A doctor examined my son while he was ill and said he had a bug, but when his condition deteriorated it transpired to be E Coli – can I claim for wrong diagnosis of sickness on my son’s behalf?
A claim for wrong diagnosis of sickness can be made on behalf of a child if he or she has been the victim of the negligence of a third party. A doctor owes your son a duty of care when treating him – as with all of his patients – and your son should not receive an incorrect diagnosis of illness after visiting the doctor. Your son may therefore be entitled to claim compensation for incorrect diagnosis of sickness for the pain and inconvenience caused, particularly if the doctor’s failure to immediately identify the illness resulted in further complications. However it should be noted that the deterioration due to incorrect diagnosis of sickness with a child will require a different procedure and should not be pursued without the assistance of a personal injury* solicitor.
Under Irish law, a child cannot initiate a claim for wrong diagnosis of sickness until he or she has reached the age of eighteen, because of which they will have until their twentieth birthday to pursue compensation. However your son may need compensation for incorrect diagnosis of sickness before this and for this reason a parent or guardian can pursue a claim on the child’s behalf as a “next friend” at any stage between the child’s accident and their eighteenth birthday. Although this means a claim for deterioration due to incorrect diagnosis of sickness can be made at any stage between the correct diagnosis and the child’s twentieth birthday, it is advised that a claim is initiated at the earliest opportunity. This is to ensure that the child has enough compensation to meet his medical and educational requirements as well as to ensure that his claim for incorrect diagnosis of illness is made while evidence is still readily available.
Before representing a claim for wrong diagnosis of sickness as a next friend, a parent or guardian must first receive approval from a judge to act on the child’s behalf. A next friend must also be prepared to accept any financial liability which may arise from an unsuccessful claim for incorrect diagnosis of illness. In the event that a claim is successful, the compensation awarded for your child’s deterioration due to incorrect diagnosis of sickness will be paid into court funds where it will stay until the child turns eighteen. However some compensation for incorrect diagnosis of sickness can be released upon application to the court if required for your son’s medical treatment or education.
A claim for incorrect diagnosis of illness may be more complex as it would constitute as medical negligence*. A medical expert may be required to verify that your son suffered his deterioration due to incorrect diagnosis of sickness and that a fully competent medical professional would not have taken similar measures. To maximise the likelihood that your son will receive his full entitlement to compensation for incorrect diagnosis of sickness, you are advised to consult a personal injury* solicitor at the earliest opportunity to assess your claim. With a solicitor representing the claim on your behalf, you can have your son’s claim for wrong diagnosis of sickness professionally handled.