Lung cancer compensation claims

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    Lung cancer compensation claims

    If something has gone wrong during the diagnosis or treatment of your lung cancer – or that of a close family member – you may be entitled to compensation.

    Making a claim can help to make your own or your family’s future more secure. It may also help you to access treatments, rehabilitation and specialist equipment that you may not otherwise have had the means to get.

    Many of our clients also find the claims process helps them to get a better understanding of what went wrong in their case, which brings them some peace. We can seek an apology for you and help you to highlight the mistakes made in your case to help prevent the same thing happening again to someone else.

    How do you make a successful lung cancer claim?

    A successful claim can only be made where someone else’s negligence has led to your cancer or led to it getting worse.

    Lung cancer can sometimes develop as a result of the work you do. For example, if you have been exposed to asbestos, chemicals or passive smoking it may lead to a workplace compensation claim.

    In other instances claims relate to delayed diagnosis, a misdiagnosis when presenting with lung cancer symptoms or improper clinical treatment of lung cancer. A lung cancer claim may also be part of a larger medical negligence claim where delayed or misdiagnosis of another cancer has led it to spread to the lungs, for example.

    A specialist solicitor will help sift through the facts, call upon expert analysis and evidence and pursue an apology on your behalf if you’ve been let down.

    To make a successful claim it is necessary to gain an admission of negligence or prove negligence – and to show that the negligence led to harm. Examples of what constitutes harm include:

    • mental distress
    • the need for more invasive treatment
    • worse quality of life
    • lowered life expectancy.

    £60,000 for false diagnosis of lung cancer

    Our solicitors helped to secure £60,000 and an apology for a woman who was misdiagnosed with terminal lung cancer and was incorrectly given treatment for it.

    Mary * spent five years believing her cancer was incurable and suffered severe irrecoverable psychiatric injuries as a result. The misdiagnosis changed her from a happy, positive woman to one who withdrew from her husband, family and friends.

    It was only when Mary’s hospital trust reviewed her case that it was uncovered that Mary had never had lung cancer.

    Initially, the hospital trust denied any wrongdoing, but independent experts said CT scans were wrongly interpreted in her case and vital sampling and biopsies not completed.

    How much compensation could I get in a lung cancer claim?

    Every compensation case is different and every award is based on individual factors and details which makes it difficult to make broad estimates of potential outcomes. There are, however, some guidelines for part of the claim total, which is made up of two elements: Special damages and general damages.

    The general damages element of the claim, which may represent the smaller portion of the overall amount, is designed to compensate for pain and suffering and the amounts involved are usually fairly closely dictated by standard guidelines.

    The special damages element of a claim will account for all the expenses suffered – or that may be suffered in the future – as a result of the negligence and may include costs related to:

    • medical expenses
    • loss of income
    • carers
    • assistive devices such as wheelchairs or breathing apparatus
    • necessary adaptations to home or car
    • counselling for mental trauma.

    For the general damages element of the claim there are some guidelines that may be relevant in lung cancer cases. They include:

    Description of the level of injury in relation to lung cancer Guideline compensation amount for the general damages element of the claim*


    *Note – this only forms one element of the total award which may be much greater

    For a young person where there is a likelihood of progressive worsening and early death (perhaps as a result of missed lung cancer diagnosis)



    £94,470 to £127,530


    Lung cancer in an older person that severely impacts on quality of life £65,710 to £91,350
    Asbestos-related lung cancer £65,710 to £91,350
    Disfiguring scar (such as that suffered through mistaken or poorly performed surgery)  

    £7,350 to £21,330


    A specialist solicitor who understands lung cancer care will consider every aspect of the harm and costs that you have suffered (or may go on to suffer) as a result of failings that led to your illness or led it to get worse. They will build those into your claim.

    What is the impact of delayed lung cancer diagnosis?

    Delayed lung cancer diagnosis can have severe impacts, both for quality of life and life expectancy.

    Lung cancer survival rates are much higher for people diagnosed sooner.

    More than 55 out of 100 people will survive lung cancer for five years or more if diagnosed at Stage 1.*

    That number reduces to 35 out of 100 people surviving for five or more years after lung cancer diagnosis at Stage 2, 15 out of 100 people at Stage 3 and five out of 100 at Stage 4.

    Only 19% of lung cancer patients diagnosed at Stage 4 survive for at least one year.

    Survival rates are higher in people diagnosed with lung cancer aged between 15 and 39.

    Delays are surprisingly frequent in the diagnosis of common cancers. One recent report said four in ten people with cancer in the UK are misdiagnosed at least once before the correct diagnosis is made.

    * Figures reported by Cancer Research UK based on Office for National Statistics data.

    What amounts to negligence in a lung cancer claim?

    Failures that amount to medical negligence are any actions taken by a clinician that a responsible professional would not have taken.

    In the case of lung cancer these may include:

    • failing to follow NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines on when to refer for lung cancer investigation. Instances when referrals should always be made include when:
      • a chest x ray shows possible signs of lung cancer
      • someone is over 40 and coughing up blood from the respiratory tract.
    • failures in the execution or interpretation of a chest X-ray, CT scan or biopsy that showed or should have shown the signs of lung cancer
    • misinterpretation of symptoms and/or tests that lead to a false diagnosis of lung cancer when it was not present
    • failure to spot that lung cancer had spread to other parts of the body
    • where lung cancer occurs following the spread of another cancer (where there were failures in treatment, diagnosis or monitoring)
    • sub-standard treatment or mistakes during treatment, which may include chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery
    • where lung cancer is the result of an industrial injury such as exposure to asbestos.

    For a compensation claim to be successful an error must have occured and it must have also led to harm. In a case where lung cancer was already so progressed that an earlier diagnosis would not have materially changed the outcome for the patient, for example, there would not be a case for compensation.

    Support for people with lung cancer

    There are many charities that provide support and information to people affected by lung cancer.

    They include:

    More information about lung cancer claims

    We are always happy to have an initial free, informal chat with anyone who is considering a lung cancer claim. We can also help if you have begun working with another solicitor but do not feel happy with how matters are progressing. Do get in touch.

    You can also find further relevant information below: