Patients rely on medical professionals to provide accurate diagnoses and timely treatments to maximise their opportunity for the best outcome possible.

When a crucial diagnosis is missed, appropriate treatment is delayed, and the consequences can be devastating on the patient and their family. This is especially so in cases involving a cancer diagnosis.

If your diagnosis was missed or delayed, you may be able to bring a claim.

To be successful in a Medical Negligence claim following a missed diagnosis, you will need to establish:

  1. Negligence – That is the treatment you received fell below the standard of care expected of a reasonably competent practitioner in their field. This could be a failure to properly examine you, order the appropriate diagnostic tests or accurately interpret test results; and
  2. Causation – In other words, the delay in the diagnosis and commencement of appropriate treatment has more likely than not caused you harm that otherwise could have been avoided had treatment been provided sooner. Tragically, in missed cancer diagnosis claims, the harm that flows is often a terminal diagnosis or a far shortened life expectancy.

What compensation can I claim?

If you can establish negligence and causation, you will be entitled to claim compensation for the following heads of damages:

  1. Pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life;
  2. Past and future medical and like expenses including equipment aides, prescription medications, ongoing scans, consultations with various medical providers etc;
  3. Past loss of wages and future loss of earning capacity; and
  4. Past and future care and assistance you need with activities of daily living including domestic and personal care such as cooking, cleaning, shopping, showering, dressing etc.

It is important to be aware that if you pass away before your claim is finalised, some of the above compensation will no longer be claimable.

What are the time limits for bringing a claim?

In South Australia, you have 3 years from the date of the negligent act or omission within which to bring a claim. However, there are circumstances where the Court can grant you an extension of time after the expiry of the 3 years to bring a claim. In missed diagnosis cancer claims, this could be if you were not made aware of your cancer diagnosis until 3 years after it was missed.

What do I do next?

If you believe your cancer diagnosis was missed or delayed, you should contact our office on 08 8213 1000 for an obligation free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers to discuss whether you may have a claim.