What is a Smear Test?
Cervical screening, otherwise more commonly known as a smear test, checks the health of your cervix. It is a test to help prevent cancer and everyone with a cervix aged 25 to 64 should be invited to have a smear test.
During the screening, a small sample of cells will be taken from your cervix. The sample will then be checked for certain types of virus that can cause changes to the cells of your cervix. If these types of virus are found, the sample is then checked for any changes in the cells of your cervix so they can be treated before they get a chance to turn into cervical cancer.
Unfortunately changes in the cervix can sometimes be missed and when this happens the effects can be devastating. If something has been missed from your cervical smear test, you may be able to bring a claim for medical negligence.
What happens when a Cervical Smear Test is missed?
Early stages of cervical cancer are sometimes difficult to diagnose, but unfortunately there are certain cases where the results of a smear test have been misinterpreted, leading to a misdiagnosis. A missed cervical smear test will fail to report any signs of virus that may be causing changes to your cervix.
Smear test results can be incorrectly processed or misinterpreted which can result in misdiagnosis. Claims can be brought for misdiagnosis, missed detection and general negligence surrounding the cervical smear test.
What do you need to prove to bring a claim for missed findings at a smear test?
In order to bring a successful claim for a missed Cervical Smear test, you will need to show an error on the part of whoever completed your screening and the person who interpreted the results. You must then show that you suffered some form of injury as a result of that error. The injury may not necessarily be a delayed diagnosis of cancer, for example it could be fertility issues or early menopause. On the other hand, symptoms may be lifelong and have a devastating effect on your life; the effects of a missed cervical smear test can also be fatal.
Who do you claim against?
Claims can be made against various organisations, including Trusts and GP Surgeries. Trusts are National Health Service organisations that manage individual Hospitals. They carry indemnity to provide financial cover for this type of claim, so we would usually deal with NHS Resolution (an organisation providing claims management service to NHS Trusts), rather than an individual hospital or doctor when bringing a claim for a missed Cervical Smear test.
One of our medical negligence specialists will be able to assist you with who to make the claim against if you are unsure.
How long do I have to bring a claim? Is there a time limit?
Ordinarily, the law allows you three years to bring a claim for medical negligence. This three-year period will usually run from the date of the negligence (which could be the date of the missed cervical smear test), although it can often start much later and so it is best to obtain specialist advice from one of our lawyers if you are unsure about whether you are in time to bring a claim.
It is worth giving one of our lawyers a call before deciding yourself whether you are out of time to bring a claim as there are exceptions to the normal three-year rule, which might apply to your case.
How much compensation will I recover for a claim for a missed cervical smear test?
Compensation can vary widely and this depends on the circumstances of each individual case. Compensation could be worth a significant amount if you suffer problems which have a significant impact on your life, however compensation can also be modest if the symptoms you are claiming for do not have a serious impact upon you and you recover quickly.
There are various aspects, including lost income, child care and the cost of further treatment needed to put the problem right that are all factored into any compensation amount.
How much will it cost me to bring a claim for a missed Cervical Smear test?
This will depend on the individual circumstances of your case, but in every case we look to fund a claim in the most cost-effective way possible and choose the best method of funding for any client. The most common way of funding a claim is by a Conditional Fee Agreement, better known as a ‘No Win, No Fee’ Agreement, where (as long as you keep to the terms of your funding agreement) you don’t pay anything if your claim is unsuccessful. We could also act for you under an existing policy of insurance that you might have in place. We would discuss this in more detail at the beginning of your case and advise you as to what funding method is best for you.
How do I bring a claim for a missed cervical smear test?
We will discuss your concerns over the telephone in the first instance; this is on a no obligation basis and at no charge to you. If a claim is brought, we will set up funding for your claim, and investigate it on your behalf. We will ensure that we update you at every step of the way and aim to recover the compensation you deserve in either an out-of-Court settlement or at a Trial, if necessary.
Why should I choose Waldrons?
Here at Waldrons, we have a team of experienced medical negligence lawyers to help you with your case. We are accredited with the Law Society’s Clinical Negligence Panel, and we are firm members of both Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) and the Society of Clinical Negligence Lawyers (SCIL). We have offices across the West Midlands, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, and offer home visits too. We can work flexibly around you, to help try and make a difficult situation slightly easier for you.
The first step to take in order to discuss any concerns you have will be to contact one of our specialist medical negligence lawyers to discuss your case. Please contact us for more information.