Skin cancer is believed to be caused by over exposure to the sun, sunlamps or sunbeds and can be fatal if not spotted at the earliest opportunity.
If a patient visits their GP or a hospital and is sent home because the doctor doesn’t think there is cancer present and it can be proved that there was a misdiagnosis then the patient could make a claim for compensation because of medical negligence.
To prove medical negligence a patient, or their legal team, has to prove that the doctors level of care dipped below what could be reasonably expected (i.e. below what over trained doctors would do) and also that because of the poor level of treatment the patient is now injured (now has cancer in this case or other problems due to the cancer). If both parts can be proven then there is strong case for claiming for compensation and being successful.
Types Of Skin Cancer Misdiagnosis
There are two types of skin cancer that patients present with and if they are misdiagnosed then it can lead to serious complications including death of the patient. The two types of skin cancer are:
This is one of the most common types of skin cancer and if diagnosed correctly then the patients prognosis is good when caught in the early stages. There are two types on non-melanoma skin cancer: Squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma.
- Malignant Melanoma
Malignant melanoma’s are much more serious than non-melanoma as they can spread to other parts of the patients body. As with non-melanoma’s it is vitally important for very early diagnosis as if the diagnosis is late or wrong then the cancer can have already spread.
If a patient visited their GP and was sent home and then returned after a period with the same concerns and asked for second opinion and skin cancer was confirmed then the patient would have a good chance of successfully claiming compensation against the doctor who made the misdiagnosis.
If a patient spots a change of colour in the skin, a lump, a new mole or a change to an existing mole then they should visit the GP at the earliest possible opportunity for an examination. The doctor will probably examine other moles or parts of the body at the same time and may refer to the local hospital for a more thorough check up.
If a patient can prove that a GP or hospital doctor has misdiagnosed their condition then they can claim against the doctor for medical negligence.
Skin Cancer Compensation Claims Time Limits
Any patient who finds out that they have skin cancer after being misdiagnosed can make a claim for compensation due to medical negligence but have to do so within strict time limits.
Persons have 3 years from the time the cancer was present or more importantly when they found out that they had skin cancer. The only exceptions to this rule are children under the age of 18 when they are diagnosed who have 3 years from their 18th birthday to make the claim for compensation and patients with skin cancer who are also suffering from mental illness who have 3 years to claim from the date that their mental illness was cured.
Choosing The Right Solicitor To Deal With A Skin Cancer Claim
Obviously patients who do get skin cancer have got massive health problems to deal with before considering taking legal action but it is recommended that they make contact with a specialist solicitor who has dealt with skin cancer cases at the earliest opportunity because of the time limits mentioned above.
Also a solicitor with history of dealing with the same condition as the patient is much more likely to succeed when taking on the legal professionals who are representing the doctor involved as they will know what sort of objections that are likely to be thrown up in the process of claiming.
Patients should be able to ask their solicitor questions before deciding to use them where the solicitor will be able to provide evidence of their experience in dealing with skin cancer claims.