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Misdiagnosis claims

Misdiagnosis claims offer an opportunity for you to secure compensation after an incorrect or delayed diagnosis of a medical condition such as cancer, heart problems or head injuries.

When you visit your doctor or attend a hospital appointment, generally you will receive good treatment and advice. But in some cases, medical professionals fail in their duty of care by not providing the correct diagnosis for your health issue. This is when you may choose to make a misdiagnosis claim.

Our misdiagnosis solicitors at Leigh Day work with medical experts to help you understand whether you have a credible misdiagnosis claim. Call us today on 020 7650 1200.

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What is misdiagnosis?

Misdiagnosis occurs when a medical professional fails to accurately diagnose a patient. In some cases, this can worsen or prolong the patient’s symptoms. NHS or private medical professionals can be responsible for misdiagnosis.

It could be through…

  • misinterpreting test results
  • proceeding with the wrong treatment
  • referring you to an inappropriate specialist

A misdiagnosis can also be down to medical negligence – if the medical professional fails to examine you properly based on your symptoms.

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More information about misdiagnosis claims

Missed diagnosis

When a doctor or health professional fails to diagnose a disease, illness or health condition despite carrying out an examination.

Delayed diagnosis

The correct diagnosis is delivered, but later than it should be, affecting recovery time and possibly creating further, otherwise avoidable health issues.

Incorrect diagnosis

The wrong diagnosis is provided, resulting in improper treatment and medication – potentially worsening your health.

How do I claim misdiagnosis compensation?

Contact our expert misdiagnosis solicitors to get started. Our lawyers will ask you questions in confidence about your case, assessing…

  • whether you received a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
  • who is responsible
  • if you have a claim


You can file a claim against an individual such as your GP, or an organisation like a private healthcare company.

This initial assessment is free of charge. We take most of our medical misdiagnosis cases on a ‘no win no fee’ basis. If we take on your case, a dedicated misdiagnosis solicitor will lead you through the process.

Types of misdiagnosis

Cancer, infections and vascular events (heart problems) are the illnesses most likely to be misdiagnosed, according to US research. Some scientists call these ‘the big three’ as they account for three-quarters of all serious harm related to misdiagnosis. In the UK, a study found four in 10 cancer patients receive a misdiagnosis before getting the correct diagnosis and treatment.

Some of the most common types of misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis claims relate to:

  • Cancer: An estimated one in two people are at risk of being diagnosed with cancer. There are many different cancer types with overlapping symptoms, potentially leading to a misdiagnosis. In the worst cases, a fatal misdiagnosis can result in preventable death.
  • Diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes require different treatments, so misdiagnosis can cause further complications.
  • Head injuries: Head and brain injuries can be severe. Delayed or misdiagnosis can lead to brain damage, cerebral palsy and other life-changing conditions.
  • Meningitis: Treating meningitis early can prevent serious illness and death. Bacterial and viral meningitis are the two main types, but they have similar symptoms, which means misdiagnosis can occur.
  • Heart disease: Around a third of heart disease patients receive a misdiagnosis following a heart attack. According to the same study, 250 deaths per year could have been prevented if the diagnosis had been correct.
  • Gynaecology - The misdiagnosis of conditions such as endometriosis can leave women at risk of compromised fertility, in severe pain and needing surgical intervention.


“It’s important to get the diagnosis right straight away. If the correct diagnosis is delayed this will in turn delay the treatment. Time is critical – for the best outcome patients need the correct treatment as quickly as possible.5” – Dr Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation.

When can I make a misdiagnosis claim?

You can file a claim within three years of being made aware of the misdiagnosis. When making misdiagnosis claims on behalf of a child, there is no such time limit. The three-year limit applies once they turn 18. The same applies to claiming for a loved one who died due to a fatal diagnosis – you must make the claim within three years of their death.

What will impact my misdiagnosis compensation?

The amount of compensation you can expect to receive will depend on various factors. These include:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • Total care costs
  • Lost earnings due to misdiagnosis
  • Length of the illness and recovery time
  • Changes to your life expectancy
  • Liability acceptance
  • Lifestyle changes

Solicitors will also take into account the general circumstances surrounding your misdiagnosis claim when considering your compensation.

Cancer misdiagnosis