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Multiple sclerosis misdiagnosis &
failure to diagnose MS claims

Multiple sclerosis misdiagnosis & failure to diagnose MS claims

How much can you claim?

Doctors failed to diagnose a 79 year old woman's multiple sclerosis. As a result, she was left without treatment and developed depression. She was awarded:


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Claiming for multiple sclerosis

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

Receiving a multiple sclerosis diagnosis at any point can be life changing but when it comes after misdiagnosis and other medical mistakes, it can make the experience even more difficult to deal with. We understand how terrifying and confusing misdiagnosis can be and are here to help those that have suffered as a result.

As a degenerative condition with no cure, multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis is life changing, however due to advancement in treatment with a prompt diagnosis and proper medication and treatment patients can have a better quality of life than ever before. However, those who are diagnosed late can experience undue pain, suffering, and deterioration which could have been avoided. We understand that a compensation claim can’t turn back the clock but it can help you move forward. Some of those living with MS may find that they need to make adjustments to their homes to reflect disabilities, give up their current job, or even pay for complementary treatments to ease symptoms, the compensation award can help with this.

We’ll work on your behalf every step of the way when you choose to take forward a multiple sclerosis compensation claim. Using our expertise as specialist medical negligence lawyers will ensure we achieve the best outcome possible.

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

The time limit on making an MS claim

If you would like to make a claim after your MS was misdiagnosed, you must do so within the medical claim time limit. Starting from the ‘date of knowledge’ you have three years to make a claim for compensation.

In some cases, it can be difficult to understand exactly when your three-year timeframe started, especially if your case is complex or there were multiple misdiagnoses. It is however, usually the date on which your MS was finally diagnosed. If you’re unsure or confused about when you need to take action, we can help. We’ll work with you to unravel exactly what happened and take the time to listen to your experiences. From here, we’ll be able to tell you exactly how long you have to take a case forward against those responsible for the medical negligence.

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

While you have a maximum of three years to act, we advise our clients that they do so as soon as they are able to. We know that while you’re coming to terms with a multiple sclerosis diagnosis, a legal case can seem like a daunting prospect but it is better to not delay. We’ll need to take a witness statement from you to support your claims and it’s typically easier to recall the finer details the sooner you do this task. We’ll gather other evidence to support you case too, such as medical records, and scans and these may be easier to obtain the sooner a request is made.

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 multiple sclerosis 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 a multiple sclerosis 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 multiple sclerosis misdiagnosis 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 misdiagnosis 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 MS 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 multiple sclerosis 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 multiple sclerosis misdiagnosis?

If you’ve been affected by multiple sclerosis malpractice you may be able to take a claim forward, holding those responsible to account and receiving compensation if successful.

Multiple sclerosis misdiagnosis claims must demonstrate two things. The first is that the misdiagnosis occurred due to medical negligence and that there was an opportunity for an accurate diagnosis to be achieved. This can take many different forms, such as a GP initially dismissing symptoms or test results failing to be followed up.

You must also be able to show that the delayed diagnosis caused undue suffering. For MS sufferers, this could be experiencing pain that could have been controlled through medication, prolonged attacks due to a lack of treatment, or permanent damage occurring to the nerves.

If you would like help to understand if you could make a claim for multiple sclerosis misdiagnosis, you can call us today to speak with our professional, friendly team about your experiences.

How much compensation will I get?

Every misdiagnosis of multiple sclerosis case is different and this is reflected in the amount of compensation that each successful claimant is awarded.

Misdiagnosis of multiple sclerosis compensation takes a wide variety of factors into account, assessing how the delay in diagnosis has affected you. This could be short-term effects, such as the pain experienced due to not having the necessary treatment, or long-term impacts, for example, permanent nerve damage that has occurred as a result.

When you approach us with a multiple sclerosis misdiagnosis lawsuit, we’ll take the time to listen to your experiences. Using our expert insight, we place an individual value on each multiple sclerosis misdiagnosis compensation claim that accurately reflects the damage and suffering that misdiagnosis has caused.

If you would like to learn more about multiple sclerosis misdiagnosis compensation claims, including how much compensation you could receive, our team of multiple sclerosis misdiagnosis lawyers are on hand to answer your queries.

How long do I have to make a claim?

If you would like to take forward a misdiagnosed multiple sclerosis lawsuit, you have up to three years in which to act.

Should you have experienced misdiagnosed multiple sclerosis it can be difficult to understand when the starting point for your time limit is. In legal terms this point is referred to as the ‘date of knowledge’ and it simply means that point that you first realised a mistake had been made. In some cases, this can be after months or even years of being diagnosed with another condition. If you’re unsure how long you have to make a claim, we’re here to help.

With our knowledge of the medical negligence legal process and case studies of misdiagnosis of multiple sclerosis, we’ll help you pinpoint your exact time limit and support you in taking the next steps.

What is multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis is a condition that can affect the brain and/or the spinal cord, resulting in a wide range of potential symptoms. It’s an autoimmune condition, where the immune system mistakes part of the patient’s body for a foreign substance and attacks it. In MS it’s the myelin sheath, which protects your nerves that the body attacks, leading to symptoms.

There is no cure for MS and those diagnosed will need to live with the condition for the rest of their lives.

MS is rarely fatal but it can cause other complications and lead to serious disabilities, making it a challenging condition for those affected to deal with. While there is no cure, the treatments for MS are continually advancing and on average those diagnosed with MS have an average life expectancy that is around 5 to 10 years lower than average but this gap is shrinking.

There are two main ways that MS starts:

  • Relapsing-remitting MS

More than eight in ten people diagnosed with MS are diagnosed with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis. This is where those affected experience episodes of new or worsening symptoms, labelled as relapses. In most cases these relapses will worsen over a few days but can last for months before gradually improving. In some cases, symptoms of the relapse can disappear and the period between the relapses can last for years. Around half of people with relapsing-remitting MS will go on to develop secondary progressive MS within 15 to 20 years, where the symptoms gradually worsen over time without obvious attacks.

  • Primary progressive MS

Just over one in ten people are diagnosed with primary progressive MS. This is where the condition gradually worsens and accumulates over time without any periods of the symptoms being relieved. While there are no periods of remission, sufferers often have periods where their condition stabilises.

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

What causes multiple sclerosis?

It isn’t known why people develop multiple sclerosis or if there is a way to prevent it from developing. While further research needs to be conducted before the exact causes of MS can be identified, there have been a number of factors that have been linked to possible causes, including:

  • Genes – MS isn’t directly inherited. However, there is a slight increase that you will develop the condition if you are related to someone with multiple sclerosis.
  • Lack of sunlight and vitamin D – Research has shown that multiple sclerosis is more common in countries further from the equator. This has led to a theory that a lack of sunlight and vitamin D could play a role in the condition developing.
  • Smoking – Those that smoke are around twice as likely to develop multiple sclerosis when compared to those that do not smoke.
  • Viral infections – Some viral infections have been linked to triggering the immune system and leading to MS developing in some people.

What are the symptoms of multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis affects the nerves within the body and can cause a wide range of symptoms that vary from patient to patient. Those diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS will experience periods where the symptoms worsen before easing, while those suffering from primary progressive MS worsen steadily over time.

In many cases, those diagnosed with MS will experience only a few of the common symptoms, which include:

  • Fatigue
  • Vision problems
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Muscle spasms, stiffening, and weakness
  • Mobility problems
  • Pain
  • Problems with thinking, learning, and planning
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Sexual problems
  • Bladder problems
  • Bowel problems
  • Speech and swallowing difficulties

A quick, accurate MS diagnosis is vital for delivering effective treatment. Treatment aims to reduce the number of attacks, as well as treating specific symptoms. Missed multiple sclerosis diagnosis can mean that treatment is delayed, leading to prolonged attacks that can, in turn, mean the possibility of permanent nerve damage occurring rises. For this reason, it may be possible for misdiagnosed multiple sclerosis cases to be able to claim compensation.

How is multiple sclerosis diagnosed?

There is no single, conclusive test that can be used to accurately diagnose the condition, making multiple sclerosis misdiagnosis easier to occur. Particularly during the early stages, the symptoms are often vague and can wrongly be attributed to other conditions.

When you visit your GP with concerns, they should help you understand if there’s a pattern to your symptoms and if they believe MS could be the cause, they will refer you to a nervous system specialist, a neurologist. It’s not always possible to diagnose MS from a single attack but tests that may be conducted include:

  • Neurological examination – This test aims to see if your nerves have been damaged in a way that indicates MS was the cause. It will involve assessing vision, hand and leg strength, balance and co-ordination, speech, and reflexes.
  • MRI scan – The myelin sheath, the part of the body that’s affected by MS, can be viewed on an MRI scan. The scan can highlight if any damage or scarring has occurred to this part of the body.
  • Evoked potential test – There are several different types of evoked potential tests that aim to show whether the brain is taking longer than normal to receive messages.
  • Lumbar puncture – A lumbar puncture is where a sample of your spinal fluid is removed for further testing. The results can show how the immune system has been working.
  • Blood tests – A blood test can’t be used to achieve an accurate MS diagnosis but they are used to rule out other potential conditions that have similar symptoms.

A delay in multiple sclerosis diagnosis can not only cause unnecessary suffering but mean that lasting damage is more likely to occur. If you’ve experienced undiagnosed multiple sclerosis after medical professionals failed to take the necessary steps you may have a failure to diagnose claim for compensation that you can take forward.

How is multiple sclerosis treated?

There isn’t a cure for multiple sclerosis but treatment can still be delivered to treat the symptoms and reduce the number of relapses that occur.

Treatment is tailored to each patient and a plan is created by a team of different healthcare professionals working together. If you’ve been diagnosed with MS, treatment may include:

  • Steroids given either through tablets or through injections
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Vestibular rehabilitation
  • Medication for dizziness or tremors
  • Amitriptyline to control pain
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
  • Disease modifying therapies to reduce the number and severity of relapses

How can multiple sclerosis be misdiagnosed?

The fact that multiple sclerosis doesn’t have a single test means that it is possible for the wrong multiple sclerosis diagnosis to occur. There are several ways that MS can be misdiagnosed, including:

  • GP misdiagnosis multiple sclerosis if your first point of contact with concerns fails to recognise the symptoms of the condition and refer you to a specialist.
  • A specialist failing to order the necessary tests to achieve an accurate diagnosis.
  • Other potential causes of your symptoms not being ruled out through tests, such as blood tests.
  • A delay in diagnosis of multiple sclerosis occurring after abnormal test results is not followed up.
For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

What conditions can multiple sclerosis be misdiagnosed as?

During the early stages of MS, the symptoms are often vague and can be mistaken for other conditions. A wrong diagnosis of multiple sclerosis could lead to the symptoms of the condition being linked to:

  • Lyme disease
  • Migraines
  • Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder
  • Lupus
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Problems with the blood vessels

What are the effects of multiple sclerosis misdiagnosis?

Failure to diagnose multiple sclerosis can be distressing as the condition can not only be painful but it can shake the confidence of those suffering in those responsible for their care.

Delayed diagnosis of multiple sclerosis can also have a long-term affect. Treatment aims to control both the frequency and severity of symptoms but where this isn’t delivered it can lead to permanent and serious damage occurring to the nerves. As a result, late multiple sclerosis diagnosis can have a lasting impact on a person’s quality of life and the effects of the condition.

If you’ve been affected by doctor misdiagnosed multiple sclerosis, you may be able to make a compensation claim to reflect the damage that it has caused.

How often is multiple sclerosis misdiagnosed?

There aren’t any official multiple sclerosis misdiagnosis statistics for the UK available, however, it is a condition that can be mistaken for others. There are cases of misdiagnosis of multiple sclerosis and those where patients with other underlying conditions have wrongly been diagnosed with MS.

While in the UK the vast majority of patients receive an excellent standard of care, any form of medical negligence, including misdiagnosis, can be distressing and frightening. One study recently found that there are many multiple sclerosis misdiagnosis cases where another condition was to blame for the symptoms experienced. In a third of cases, patients were misdiagnosed for over a decade, with some taking unnecessary and potential harmful medication as a result.

Another poll found that in the UK as many as four in five multiple sclerosis sufferers are initially misdiagnosed, with a quarter being told they simply have a trapped nerve.

The findings of the research highlight how important an accurate diagnosis is for any condition, including multiple sclerosis, and the impact mistakes can have.

What are the statistics on multiple sclerosis?

In the UK, over 100,000 people have MS. In many cases, the symptoms first become evident during the patient’s 20s and 30s, with almost three times as many women as men being affected by the condition.