Stroke Misdiagnosis Claims

A stroke is a serious and life-threatening condition. Every year around 150,000 people suffer a stroke and one in four of them will die. Survivors can be left with a long-term disability.


A stroke is a medical emergency and the sooner a diagnosis is made and treatment received, the less damage is likely to occur.

Stroke is the third most common cause of death in the UK and while those most at risk are 65 years or older, a quarter of recorded strokes affect people under 65 and children are also susceptible in rare cases.

In a stroke, oxygenated blood supply to part of the brain is disrupted or cut off. If this happens, brain cells begin to die, leading to brain damage and even death. When the blood supply is temporarily cut off, this is known as a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or a ‘mini-stroke’ which is often a warning sign of an oncoming stroke.

There are two main types of stroke: ischaemic, where the blood supply to the brain is stopped due to a blood clot (a thrombosis or embolism); or haemorrhagic, where a weakened blood vessel ruptures (cerebral or subarachnoid haemorrhage), causing brain damage.

The injuries caused by a stroke can be devastating and long-lasting. A long period of rehabilitation may be required to achieve a degree of independence. In other cases recovery may not be possible. Not only is this upsetting for the person who has suffered the stroke, but can also put a strain on close friends and family.

Their anguish can only be worsened when the stroke and its aftermath are due to the misdiagnosis of a trusted medical professional, which can lead to a delay in receiving urgent treatment and an irreversible, brain injury.

A medical negligence claim may be possible in certain cases and while it will never undo the damage done, it may at least secure a more stable future for the stroke sufferer and their family.

I want to know

How do I make a claim about a stroke

This is specialist work. It is important that your chosen law firm has the legal expertise and the medical knowledge to understand and appreciate what evidence is required and to interpret that evidence when it is obtained.

Your lawyers must also have relationships with the appropriate medical and other experts who can assess your immediate health needs and suggest what treatments you may urgently require. Their input will be absolutely crucial to your recovery and the success of your claim.

To succeed in a claim, you must be able to prove with the support of our experienced lawyers at Access Legal that you received sub-standard treatment, and we must be able to prove, on the balance of probabilities, that you suffered harm as a direct consequence of that sub-standard treatment.

Where a diagnosis was delayed, either by your GP or admitting hospital staff, we would need to be able to prove that the delay lead to you not receiving the appropriate treatment soon enough to prevent, or at least alleviate, the injuries you suffered.

If you feel you may have a case, call us for a free initial consultation. Our priority   will always be the health and well-being of you and your family. We can give you the benefit of our experience in such claims as well as an objective assessment of the likely success of your claim.

How long will a stroke claim take

There is no simple answer to this question. It depends on how serious your injuries are and whether the other party admits or disputes liability.

Access Legal will need access to records and medical evidence from independent experts initially to establish if there is a case to be answered. We then need to obtain evidence about your immediate needs and what assistance you are likely to require on an ongoing basis. We will also need to examine your personal circumstances and employment prospects to enable us to take account of lost earnings if you cannot return to work and assess whatever help and support you may need.

The progress of any rehabilitation is also important in stroke claims. We need to get an accurate assessment of the extent to which you will make a recovery and how long that might take. If your claim is settled too quickly and it becomes clear that you will need a lot more intervention and help than initially thought, we cannot re-open a settled claim and ask for more money.

How co-operative the other side chooses to be can also affect the time it takes to settle. Sometimes, they will accept our evidence and our valuation or they may dispute it. We will then enter into negotiations in order to reach a settlement. The negotiation stage can take time. We will always aim to settle your case without delay, but our aim is to achieve the best possible outcome for you, however long that takes.

If I have a case about a stroke

Establishing whether you have a case for making a stroke claim involves exactly the same investigation as any other claim for clinical negligence. Access Legal’s expert lawyers need to show that there was a breach of the duty of care owed to you by the responsible healthcare staff in failing to provide the appropriate care to you.

The onus will be on you with the support of an experienced lawyer at Access Legal to prove that 'on the balance of probability' (i.e. greater than 50% likelihood) those failures were responsible for the injuries and actual physical harm you suffered.

Deciding if you have a case will also depend on the nature and severity of your injury, to what extent you recover and what the long term effect on your health and well-being may be. These are complex, lengthy and demanding cases in which the major concern will be rehabilitation and continuing medical care to aid your recovery and provide whatever support you and your family may need.

There are time limits within which you can claim so whatever your circumstances you should contact Access Legal as soon as is practicable. We can then give you free initial advice about whether a claim is possible and establish what additional treatments you may require to help you deal with the future, whatever your prognosis.

More about stroke claims

Because a stroke often strikes suddenly and unexpectedly, it can be a frightening experience for the person suffering it and their family. The main symptoms of stroke have been well publicised, using the mnemonic FAST: Face-Arms-Speech-Time.

The victim’s face may drop on one side, they may be unable to lift one or both arms, their speech may be slurred or garbled and if they show any of these symptoms, an ambulance should be called immediately. Treatment depends on the type of stroke suffered and which part of the brain was affected. 

For those suffering from an ischaemic stroke, clot-busting medications  may be used. It is vital that the doctor correctly diagnoses the type of stroke suffered since using this drug would be dangerous for patients suffering a hemorrhagic stroke.

The diagnosis of a stroke may be delayed or missed altogether because the symptoms could be attributed to other conditions such as a migraine or a simple headache. Any delay in diagnosis or failure to conduct an MRI scan would contravene National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines and would be considered negligent.
Following the initial treatment, the process of rehabilitation begins. Getting the appropriate care in place and arranging rehabilitation to allow a stroke victim to regain some of their previous capabilities is an extremely important part of any stroke claim

Our Experts

'You need to have a legal team who are caring, who you absolutely trust and who will tell you the truth. Certainly from our point of view Denise Stephens from Access Legal has been absolutely amazing.'

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Access Legal is the private client arm of Shoosmiths, a national law firm with offices throughout the UK. Our best in class lawyers work with individuals and their families to achieve the best result & solve their practical problems.

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