A Guide to Claiming Ectopic Pregnancy Misdiagnosis Compensation

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

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered an ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

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 may have serious consequences for the mother. Ruptured fallopian tubes are recognised as a medical emergency and can result in potentially life-threatening internal bleeding.

Anyone who suffers injury as a result of an ectopic pregnancy that is not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner 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 ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis 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 ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis claim expert on 0800 612 7456.

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

You can also find out if you have a claim with our Online Claim Checker.

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.

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 ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis?

The amount of money you could claim for your ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis 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 ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis 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

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 ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis? (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 ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis 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 ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis 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.

Will I have to pay tax on my ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis compensation?

If you receive financial compensation following an ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis injury, specific legislation ensures that you do not have to pay tax on it. This is the case no matter whether the compensation is received as a lump sum or as staggered payments.

Ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis compensation calculator

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis 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 ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis 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.

For example, a straightforward liability accepted medical negligence claim could be settled in 12 to 24 months. If liability is denied, however, 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?

Will I still be able to claim for an ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis after the law changes in April 2020?

The law relating to personal injury claims is changing in April 2020.

You will no longer be able to claim no win, no fee compensation using a solicitor for lower value claims (under £5,000).

In addition, compensation for whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries will be reduced.

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis 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.

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.

Early 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.

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. An ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis claim may arise whenever 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.

To make a successful claim, the 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. The arguments will usually revolve around independent medical evidence surrounding the facts of the case.

No win, no fee, no risk

'No win, no fee' means that if your ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis 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 ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis claim, even if you don't win your claim.

What do I pay if I win my ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis 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 ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis claim?

If your ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis 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.

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.

Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

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 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, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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Ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis 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 about claiming on behalf of another person.

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.

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

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.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

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.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

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.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert