Cancer Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by cancer we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered cancer and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.
In our guide to claiming
Awareness of cancer and its symptoms appears to have improved in recent years. High profile sufferers and media campaigns have helped to raise awareness of the importance of early screening for the condition as early as possible.
According to Cancer Research, the survival rates for cancer have improved dramatically. The number of people who manage to overcome cancer has doubled in the past 40 years. There are thousands of people diagnosed with cancer every year (over 331,000 in 2011), and their ability to recover is often dependent on early diagnosis and treatment.
Do I have a cancer claim?
You should be eligible to make a cancer injury claim if your injury happened:
- in the last three years, and;
- someone else was to blame, and;
- that person owed you a duty of care.
Injury claim eligibility - Common questions
What if a child was injured?
The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.
A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start a cancer claim on their own behalf.
Can I make a cancer claim right up to the three-year limit?
Technically, yes. However, in practice, not always. Many solicitors will not take on a cancer claim that only has a few months (sometimes even a year) left before the time limit expires. The panel of solicitors will take a claim on as late as possible where it is felt that the claim could be successful.
The amount of money you could claim for your cancer will depend on:
- the extent 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 cancer has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.
This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.
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 for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
What can I claim for after a cancer? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
Cancer compensation amounts
The following cancer payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Fifteenth Edition by the Judicial College.These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.
|Asbestos disease||Serious||Lung cancer||£55,830 to £77,580|
What is the average injury compensation for a cancer claim?
The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.
However, the money you would receive following a cancer will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your cancer compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.
See the injury table above for some examples.
Can I see the complete judicial college tables?
The table above (excerpted from the Judicial College Tables) shows the most common cancer claims. To see the complete list see: Judicial College Injury Tables.
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a cancer injury can be complicated.
Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.
Find out what your cancer claim could be worth now:
How long does a cancer claim take?
The length of time needed to settle a cancer claim can vary significantly.
For example, a straightforward liability accepted injury claim could be settled in a few weeks. However, if liability is denied a compensation claim can take significantly longer. Usually, an injury claim will take 4 to 9 months. For more information, see: How long will my claim take?
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your cancer claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:
- Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
- Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
- Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
- Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.
Why is early diagnosis important?
If cancer is discovered early, it is much more likely that the patient will recover and continue to have a normal life expectancy. Cancer that has spread to other parts of the body is much more difficult to treat, so early diagnosis can dramatically alter the potential prognosis for the sufferer.
What are the statistics regarding early diagnosis of cancer?
Cancer Research states that:
- 9 in 10 patients who are diagnosed with bowel cancer at the earliest possible stage recover and survive for at least 5 years.
- Over 90% of women who receive an early diagnosis of breast cancer survive past 5 years.
- In excess of 90% of women who are diagnosed early with ovarian cancer reach the 5 year survival point.
- 70% of people who are diagnosed with lung cancer in the earliest stages survive at least 5 years.
If you approach your GP with symptoms that could be ascribed to cancer, it is vitally important that you are referred to a specialist and for testing. Unfortunately, some cancers produce symptoms that could be attributed to other conditions, and this is where errors can occur.
If your GP has any doubt that any of your symptoms could be caused by cancer, he or she has a responsibility to ensure that all necessary precautions are taken to protect your health.
If there has been a delay in diagnosing cancer, it may be that your prognosis is affected by this. If an earlier diagnosis could have resulted in less invasive treatment, or could have halted the spread of a cancerous tumour, you may be entitled to claim compensation for medical negligence.
Doctors have a responsibility to investigate all symptoms, and all possible causes of those symptoms.
Misdiagnosis of cancer can have a significant impact on your recovery, and on the length and quality of your life. If the doctor or specialist discovers abnormalities, he is duty bound to investigate further and arrange appropriate testing. Failing to do this can cause misdiagnosis, which can be very traumatic as well as dangerous for the patient.
If a doctor has conducted a biopsy or other tests to detect cancerous abnormalities, he then has a responsibility to act appropriately. Acting appropriately includes ensuring that the patient is fully informed of the results of tests, and that appropriate treatment is given in a timely fashion.
Doctors who fail to act appropriately in the wake of cancer testing or diagnosis may be liable for a clinical negligence claim.
How did your injury occur?
The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:
How does no win, no fee work?
No Win, No Fee is an agreement with your solicitor (known as a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA) that means that you can make a cancer claim with:
- no upfront legal fees
- no solicitor's fees payable if your claim is not successful
- a success fee payable only if your claim is successful
No Win, No Fee is the most common way to make a compensation claim.
Our no win, no fee guarantee
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is zero financial risk in making a cancer claim - even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my cancer claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my cancer claim?
If your cancer claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees . Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
How do personal injury solicitors get paid?
If your cancer claim is successful, the defendant, or their insurer, will pay the compensation and your solicitors fees.
How can Quittance help?
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.
Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:
if you can claim
to start a claim
Can I claim for someone else?
Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.
If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.
The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.
Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?
You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.
However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.
How long do I have to make a cancer claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the cancer to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your cancer claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for a cancer after 3 years?
Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.
However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.
If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.
There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim cancer compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a cancer claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.
Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.
Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.
Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
Can I get an early compensation payment?
If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.
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.