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Medical misdiagnosis of illness and disease

Medical misdiagnosis can happen when a doctor or health care professional fails to diagnose or wrongly diagnoses an illness, disease or condition.  This may lead to incorrect or delayed treatment and cause further damage and loss to the patient.


For example, a person may have a biopsy for skin cancer but the pathologist fails to recognise signs of cancer that another physician could have reasonably recognised.

In some cases the misdiagnosis can be a result of medical negligence and so the patient may be able to claim compensation for the damage caused.

Medical negligence claims for misdiagnosis

Not all instances of misdiagnosis are cases of medical negligence - even the best doctors can, and do, make errors in diagnosis. There has to be clear evidence that shows:

  • A similarly trained medical professional would not have made the same mistake, AND
  • Harm or injury has been caused as a result of the misdiagnosis.

Both of these criteria have to be satisfied for a claim to be successful and compensation paid out.

Making a medical misdiagnosis compensation claim

Medical misdiagnosis, and medical negligence more generally, is often quite a complex area of law, requiring robust evidence. Before undertaking a claim our medical misdiagnosis lawyers will work with you through the details of your situation to work out if you have a claim. For a general overview of the process for making a claim for compensation, see our step-by-step video below.

Contact Shine Lawyers

If you believe you have been injured or suffered loss as a result of medical misdiagnosis, get in touch with Shine via phone or the enquiry form below for an obligation-free consultation. We offer our medical misdiagnosis compensation claims services on a No Win, No Fee basis so you don't have to worry about out-of-pocket legal expenses.

For more information about medical misdiagnosis claims, see our Common Questions section below.


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Common Questions

Not all cases of misdiagnosis are the result of medical negligence. Even the best doctors can, and do, make errors in diagnosis.

If another doctor with similar experience and training would have made the same mistake, then it is unlikely to be considered negligence.

In cases where negligence may be an issue, there must be further harm or injury as a result of the negligence for compensation to be sought.

That being said, all cases are different. If you believe you may have a claim, get in touch with our team who will be able to make an assessment of your case.

There are many situations where a disease or condition may be misdiagnosed. However, certain wrong diagnoses are more common than others:

  • Cancers such as lung, cervical, pancreatic and skin cancers
  • Meningitis, where both viral and bacterial forms can be mistaken for the flu. Bacterial meningitis can be life threatening.
  • Heart attacks being mistaken for panic attacks or indigestion
  • Staph infections can be misdiagnosed as insect or spider bites, herpes, acne and other skin issues. Bacterial infections can become serious, even deadly, if not treated correctly.
  • Strokes may be wrongly identified as migraines or other relatively minor issues in younger patients.

To prove medical negligence, you need to show that the treatment fell below the standard of care reasonably expected from a professional.

If the medical practitioner or hospital acted in a way considered to be acceptable in the opinion of a large number of respected medical practitioners in that same field, then you may not have a claim.

Most states and territories have a three-year limit. The three years run from the date of the medical negligence or in some cases, from the date the negligence was first discovered.

It’s possible for a claim to be made outside the prescribed time limits if the injury or harm was not immediately obvious.

You should call us to discuss the situation as soon as you become aware that you may have been subjected to improper medical treatment. This will ensure you have time on your side and we can get you the best possible outcome.

Injury compensation amounts are calculated based on the harm and/or loss suffered not the degree of negligence. A medical negligence claim could include compensation for the following:

  • Pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life
  • Past and future loss of earnings
  • Care and help provided by friends or family
  • Paid care and help such as nurses, gardeners, etc
  • Past and future medical expenses, such as surgery and equipment
  • Home and vehicle modification expenses
  • Costs associated with a trustee managing your money

The diagram below shows the key principle behind claiming compensation. In most instances a monetary value is placed on the gap between your life path before the incident, and your life path since the incident.

Claims Process Diagram

All medical practitioners are required by law to have Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII). In the event of an accident or injury, the insurance company pays the compensation rather than the professional or medical facility.

Shine Lawyers operate on a No Win No Fee* basis, which means that if you make a compensation claim you won’t pay our legal fees unless we win.

The legal fees at the end depend on the work required to successfully win your case, so the amount can vary depending on the complexity of the case. Your lawyer will give you a guide as to the expected fees once they understand your case.

*Conditions apply

Where you are located isn't necessarily a barrier when it comes to obtaining the services of a lawyer. We're experts when it comes to cerebral palsy related claims and we can help you get the compensation you deserve.It doesn't matter if you are located close or far away from a Shine Lawyers office - we will always provide the same, expert advice and manage your claim with the same level of quality and commitment.

Our compensation experts are in the following locations:

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