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Terminal illness misdiagnosis claims

Diagnosis of a terminal illness is always devastating. But, if you feel like the outcome could have been different had your loved one received more appropriate medical treatment, the situation can be even more upsetting.

Last Updated November 8th, 2023.

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Key points for making an injury claim

The most important things to remember when claiming for a terminal misdiagnosis:

  • Your healthcare provider has a duty of care to uphold
  • You can claim against the NHS or a private healthcare provider
  • You can claim on a no win, no fee basis
  • You can claim if you have lost a loved one
  • You can claim if an illness was missed, or if you were diagnosed with the wrong illness

What is a terminal illness misdiagnosis claim?

A terminal illness misdiagnosis claim is a type of medical negligence claim in which a healthcare provider has failed in their duty of care. Generally, medical misdiagnosis claims fall into two categories: failure to spot an illness, or spotting signs of an illness too late.

In the case of a terminal illness misdiagnosis, the results are obviously devastating. You or a loved one may feel as though you’ve been cheated, or not given the chance to make the most of your time left. You may even feel that there could have been a chance to change circumstances if your symptoms had been diagnosed quicker.

In rare cases, doctors may wrongly tell a patient a diagnosis is terminal – which can cause mental health problems and potentially lead to reckless behaviour. Whatever your circumstances, our sensitive, no win no fee solicitors are here to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Whilst it may never have been possible to find a cure for a terminal disease, you may feel that your loved one’s life expectancy or quality of life could have been improved if they had received more appropriate medical care.

For example, if a healthcare professional does not exercise reasonable care and fails to diagnose a serious condition like a brain aneurysm, despite the warning signs, then any subsequent deterioration in their condition could result in a claim for clinical negligence.

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What do I need to make a terminal illness misdiagnosis claim?

When you make a terminal illness misdiagnosis claim, you need to be able to prove two things – that you suffered physical or psychological harm, and that this was caused by your healthcare provider. We can help you with this by advising you on the evidence to gather to support your claim.

You should be able to make a claim if:

  • Doctors missed symptoms when you visited your healthcare provider
  • Doctors dismissed symptoms as less serious than they were
  • You were treated for an illness you did not have
  • You were wrongly told you have a terminal illness

In every case, we can help you to find this evidence and prove the devastating effects to your physical and mental health. We can also help you make a no win, no fee claim on behalf of a loved one. Our trained solicitors will listen to your story and only proceed if you are comfortable.

How to claim for medical negligence

Want to know more about claiming for medical or clinical negligence. Jargon free, we’ll explain your legal rights, letting you know everything you need to know about claiming.

How much compensation can I claim for medical negligence?

Read our medical negligence legal guides to understand your legal rights and how much compensation you may be able to claim.

What kind of terminal illnesses can be misdiagnosed?

The most commonly misdiagnosed terminal illnesses are:

  • Kidney diseases
  • Lung diseases
  • Inoperable cancers
  • Heart conditions
  • Aneurysms (vascular conditions)
  • Pseudomyxoma peritonei (caused by cancer of the appendix)

Doctors, both in the NHS and privately, are held to incredibly high standards. However, mistakes can happen, particularly in the overstretched NHS, which may lead to medical misdiagnosis. Your doctor may not read your results correctly or may not refer you to the right professional.

Whether you’re claiming for yourself or on behalf of a loved one who has died, our sensitive, expert medical misdiagnosis solicitors will listen to your story and do everything they can to get you the largest pay-out possible.

Get the best legal team on your side

  • Over 1,000 years of combined legal expertise
  • We’ll get you more compensation than anyone else
  • Early payments to cover your expenses*
  • We win the cases other firms can’t
  • Fully independent, and fully regulated.

* Where applicable

Deciding whether to bring a clinical negligence case in these circumstances can be a difficult decision.

If you think you might want to bring a claim at some point in the future, it is vital you seek professional legal advice as soon as possible.

This means that if and when you decide to bring a claim in the future you will be able to do so within the legal time limits.

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What can I claim for?

Like all personal injury cases, you can claim for ‘general’ and ‘special damages’. We will leave no stone unturned to get you the largest settlement possible, including:

  • Your physical pain (general damages)
  • Your emotional trauma (general damages)
  • Loss of earnings, such as time off work (special damages)
  • Financial losses, such as travel or medical treatments (special damages)
  • Adjustments to your home or car (special damages)

How much is my compensation worth?

Terminal illness misdiagnosis claims are devastating and can result in substantial pay-outs, particularly if they lead to the loss of a loved one. However, there are no set compensation amounts. We calculate your claim based on factors such as:

  • The seriousness of the damage, such as life expectancy
  • Considerations for long-term care
  • Psychological damage to you and your family
  • Long-term implications for you and your family

If the misdiagnosis resulted in physical damage to a specific part of your body, the Judicial Board Guidelines offer figures based on historical cases. For example:

  • Injury to internal organs can be worth as much as £140,000
  • Loss of senses such as blindness can be worth as much as £214,000
  • Brain damage can be worth as much as £322,000

We understand that no amount of money will get your life back, but we will fight to get you the compensation you and your family deserve. Contact Express Solicitors to get your terminal illness misdiagnosis claim started today.

The claim process

We are completely transparent with our clients. Not only do you know exactly how we’re representing you, you’ll also know exactly where you are in the claim process.


Get impartial no win no fee legal guidance with a free initial no-obligation consultation.

On your side

We’ll use our experience and expertise to build the strongest legal argument for your claim.

Supporting your claim

Including medical assessments to ensure your claim is valued correctly.


We negotiate the maximum amount of compensation for you, representing you in court if needed.

How do I make a terminal misdiagnosis claim?

Medical misdiagnosis claims are slightly more difficult than other personal injury claims, but please don’t panic. Our expert solicitors are here to take you through every step.

  1. Start by giving us a call on behalf of yourself or a loved one. We’ll ask you for details of the diagnosis and any medical evidence you may have. If you don’t have everything during this free consultation, don’t worry. Our trained medical negligence solicitors can source proof such as medical history, correspondence with your doctor, photographs of your injury and witness statements.
  2. After gathering the evidence, we’ll send a medical advisor to examine you if you’re claiming on behalf of yourself. We understand that you or a loved one may be terminally ill, so we’ll make this as comfortable as possible. This advisor is looking for two things – ‘breach of duty’ (proof the healthcare provider was responsible) and ‘causation’ – physical damage. This advisor will send us a report and we will send a ‘Letter of Claim’ to your healthcare provider.
  3. If you’re claiming against the NHS, they legally have four months to respond to your claim. We will keep you informed throughout this waiting period, and calculate your compensation, letting you know how much we think you could claim.
  4. If the healthcare provider admits fault, you will receive the compensation, minus our fees. If they do not, we may have to take the healthcare provider to court. This happens in less than 1% of cases, and we will always keep you informed.

Our medical misdiagnosis claims usually operate on a no win, no fee basis, so you’ll only pay our fees if we win. On the rare occasion that you don’t qualify for no win, no fee, you may benefit from Legal Aid help.

Please don’t be alarmed if your compensation case takes many months. During this process we are chasing doctors for evidence, writing letters of claim and calculating your compensation. We may also be able to offer you early compensation payments if you will benefit from these, such as to pay for ongoing medical treatment.

Why should you choose us?

100% No-Win-No-Fee

Contact us with the comfort of knowing you’ll never be at financial risk when you claim with us. We cover all legal costs, never charge upfront fees, and we only get paid if you do.

Advanced payments available

We understand how an accident can affect your financial position. We always look to collect an early compensation (interim) payment where possible.

We can take over your case

With legal specialists for every type of accident claim, we can take over your claim at any stage from another solicitors. We take pride in winning cases other firms turn down.

Why choose Express Solicitors?

At Express Solicitors, we understand the incredibly sensitive nature of a terminal illness misdiagnosis. We will listen to your story sensitively and fight for your compensation, drawing on our 20 years of experience settling cases just like yours.

We specialise in taking on the cases nobody else will, and we’ve settled hundreds of millions in compensation claims as a result. To get the compensation you deserve, contact our expert legal team today.

Frequently asked question about terminal illness misdiagnosis claims

We understand that you may have a lot of question when it comes to making a terminal illness misdiagnosis compensation claim. Our trained solicitors are here to guide you through the process, whatever your circumstances. All you need to do is pick up the phone and call us.

What are the time limits for making a claim?

You generally have three years from the date of the misdiagnosis, or the date of the correct diagnosis, to make a claim. We advise you get in touch with us as soon as possible so that we can gather the most accurate evidence. If you were under 18 at the time, you can have a guardian claim on your behalf up until your 18th birthday, after which you can claim for a further three years. If you were mentally incapacitated, there is no time limit.

Can I make a claim for someone else?

You can claim on behalf of someone else if they are under 18, are ‘mentally incapacitated’ (such as if they’ve suffered a brain injury) or if they have died. The time limits are generally three years after death or up until their 18th birthday. There is no time limit for mental incapacitation.

Can I claim against the NHS for misdiagnosis?

You can claim against the NHS or a private healthcare provider. Your compensation will come out of NHS Resolution, which is a fund set up for compensation claims, paid by the taxpayer. If you’re claiming against a private provider, the funds will come from their insurance.

Will I have to go to court?

It is very unlikely that you will have to go to court, and this happens in less than 1% of cases. We can make arrangements to have somebody represent you if you are not well enough to attend court.

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