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Misdiagnosed bile duct injury &
surgical injuries compensation

Misdiagnosed bile duct injury & surgical injuries compensation

How much can you claim?

A 61 year old woman's bile duct was damaged during negligent surgery. She suffered multi-organ failure and necrosis as a result. She was awarded:


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Making a bile duct injury claim

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

Surgery is a daunting prospect, no matter what. It’s natural to feel anxious and many of us will find ourselves imagining all of the worst-case scenarios. While we can always hope that these scenarios never become reality, the unfortunate truth is that injury sustained as a result of medical negligence during surgery is one of the most common causes for making a claim. If you have suffered an injury during a surgical procedure, it’s time to get in touch. With no upfront fees or payments necessary, Your Legal Friend is here to help.

We have years of experience working on medical negligence cases, involving everything from cervical to cardiac surgery. From a legal point of view, we know how complicated these cases can be. More importantly, we understand that they can leave the victim feeling incredibly vulnerable, even embarrassed. The psychological and emotional effects of medical negligence are often just as damaging as the physical impact which is why we are committed to guiding you through every step of the process. We will ensure that your claim is handled carefully and professionally by specialist solicitors, while working alongside medical experts in the surgical field to guarantee the best results for you.

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

The time limit on making a bile duct injury claim

It’s beneficial if you’re quick to pursue a claim as the paperwork will be readily available and the detail of the event will still be ‘fresh’ in your mind, which will help when putting your case together. There is also a three year time limit from the ‘date of knowledge’ where you learned that a mistake on your doctor’s part led to the pain or suffering you’re now experiencing. Usually if you attempt to bring a claim after this date, it will be considered ‘statute barred’ or ‘out of time’ as per the Limitation act of 1980, section 11. If you are within the time limit, or are unsure as to whether you fall within the time period allowed, you can speak to us and we’ll be able to advise you as best we can based upon the information you’re able to share with us.

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.

After a free initial phone consultation, a clinical negligence solicitor can get a feel for your circumstances, the problems you face and consequences you’re having to live with. If they feel that something wasn’t done, that should have been, they may go on to request copies of your medical records, with your permission, to assess whether something was missed or to see if a mistake was made. If it looks like a mistake was made, they will then speak to you to discuss whether you wish to pursue a medical negligence claim for compensation.

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 bile duct injury claims experience

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

If you’ve been affected by a bile duct injury due to medical negligence you may be able to make a compensation case. In order to be successful you must be able to prove that firstly medical negligence occurred and that it has caused you undue suffering.

In terms of a bile duct injury medical negligence can be shown to have happened if your bile duct was damage during surgery but no action was taken to repair this, or if you post operatively exhibited the signs of a bile duct injury but again it was not pick up and there was no intervention. We must show that you are worse off after the injury than you would have been if it had not occurred so we look at whether you have had  more pain,  longer recovery time and any ongoing gastro-intestinal problems. Your injuries will determine the level of compensation you are entitled to.

How much compensation will I get?

The amount of compensation that you could receive for a bile duct injury takes your personal experience into account and reflects this in the value. For instance, someone that is able to make a full recovery over a relatively short period of time would receive less compensation than someone who is expected to live with the repercussions of a bile duct injury for the rest of their lives.

For this reason, it’s impossible to say just how much your personal compensation case could be worth without first speaking to you.

When you choose to instruct  Your Legal Friend you can rest assured that your case is in safe hands. We use our knowledge and skills to expertly value your claim, taking account of all of the different aspects of your case and circumstances to estimate a likely  compensation figure. If you’d like to understand how much your claim may be worth  you can call us today. . You’re under no obligation to take your case forward but should you decide to, you’ll have the backing of a specialist team who perfectly understands not only your case but the legal system too.

How long do I have to make a claim?

As with all medical negligence claims you have up to three years to bring a bile duct injury case forward against those responsible for your suffering.

Medical compensation cases can be complex and often the point that you realise that mistakes had been made is long after the date they occurred. For this reason the three-year time limit starts not from when the medical negligence happened but from the ‘date of knowledge’. This term simply refers to the point that your realise their had been lapses in the level of care that you received. In some medical negligence cases this can occur a significant period of time after it happened, making it confusing to pinpoint.

If you require assistance with understanding just how long you have, the Your Legal Friend team is here to help. We’ll work with you from the very beginning of the process, to show you when you must bring your personal case forward by.

While it’s true that you have up to three years to make any medical negligence claim, we advise our clients that they take action as soon as they are able to. This can improve you case’s chance of success.

To succeed in a case we will use on your behalf  evidence to demonstrate how you were failed and how you have suffered.. This will include medical records and scans compliants correspondence and witness statements all of which are  easier to obtain closer to the date of your injury.

What is a bile duct injury?

Bile ducts carry bile from the liver and gallbladder through the pancreas to part of the small intestines. The bile that the ducts carry is vital for helping your body break down and digest fats that you’ve consumed.

During some surgeries that work around the areas that bile ducts are located in the body, it is possible for the ducts to become damaged, potentially causing pain and in extreme cases can even cause death. In many cases, bile duct injuries are immediately noticed and repaired during the initial procedure, ensuring that the patient isn’t put at risk or suffers unnecessarily. But where medical practitioners have failed to notice the injury they have caused, it can be a significant breach of medical care and lead to further problems developing. The bile that is carried can lead to serious infections developing in parts of the body.

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

What causes a bile duct injury?

A bile duct injury is most commonly caused during surgery to the gall bladder, abdominal area, or the liver. There are different causes that can lead to a bile duct injury occurring, including:

  • Haemorrhaging
  • Infection
  • Bile leaking from the ducts
  • Direct injury to the bile duct
  • Injury to the organs and vessels around the bile ducts

In many cases, the professionals responsible for your care will notice the injury that surgery has cause and work to rectify the issue, minimising the damage. But where it remains unnoticed, bile duct injuries can lead to the patient believing they are on the road to recovery when bile is leaking into different areas of the body, leading to infection, interfering with organ function, and other serious side effects. A bile duct injury can lead to serious complications in a relatively short period of time, highlighting the need for surgeons and other medical professionals to take due care when not only operating but assessing the procedure during the final stages and managing patient care after surgery.

What are the symptoms of a bile duct injury?

The symptoms of a bile duct injury will often worsen over time as more bile continues to leak from the injury site. In some cases the symptoms can progress rapidly and may be attributed to other causes due to mimicking other conditions that may be considered less serious.

Symptoms of a bile duct injury may include:

  • Severe pain around the liver, abdomen, and other areas when the bile has leaked
  • An inability to pass urine
  • Nausea and vomitting
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Loss of strength and agility
  • Fever or chills
  • A general discomfort in the abdominal area
  • Jaundice – yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes

How does a bile duct injury occur?

Bile duct injuries tend to occur when surgery is happening around the gallbladder. For instance, surgery to treat gallbladder stones carry a risk of injury to the ducts. Due to where the bile ducts are located in the body, it’s also possible for them to be injured during treatment that is focussed on the liver or the abdominal area.

How is a bile duct injury diagnosed?

All surgeries carry an element of risk and you should be closely monitored by the medical professionals responsible for your care for signs of infection or other indications that a complication has arisen. Should you present any of the symptoms of a bile duct injury, you should be able to expect those caring for you to take the necessary steps to achieve a diagnosis.

Diagnosis may occur through the following steps:

  • An ultrasound scan to provide an accurate picture of your organs, highlighting where injury or infection is occurring
  • X-rays can also be used to identify where an injury has occurred. It may include injecting you with certain chemicals in order to better highlight where the injury has happened.

If you’re showing signs of discomfort or infection after an operation where it’s possible for a bile duct injury to happen you should be able to rely on the healthcare system to take all reasonable steps to find the underlying problem. Where this hasn’t happened you may be able to make a claim for bile duct injury compensation, reflecting the damage and suffering that medical negligence has caused to you.

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

Can a bile duct injury be misdiagnosed?

It is possible for a bile duct injury to be misdiagnosed. Many of the symptoms can wrongly be attributed to other causes, as they are often vague and don’t directly indicate bile duct injury, such as nausea, chills, or a fever. For this reason, it’s vital that those in charge of you care order the necessary tests as soon as the signs become present and rule out other potential causes, allowing the correct diagnosis to be identified.

The outcome of a bile duct injury is often dependent on how quickly it is diagnosed. Therefore misdiagnosed bile duct injuries can lead to significant damage and further risks to the patient. Bile duct misdiagnosis can allow an infection to spread deeper within the body and affect vital organs, potentially leading to failure.

How is a bile duct injury treated?

Early detection of a bile duct injury is important for giving the patient the best possible chance of making a full recovery and limiting the damage that is causes. Treatment for bile duct injuries should cover several different areas.

Repairing the bile duct injury is vital for limiting the damage and stopping the spread of infection. The location and extent of the bile duct injury will play a role in how it is repaired. Typically, bile duct injuries that have occurred in a higher location, particularly around the liver, are more complex due to the often associated damage to blood vessels. In some cases, surgeons will suture the injured bile duct to the intestine.

Medical practitioners will also need to treat all infections that a bile duct injury has caused. Left untreated, infections can lead to sepsis, blood poisoning that can affect multiple organs.  Where bile has leaked or caused a blockage that is affecting other parts of the body, this will need to be addressed. How this is done will be dependent on the areas that have been affected and the extent of the infection when it is first recognised.

What are the statistics on surgery mistakes?

There aren’t any official figures for how often bile duct injury occurs in the UK but it is a risk that’s associated with common surgeries to the areas that bile ducts surround. However, mistakes made by NHS staff affect thousands of patients every year, including those that prove fatal. It’s estimated that around one in 20 deaths in a hospital setting could be avoidable.

The statistics highlight how frequently surgical mistakes, including those that lead to bile duct injury and the associated conditions, occur. It’s important to note that while medical negligence does occur, it is rare in the UK, but for those that have experienced it, help is at hand and they are able to make a legal compensation claim against those that are responsible for the mistake within their care.