Make a claim for misdiagnosed lung cancer
If you have received a late or misdiagnosis of lung cancer, you could be entitled to claim compensation with the help of a no win no fee medical negligence solicitor
How Much Could You Claim?

Lung Cancer Misdiagnosis Claims

Receiving a diagnosis of lung cancer is a deeply emotional and devastating situation, often accompanied by feelings of fear and anxiety. If there was an error in diagnosing cancer, how this might have affected your health, overall well-being, and prognosis can be overwhelming. Despite doctors’ dedicated efforts, errors can occur.

If you find yourself in a situation where your symptoms were not recognised as cancer-related, your cancer was not diagnosed quickly, or you received the wrong treatment, you could potentially qualify for compensation.

To find out if you can make a lung cancer misdiagnosis claim on a no win no fee* basis, call 0800 032 3660 for a free consultation with an experienced legal adviser. If you would prefer to receive a call back, simply fill in our online claim form. The consultation is completely free, and there is no obligation to proceed.

The following guide explains lung cancer misdiagnosis claims more thoroughly, including who may be eligible to claim, the causes of misdiagnosis and the time limits for claiming.

Types of lung cancer

There are many different types of lung cancer, and each is divided into one of two categories:

  • Small cell lung cancer (SCLC)
  • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

Small cell lung cancer accounts for about 10% of cases and tends to spread rapidly. Its treatment often involves chemotherapy rather than surgery.

Non-small cell lung cancers can fall into the following three types: squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and large cell carcinoma.

The most common type of lung cancer is squamous cell, which develops from the airways’ cells and is usually located in the centre of the lungs. Each type requires different approaches for diagnosis and treatment.

If you have any worrying symptoms, you should see your GP as soon as possible. As with all forms of cancer, early diagnosis can have a massive impact on the treatment options available and the chances of making a full recovery.

A medical professional will first perform a physical examination to identify any signs of cancer, such as swollen lymph nodes or laboured breathing. If they suspect lung cancer, your doctor will order further tests like X-rays or a CT scan to take a detailed look at your lungs.

The only way to confirm the diagnosis is through a biopsy. This procedure involves taking a sample of tissue cells and examining it under a microscope. Biopsies provide crucial information about the type of cancer and its characteristics. If lung cancer is diagnosed, the treatment may involve radiation, surgery, chemotherapy or a combination of all three.

A negligent mistake from a healthcare professional during any of these steps can have devastating consequences and may entitle you to claim compensation for misdiagnosed lung cancer.

Common symptoms of lung cancer

Lung cancer causes several key symptoms in most patients. If a doctor overlooks them and fails to make an accurate diagnosis, they may be liable for compensation. Some of the most common symptoms suffered by lung cancer patients include:

  • A persistent cough that does not subside after two weeks
  • An ongoing cough that gets increasingly worse
  • Aches and pains when breathing in or coughing
  • Difficulty breathing or catching your breath
  • Persistent tiredness or feeling unusually weak
  • Coughing up blood
  • A dull aching pain in the chest
  • Ongoing breathlessness
  • Frequent infections like bronchitis or pneumonia
  • Appetite and weight changes
  • Trouble swallowing or pain when eating

Additionally, the following less common symptoms may be signs of lung cancer and should cause doctors to investigate further:

  • Wheezing
  • Problems swallowing or pain and discomfort when swallowing
  • Changes to the voice
  • Chest and shoulder pain
  • Extreme and sudden weight loss
  • Severe jaundice
  • Pain in the bones
  • Swollen neck and face
  • Ongoing high temperature
  • Changes to the appearance of your fingers, which can become more curved with lung cancer, known as finger clubbing

It is crucial that a doctor evaluates your overall health and carries out tests promptly to rule out the possibility of lung cancer. The earlier the condition is diagnosed, the more positive the prognosis will be, and as such, doctors and other medical professionals are responsible for ensuring thorough and prompt investigations if you have any lung cancer symptoms.

Misdiagnosed lung cancer

The earlier lung cancer is detected, the better your outlook will be in most cases. Early treatment will also minimise the risk of it spreading to other organs. Unfortunately, doctors sometimes make errors, which may mean they misinterpret symptoms or do not perform adequate tests for you. When misdiagnosis occurs, physical and emotional distress can be significant, and the potential for further complications and a less favourable prognosis increases.

Some of the reasons that may lead to a cancer misdiagnosis compensation claim include:

  • Incorrect interpretation of test results such as an X-ray, CT scan or biopsy
  • Failure of doctors to associate symptoms with the disease
  • Failure to carry out thorough investigations
  • Diagnosing a different condition which masks the need for further tests
  • Failure to refer a patient to a specialist
  • Improper treatments that made your health worse or caused permanent damage
  • Delayed therapy after the diagnosis of lung cancer
  • Failure to spot that lung cancer had spread to other parts of the body
  • All-clear errors when the body is not actually cancer free

All medical staff have a legal duty of care to their patients, and a breach of this responsibility could amount to medical negligence if it results in avoidable pain and suffering to the patient. In these circumstances, it may be possible to pursue a medical negligence claim for lung cancer misdiagnosis.

Potential impacts of lung cancer misdiagnosis

The impact of lung cancer misdiagnosis can be severe, both for prognosis and quality of life. The chances of survival are significantly higher for those diagnosed at an early stage.

About 55 out of 100 individuals will live for five years or more after being diagnosed with Stage 1 lung cancer. This survival rate diminishes to 35 out of 100 people for Stage 2 lung cancer, 15 out of 100 for Stage 3, and five out of 100 for Stage 4.

Additionally, misdiagnosis can lead to:

  • Delayed or inadequate treatment
  • Reduced chances of successful treatment
  • Unnecessary physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional and psychological distress
  • Increased stress, anxiety and uncertainty
  • Additional medical treatments and procedures
  • Further expenses and financial losses

Finally, lung cancer misdiagnosis can erode trust in the medical system and healthcare providers, making the patient hesitant to seek medical help in the future.

Am I eligible to make a lung cancer misdiagnosis claim?

The easiest way to find out whether you are eligible for compensation is through a free consultation with a legal adviser. You can call 0800 032 3660 or enter your details here to receive a free case assessment during which a medical negligence solicitor will verify whether:

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care
  • They breached their duty by acting negligently
  • You suffered avoidable injury or illness as a result

Every healthcare professional, whether private or through the NHS, has a legal duty to provide patients with a reasonable standard of care. This duty requires them to make decisions and perform actions that align with accepted practices and standards within their medical field.

Your solicitor will consult with medical experts to prove that the care you received fell below the acceptable standard. They may refer to the Bolam test or the guidelines provided by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

A breach of duty is insufficient to make a successful claim for a misdiagnosis of lung cancer. You also need evidence that this has directly caused your condition to worsen or you suffered an avoidable injury (causation). Once this is established, you can begin to claim for all the damages you incurred as a result, such as pain, suffering and financial losses.

How to claim compensation for misdiagnosis of lung cancer?

If you believe your lung cancer was not promptly or correctly diagnosed or the care you received was substandard, you should seek legal advice. An experienced solicitor will let you know if you can claim compensation if the failures led to further suffering or a poorer prognosis.

For a solicitor to negotiate compensation on your behalf, it will be necessary to build a case against the doctor, hospital or NHS trust that breached the duty of care owed to you. They will do this by gathering evidence and information, including medical assessments from experts. These will confirm whether the errors suffered led to a worsened condition of your health or additional pain and suffering that should have been avoided.

After building your case, your solicitor will contact the defendant and inform them of your intentions to start a claim. In most cases, the other side will settle out of court. However, if you cannot reach an agreement, you may have to argue your case before a judge.

The compensation awarded to you will depend upon the severity of the suffering caused by the misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. Your solicitor will seek to secure the highest awards possible by demonstrating the failures in the duty of care and the level of implications that this has had on your life.

Is there a time limit to make a claim for lung cancer misdiagnosis?

Under the Limitation Act 1980, the standard three-year time limit applies if you want to start a lung cancer misdiagnosis compensation claim. That will commence from the date you became aware of the failure to diagnose cancer, also known as the date of knowledge.

Although you have three years to start legal proceedings, solicitors always recommend setting things in motion immediately. The sooner you seek legal advice, the sooner your solicitor can begin investigations and assist you with treatment and recovery.

There are a few exceptions to the three-year time limit to claim compensation, such as:

  • If someone under 18 was misdiagnosed with lung cancer, a parent or legal guardian can represent them at any time until their 18th birthday. Afterwards, the child has until their 21st birthday to claim themselves.
  • If the claimant is mentally incapacitated, for example, due to brain damage or an intellectual disability, the time limit is suspended. A litigation friend could represent them in a personal injury claim without any time limit being imposed.
  • If you are representing someone who has died due to a lung cancer misdiagnosis, you have three years to start legal proceedings from the date of their death.

How much compensation for misdiagnosed lung cancer?

Each case is unique, and the compensation for misdiagnosed lung cancer will depend upon how the medical negligence has impacted your life. Two types of damages will determine your final settlement:

General damages cover the non-financial losses caused by the misdiagnosis, such as:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional and psychological trauma
  • Reduced quality of life and life expectancy
  • Loss of amenities
  • Loss of consortium and companionship

Special damages cover the specific financial losses and expenses incurred due to the lung cancer misdiagnosis, such as:

  • Private specialist medical treatment
  • Cost of rehabilitation and physical therapy
  • Counselling for mental trauma
  • Loss of earnings
  • Assistive devices such as breathing apparatus
  • Changes to your home or vehicle
  • Cost of carers, if you need assistance with daily living

The amount of compensation for special damages is based on documents like receipts, invoices and bank statements. The figures for general damages are advised by the Judicial College; according to their guidelines, you could receive:

  • £7,350 to £21,330 for scarring suffered through mistaken or poorly performed surgery
  • £70,030 to £97,330 for lung cancer causing severe pain and impairment, typically in older people
  • £63,650 to £114,460 for mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure
  • £100,670 to £135,920 for lung cancer leading to severe disability and premature death in younger people

A personal injury solicitor will be able to offer you more details about your potential compensation for misdiagnosed lung cancer during a free initial consultation.

Do medical negligence solicitors provide a No Win No Fee service?

If you have a valid lung cancer claim, the solicitors we work with will happily offer you a no win no fee service. Under this agreement, you do not have to pay any upfront fees to your solicitor, meaning you can get legal representation regardless of your financial situation. Also, there is no financial risk involved, as you do not have to pay them a single penny if your case fails.

Furthermore, you will not have to pay for legal expenses and disbursements if you lose the claim. Your solicitor will take out After the Event (ATE) insurance, which is a type of legal insurance policy that covers the costs involved in litigation, such as:

  • Medical reports
  • Expert witness fees
  • Court fees
  • Paralegal and other staff time
  • The defendant’s legal costs and solicitors
  • Barrister fees if the case goes to trial

Under a no win no fee service, you only pay anything if you win your lung cancer misdiagnosis claim. This is called a success fee, which is paid to your solicitor for their time and effort. This fee will be no more than 25% of your compensation and will be fully disclosed and discussed with you before taking on your case.

To learn more about the no win no fee service or to discuss making a claim, call 0800 032 3660 or fill in our online claim form for a free consultation. A friendly legal adviser will answer all your questions without any obligation to proceed with your case.

* Personal injury claims are offered on a no win, no fee basis. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will receive up to 25% of your compensation as their success fee. Any additional costs, such as legal protection insurance, will be clearly explained to you by your solicitor before you decide to proceed with your claim. Termination fees may apply if you fail to cooperate with your solicitor. This includes deliberately misleading your solicitor, failing to attend scheduled medical or expert examinations, or not appearing at a required court hearing.