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A brain tumour diagnosis can be devastating and may be linked to exposure to carcinogens or medical misdiagnosis. If there's a proven connection to negligent exposure or healthcare practices, patients or their families can claim compensation to support treatment and provide financial security.
You can make an injury compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
In this article
You are not alone
Although less common than many other cancers, information from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows there has been a steady increase in brain cancer incidence in the UK over the last 32 years - by 23% for men and 25% for women.
Cancer Research UK's figures state that as many as 26 people per day may be diagnosed with brain, other central nervous system (CNS) and intracranial tumours.
If you decide to make a brain tumour claim, your personal injury solicitor will take you through every step of the claims process. Your solicitor will be with you until you win your claim and get the compensation you deserve.
What are brain tumours?
Masses of cells that can be benign or malignant, brain tumours are graded from 1 to 4, with grade 1 and 2 tumours being classified as benign - slow growing and unlikely to spread.
Grade 3 and 4 tumours are likely to malignant - the majority caused by secondary cancers - i.e. those that started somewhere else in the and spread to the brain, through the bloodstream.
Although benign brain tumours are not cancerous, they are still serious and may be life threatening. Primary brain tumours, although less common than secondary, may be a consequence of benign tumours that were misdiagnosed or not treated properly.
Who is at risk of developing a brain tumour?
Despite substantial research, the causes of brain tumours are not well understood and so far links to major lifestyle or other risk factors have only been established in less than 1% of cases.
People of all ages (including children) may be affected. Risk increases with age, with most tumours affecting people over 50. Brain tumours associated with certain genetic conditions tend to develop in childhood or early adulthood.
Previous radiotherapy treatment to the head may increase the risk of a brain tumour developing later in life.
Although it is reported that the use of mobile phones may relate to higher risk of developing brain tumours, the evidence is unclear.
What are the symptoms of a brain tumour?
Symptoms are caused by pressure on the brain from the tumour and by it preventing specific areas of the brain from functioning properly. They depend on its size and location and may include:
- Severe, persistent headaches - typically worse in the morning or when bending over or coughing
- Seizures (fits) - which may affect the whole or just involve a twitch in one area
- Persistent nausea, vomiting and drowsiness
- Mental or behavioural changes, such as memory problems or changes in personality
- Progressive weakness or paralysis on one side of the , or speech problems
- Vision problems - such as blurred vision, floaters and loss of vision that may come and go
Slow-growing tumours may not cause any symptoms at first.
What happens if a brain tumour is suspected?
Anyone suspecting they may have a brain tumour should see his GP immediately. The GP should assess the patient before referring him to a specialist.
The specialist will conduct further tests to examine the nervous system for any abnormalities. These may include tests on:
- Hearing and vision
- Balance and co-ordination
- Mental agility such as simple arithmetic
These should be followed up with advanced scans - such as CT (computerised tomography), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and EEG (electroencephalogram).
If a tumour is found then a biopsy may be performed to remove tissue for analysis to establish the type of tumour and the best method to treat it.
For the best possible prognosis is it vital to treat a brain tumour as early as possible.
What happens if the tests are not conducted?
Where symptoms are ignored or dismissed as having another cause (such as migraine for instance), and tests not carried out, the tumour may be undiagnosed and therefore not treated.
Delays are particularly significant when dealing with benign tumours. The prognosis is improved when tumours are small and more easily removed. If a surgeon is only able to partially remove a more deep seated tumour, the remaining tissue may cause a recurrence.
An undetected benign tumour may become malignant and spread to damage other parts of the brain and spinal cord.
Can I claim for medical negligence for a brain tumour misdiagnosis?
Where a doctor has failed to investigate, diagnose (or misdiagnose) or correctly treat a brain tumour, the delay in treatment may cause undue suffering to a patient.
To bring a successful claim for clinical negligence it is necessary to show that the delay in diagnosis has resulted in a worse outcome.
Sometimes a patient may be incorrectly diagnosed with having a brain tumour, when his illness is something less severe. A claim for misdiagnosis may be brought where the patient has sustained the psychological stress of believing themselves to have cancer. There may also be financial losses incurred due to time off work for tests and treatment.
Other reading: Report highlights unacceptable delays in cancer diagnosis
How much compensation can I claim for a brain tumour?
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.
Updated December 2023
Compensation Calculator v3.04
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages are awarded to compensate you for any costs or losses you've incurred or might incur as a result of your accident. These costs might include loss of earnings, including lost overtime, holiday pay, benefits and pension contributions, or any other out of pocket expenses.
Special damages may also be awarded for medical treatments or procedures that you might need to treat your ilness, including surgical removal, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapy.
Average brain tumour general damages compensation
The following brain tumour payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Sixteenth Edition by the Judicial College.These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.
Please note: these average figures represent general damages only, and do not include any element of special damages (e.g. lost wages).
|Brain injury||Minor||Minimal injury with full or near-complete recovery||£2,010 to £11,610|
|Brain injury||Less severe||Good recovery with a return to work and normal social life||£13,930 to £39,150|
|Brain injury||Moderate||Resulting in a lower degree of dependence||£39,150 to £199,150|
|Brain injury||Serious||Resulting in serious disability and substantial dependence on others||£199,150 to £256,370|
|Brain injury||Severe||Very severe with the need for full-time nursing care||£256,370 to £367,260|
|Epilepsy||Moderate||Less severe epilepsy||£9,670 to £23,900|
|Epilepsy||Serious||Established Petit Mal||£49,850 to £119,430|
|Epilepsy||Severe||Established Grand Mal||£92,730 to £136,460|
Claiming compensation for psychological injuries
If you have experienced psychological issues in addition to physical symptoms, you are not alone.
Our 2023 Personal Injury Claimant Survey found that 29.03% of claimants reported a psychological injury, with 70.97% of these relating to a physical injury.
A brain tumour diagnosis can lead to significant psychological distress and depression, affecting mental health and quality of life.
Although psychiatric injuries are less obvious than physical injuries and illness, mental health conditions can be no less debilitating.
Our compensation calculator can estimate your compensation for psychological injuries. Or you can call us on 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor.
Brain tumour claim case study
Compensation of £6,000 was secured for a 21 year-old woman for GP delays in diagnosing and treating her brain tumour six years earlier.
Suffering severe headaches and vomiting, a 15 year old girl (the claimant) attended her GP practice (the defendant) on six occasions. . The GPs prescribed migraine medication.
Other possible causes were also explored. The claimant's tooth brace was removed and she was prescribed glasses but the symptoms remained.
Six months after first attending her GP, she began to suffer tremors in her left hand and an involuntary flutter in her eye.
The girl was referred to a consultant paediatrician. Before the appointment was received she collapsed. She was taken to hospital by ambulance. The diagnosis was a large brain tumour and hydrocephalus.
Emergency surgery was carried out to treat the tumour and ease the pressure on her brain. Following the surgery she remained in hospital for several months.
The surgery would likely have taken place at the same time in any event. The misdiagnosis led to symptoms that otherwise could have been controlled with steroids.
The claimant suffered severe headaches, vomiting, tremors in her left hand and fluttering of her eye. She was clumsy, unable to leave the house alone and found difficulty walking and speaking. Her personality was changed markedly.
It was alleged that the defendants were negligent insofar as they failed refer her for a detailed specialist assessment despite her continued symptoms.
The failure to refer the claimant led to a delay in diagnosing her brain tumour.
During the period of misdiagnosis she suffered significant symptoms and her quality of life was detrimentally affected.
The defendant admitted they should have referred the claimant for specialist opinion but denied this had caused her symptoms.
Liability was not admitted but compensation agreed to be paid in full.
The matter did not proceed to a court hearing.
Compensation of £6,000 was accepted by way of an out of court settlement.
The £6,000 was attributed to pain, suffering and loss of amenity.
How we can help you with your injury claim
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
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Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor
About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.