their knowledge from supporting those affected by medical negligence, they will be able to tell you how much epilepsy misdiagnosis compensation you could receive. We will work with you to place a value on your claim that accurately reflects how you’ve been affected, from undue suffering to having to take extended time off work due to GP misdiagnosis of epilepsy.

How long do I have to make a claim?

Epilepsy misdiagnosis cases that are the result of medical negligence have up to three years to be brought forward. If you would like to make a claim, we can help you.

You have three years from the ‘date of knowledge’ to make a claim and we understand that sometimes it can be difficult to identify this starting point. Misdiagnosis of epilepsy can be complex but we can use our skills to unravel the details and find the point that you first realised when you had been let down, legally referred to as the ‘date of knowledge’.

While you do have up to three years to make your claim, we recommend that you act sooner. Taking swift action can make it easier to build your case, which will include gathering documents, such as medical records, and witness statements to support your case. We know that it can be a daunting process. But with Your Legal Friend by your side, we can make your misdiagnosed epilepsy lawsuit as smooth and stress free as possible.

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

What is epilepsy?

In the UK, more than one in every 100 people have epilepsy. It’s a condition that affects the brain and causes repeated seizures. While the condition can often be controlled through treatment, it’s distressing and can have damage a person’s quality of life. 

Epilepsy can start at any point in a person’s life but it more commonly develops during childhood.

Are there different types of epilepsy?

There are several different types of epilepsy and these can have different causes, symptoms, and treatment options. The multiple types of epilepsy can mean that misdiagnosed epilepsy cases occur.

What causes epilepsy?

In some epilepsy cases there aren’t any known causes of the condition. The brain is a mix of nerve cells, electrical impulses, and neurotransmitter chemicals. Damage to the brain can disrupt how the brain works and cause seizures.

Epilepsy is split into two categories – Idiopathic epilepsy and symptomatic epilepsy.

Idiopathic epilepsy

This is where there is no known cause for epilepsy, although some people may have a family history of the condition. Many people are diagnosed with this type of epilepsy. It’s been suggested that there are genetic causes for the condition developing in some people. But while research is currently being carried out, evidence hasn’t confirmed this yet.

Symptomatic epilepsy

This type of epilepsy is where there is a known cause. While epilepsy overall is more common in children, symptomatic epilepsy is more often seen in adults, particularly those aged over 60. Reasons for symptomatic epilepsy include:

  • Cerebrovascular disease – These are diseases that affect the blood vessels delivering blood to the brain. Strokes and subarachnoid haemorrhage are examples of cerebrovascular diseases that may can cause epilepsy.
  • Brain tumours
  • Severe head injuries
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Brain infections – Infections that affect the brain, such as meningitis, can have an impact on the brain’s function.
  • Birth problems that disrupt the baby’s supply of oxygen
  • Some parts of the brain not developing properly

Triggers

Those that are diagnosed with epilepsy can find that their seizures associated with the condition are brought on by certain circumstances, although this isn’t the case for everyone. Triggers include:

  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Some medication and drugs
  • In women, monthly periods
  • Flashing lights

What are the symptoms of epilepsy?

The main symptom of epilepsy is common, repeated seizures. However, there are many different types of seizures depending on the area of the brain that is affected and those with the condition may experience more than one type of seizure.

Seizures that are labelled ‘partial’ or ‘focal’ indicate that only a small part of the brain is affected during the seizure, while generalised seizures affect most or all of the brain. Some seizures may also be ‘unclassified’.

There are two main types of focal seizures:

  • Simple partial seizures – This type of seizure can be a sign that another type of seizure is coming. Sufferers remain fully conscious throughout a simple partial seizure and symptoms can include stiffness and twitching in part of the body, tingling sensations, or sudden, intense feelings.
  • Complex partial seizures – According to the NHS the symptoms of this type of seizure normally involve strange and random bodily behaviour, such as smacking your lips, moving your arms around, or picking at clothes. People suffering lose their sense of awareness and can’t remember that a seizure has happened.

There are six main types of generalised seizures:

  • Absences – Absence seizures mainly affect children and cause those affected to lose awareness of their surroundings. Those affected usually appear to be staring vacantly for around 15 seconds. They can occur several times throughout the days and those affected won’t be aware that a seizure has occurred.
  • Myoclonic seizures – Myoclonic seizures cause the arms, legs, or upper body to suddenly jerk and twitch. Typically they will last only a fraction of a second and those affected will remain conscious throughout.
  • Clonic seizures – Clonic seizures are similar to myoclonic seizures but will last longer and loss of consciousness may also occur.
  • Atonic seizures – Atonic seizures are where the muscle suddenly relax. If standing, it can mean those affected fall to the ground and could potentially injure themselves.
  • Tonic seizures – Tonic seizures are the opposite of atonic seizures. Rather than relaxing, the muscles become stiff and can mean that those suffering lose their balance and fall.
  • Tonic-clonic seizures – This is the type of seizure that most people associate with epilepsy. Initially the body becomes stiff and then the legs and arms start to twitch. Usually, tonic-clonic seizures only last for a few minutes but they can last for longer.
For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

How is epilepsy diagnosed?

Epilepsy is recognised as a condition that is difficult to diagnose. This is because there are many other conditions that have similar symptoms, leading to a delay in epilepsy diagnosis. Those affected will often experience more than one seizure before they receive an accurate diagnosis.

If you’ve been experiencing symptoms, you will typically make an appointment with your doctor. It’s important to describe the symptoms and seizures in as much detail as possible. Sometimes, it is possible for a doctor to make a diagnosis based on the symptoms you have described. In other cases, further testing may be required.

  • EEG – This test will be used to detect unusual brain activity that’s associated with epilepsy.
  • MRI – An MRI scan creates a detailed image of the brain and can be used to identify potential causes of epilepsy.

While both an EEG and MRI scan can be used to achieve a diagnosis, it is possible to have epilepsy even if they don’t return positive results. If your doctor fails to follow-up test results and investigate your symptoms further, it can mean a delayed diagnosis of epilepsy.

While the condition is difficult to diagnose, you should be able to rely on those responsible for your care to take all reasonable steps to achieve a diagnosis. Where you’ve experienced undiagnosed epilepsy that’s the result of medical negligence, you may be able to make a failure to diagnose epilepsy compensation claim. A missed epilepsy diagnosis can have a serious impact on those that are living with the condition and compensation can help reflect some of the harm it has caused.

How is epilepsy treated?

Once you’ve been diagnosed with epilepsy, it’s often possible to treat the condition. For some people, this can simply be learning what triggers their seizures and avoiding these. There are also anti-epileptic drugs that allow around 70% of people to control their seizures.

Implants that send electrical messages to the brain and a special diet for children that don’t respond to medication, are also options.  Depending on the cause of epilepsy and which part of the brain it’s affecting, brain surgery may also be an option. If successful, surgery can potentially completely cure the condition.

In most cases treatment allows that affected by epilepsy to control their symptoms and go about their daily routines as normal. However, where late epilepsy diagnosis has occurred, it can mean that those affected live with seizures longer than they need to. If this has been the result of medical negligence, it may be possible for those affected to make a failure to diagnose claim to reflect the undue suffering experienced.

What are the complications of misdiagnosed epilepsy?

The seizures associated with epilepsy aren’t the only way the condition can affect a sufferer’s life, there are complications too. In rare cases, the brain can be damaged by seizure activity, affecting parts of the brain that can lead to cognitive and behavioural difficulties.

Misdiagnosed epilepsy can mean that vital treatment for controlling seizures is delayed, increasing the likelihood of complications occurring. If you’ve, experienced doctor misdiagnosed epilepsy, you may be able to make a claim if medical negligence was to blame.

What conditions can epilepsy be misdiagnosed as?

Epilepsy symptoms can mimic other conditions, resulting in epilepsy misdiagnosis. Wrong epilepsy diagnosis can mean a delay in treatment being delivered, having a serious affect on daily routines and increasing the risk of complications happening.

Having a seizure doesn’t automatically mean that a person has epilepsy. There are other conditions that can be mistaken for the condition and vice versa, leading to a delay in diagnosis of epilepsy. Wrong epilepsy diagnosis can occur, if your symptoms are linked to one of the following conditions:

  • Panic attacks
  • Non-epileptic seizure disorder
  • Febrile seizures
  • Mental health disorders
  • Sleep disorders
  • Irregular heat beat
  • Meningitis
  • Encephalitis
  • Migraines
  • Brain injury

How often is epilepsy misdiagnosed?

There aren’t any official epilepsy misdiagnosis statistics. However, previous re has shown how easily it is for misdiagnosis to occur. It’s estimated that more than 90,000 people in England and Wales are wrongly given a diagnosis of epilepsy, with the condition being mistaken for others with similar symptoms.

While most patients in the UK are diagnosed and treated quickly when they’re suffering with epilepsy, there are cases of epilepsy misdiagnosis. Among misdiagnosed epilepsy stories is:

  • A woman was told she was anxious and suffering from panic attacks for seven years before doctors realised she was suffering from epileptic seizures. Read more.

What are the statistics on epilepsy?

According to Epilepsy Action, there are around 600,000 people in the UK living with epilepsy and everyday 87 new people are diagnosed with the disease. There are more than 40 types of seizures and some people can experience more than one type. During their lifetime around 5 in every 100 people will have an epileptic seizure and out of these four will develop epilepsy.

Only around 53% of people with epilepsy in the UK are seizure free. However, it’s estimated that 70% could be seizure free with the right treatment, highlighting the importance of effective treatment.