Ectopic Pregnancy Misdiagnosis Compensation Claims

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by an ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis, we can help.

If your injuries were caused by the negligence of a doctor, nurse, midwife or other medical professional, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

Claiming injury compensation with a solicitor

You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a specialist clinical negligence solicitor.

Your solicitor will ask you about what happened, and they will collect evidence to prove the negligence happened. Your solicitor will also work out how much money you can claim, based on your injuries, lost earnings and other expenses.

We can help you make a medical negligence claim on a No Win No Fee basis.

In this article

Introduction

Around one in every 90 pregnancies is ectopic, according to figures published by the NHS.

Failure to detect an ectopic pregnancy in its early stages will usually lead to serious consequences. Ruptured fallopian tubes are recognised as a medical emergency and can result in potentially life-threatening internal bleeding.

If you have suffered pain and injury as a result of an ectopic pregnancy that was not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner, you may be eligible to make a medical negligence claim against the NHS Trust or private doctor or hospital responsible for the negligent misdiagnosis.

Lawyer and claimants

Do I have an injury claim?

Medical negligence claims differ from personal injury claims as the following will need to be established:

  • there was a breach of duty ("negligence" or "fault"); and
  • the breach of duty was the cause of your injury, damage or loss ("causation" or "avoidable harm").

Breach of Duty

A breach of duty means that the standard of care you received was below the standard that could reasonably be expected of a competent healthcare professional.

Causation

To establish causation, it will need to be demonstrated that the injury you suffered resulted from the negligent care rather than the underlying condition.

Get an impartial opinion

To get impartial advice on whether you have a claim, speak to an injury claim expert on 0800 376 1001.

A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.

Is compensation always payable?

If an error occurred during treatment and the patient was harmed as a result, this may be referred to as an "undesirable outcome".

Not all treatment that results in an undesirable outcome will result in the payment of compensation.

Sometimes an undesirable outcome is due to a known risk associated with the treatment, or due to a mistake that a doctor could reasonably have made in the circumstances.

What if there is no evidence?

Evidence can take the form of eyewitness accounts, CCTV footage, photographs etc. It will be difficult to win an ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis claim with no evidence at all. You may feel that there is no evidence but a solictor may well be able to assist in collating evidence that you, as a claimant, were unaware of.

Can I make a historic ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis claim if I was injured as a child?

Yes. You have until your 21st birthday to claim for any ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis you sustained as a child.

How long do I have to start a claim?

If your injury is apparent immediately after medical treatment, you will have 3 years to start a claim.

It may be that the negligent procedure happened more than 3 years ago, but your injury was only diagnosed recently, within the last 3 years. If so, you may still be able to make a claim.

What if your injury was diagnosed months or years after treatment?

You may not be immediately aware of your injury. In some cases, months and even years can pass before symptoms appear.

The law allows you to make a medical negligence claim up to three years after the 'date of knowledge' (when you first learned of the injury).

It is recommended that you start a claim as soon as possible, as medical negligence cases can be complex. Starting your claim sooner will give your solicitor more time to gather medical evidence, assess the extent of your injury and to negotiate interim payments and your final compensation amount.

How much compensation can I claim for an injury?

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.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General 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

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after an injury? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

What is the average injury compensation for an injury claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following an injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

Will a clinical negligence claim affect my benefits?

It may. The receipt of a compensation award could affect the calculation of any means-tested benefits. One approach to protecting your benefits, would be to set up a "Personal Injury Trust" or "PI Trust". Read more: Should I set up a personal injury trust?

Can I claim for an existing ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis that has got worse?

Yes, it is possible to pursue a claim in the event that a pre-existing medical condition, illness or injury is made worse or aggravated by an accident or someone else's negligence.

Calculate my injury compensation

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an 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 injury claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does an ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis claim take?

How long it can take to settle an ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis claim can vary significantly.

A straightforward liability accepted medical negligence claim could be settled in 12 to 24 months. If liability is denied, a claim can take 2 to 5 years. Typically, a medical negligence claim takes 12 to 36 months. See: How long will my claim take?

How else can a solicitor help me?

Your solicitor will handle your injury claim from the initial FREE case evaluation, through to the financial settlement.

Your solicitor will work with other specialists to provide caring and sensitive support and 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.

What are the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy?

An ectopic pregnancy will give a positive result on a pregnancy test and may feel like a normal pregnancy in the early stages. However, the following symptoms are likely to be experienced between weeks 5 and 14 of an ectopic pregnancy:

  • Abdominal pain, particularly on one side of the body
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Pain in the shoulder caused by pressure placed on the diaphragm
  • Pain when emptying the bowels
  • Dizziness and fainting

A patient who presents with any of these symptoms should be given blood and urine tests, a pelvic exam and an ultrasound to diagnose the condition.

Doctors are expected to be particularly vigilant when treating patients who have a history of ectopic pregnancy, as around 20 percent of women who have suffered an ectopic pregnancy will do so again during their life.

If your doctor fails to promptly diagnose your ectopic pregnancy, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

Early ectopic pregnancy diagnosis

If an ectopic pregnancy is diagnosed early enough, the pregnancy may be terminated using a drug called methotrexate. Medical termination typically delivers a better outcome for the patient as there is no need to remove the fallopian tubes and the patient's fertility is not affected in the majority of cases.

After a certain period of gestation, surgical termination is the only treatment option. Surgeons typically will endeavour remove the part of the fallopian tube where the fertilised egg is lodged and rejoin the tubes after the ends have healed, using a procedure called salpingostomy.

If the patient's health has been affected, the fallopian tube may have to be removed entirely.

Surgical termination may reduce a patient's ability to conceive. Therefore, the sooner an ectopic pregnancy is diagnosed the better the outcome for the patient both in terms of the risks of treatment and in terms of her future fertility.

You may be able to claim compensation if your fertility has been affected by late or misdiagnosis.

Making an ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis claim

Doctors owe a duty of care to diagnose ectopic pregnancies and provide treatment in a professional and timely manner.

You may have an ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis claim if this duty is breached and the patient suffers injury as a result. Examples include:

  • Failure to diagnose the condition when symptoms are presented
  • A delay in diagnosing the condition causing the women to undergo more invasive surgery than was necessary
  • Misdiagnosis, for example, diagnosing a miscarriage instead of an ectopic pregnancy
  • Failure to perform the correct tests
  • Misinterpretation of test results such as blood tests and scans
  • Surgical error such as removing the wrong fallopian tube
  • Substandard post-operative monitoring and future pregnancy care.

How your solicitor proves 'breach of duty'

To make a successful claim, your injury lawyer would need to establish breach of duty on the part of the healthcare professional, also known as negligence.

Breach of duty occurs whenever a medical practitioner behaves in a manner that drops below reasonably expected standards. This will usually be decided by independent medical evidence and expert opinion concerning the facts of your case.

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. Solicitors settle the vast majority of claims out of court.

Less than 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 decided by a judge or magistrate, not a jury.

Even if the claim does go to court, it is very unlikely you will have to attend.

Read more:

Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

No win, no fee, no risk

'No win, no fee' means that if your injury claim is not successful, you will not have to pay any legal fees whatsoever. Known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA', no win, no fee is an agreement entered into between you and the solicitor.

No win, no fee promise

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is absolutely no financial risk in making an injury 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 injury claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. Your solicitor will agree a success fee with you before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my injury claim?

If your injury claim is not successful then you will not have to pay any fees. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

What is Legal Aid available for?

In 2000, the government abolished the right to legal aid in medical negligence cases. Depending on an individual's circumstances, Legal Aid may be available for discrimination cases, criminal cases, family mediation and court or tribunal representation.

How do personal injury solicitors get paid?

If your ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis claim is successful, the defendant, or their insurer, will pay the compensation and your solicitors fees.

How we can help you

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 medical negligence 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
  • 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday

Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:

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Injury FAQ's

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.

Read more:

Claiming on behalf of another person.

Will I have to visit a solicitor's office to start a claim?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. Personal injury claims are handled by email, post and phone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more:

Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

I need the money now - what are my options?

If you are unable to work and have bills to pay, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is an advance on your compensation payment. Any amount you receive in interim payments would be deducted from your final compensation payment.

Read more:

How to I get an interim compensation payment?

Chris Salmon, Director

Author:
Chris Salmon, Director