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What is a stroke claim?
There are three different types of stroke; known as
- Ischaemic stroke
- Haemorrhagic stroke
- Transient ischaemic attack (or TIA)
A stroke is a serious and life threating condition and should be treated as a medical emergency. Knowing the early warning signs of a stroke can be the difference between receiving prompt medical care and having the condition go unnoticed.
The most common symptoms are described using the word FAST:
- Facial weakness: Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
- Arm weakness: Can the person raise both arms?
- Speech problems: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
- Time to call 999: if you see any of these signs.
Other symptoms include:
- Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body, including legs, hands or feet.
- Difficulty finding words or speaking in clear sentences.
- Sudden blurred vision or loss of sight in one or both eyes.
- Sudden memory loss or confusion, and dizziness or a sudden fall.
- A sudden, severe headache.
Stroke claims and medical negligence
Medical negligence occurs when medical professionals provide a substandard level of care. In cases of stroke, it may be that a health professional failed to recognise the warning signs of a stroke or there was a failure in treating it promptly.
An effective treatment for stroke is thrombolysis, commonly known as “clot-busting” medication. However, there is a very short window for this to be given. Thrombolysis needs to be given within no more than 4.5 hours of the stroke occurring.
Therefore, all medical professionals need to know the signs of a stroke and how to act correctly at the earliest opportunity.
Common types of stroke claims:
- Misdiagnosis of a stroke
- Missed symptoms or misdiagnosis of stroke symptoms
- Delayed or negligent treatment of a stroke
- Incorrect treatment of high blood pressure
- Surgical errors
- Inappropriate aftercare of a stroke
Is there a time limit for stroke claims?
A claim for negligence must be made within three years of the date (“date of knowledge”) on which the affected person became aware (or ought reasonably to have become aware) that he or she suffered as a result of the health professional’s acts or omissions.
The date of knowledge is not the date on which the injury occurred unless you knew or ought to have known about it at that time. Sometimes people do find out that a mistake has been made straight away, but sometimes it can actually be a matter of months, even years, before he or she realises something has gone wrong.
If you or the person the mistake happened to is, or was under the age of 18 at the time the incident occurred, then the time limit is three years from the date of their 18th birthday (i.e. their 21st birthday).
If the affected person does not have the mental capacity, there can be no time limit, unless the person regains capacity. Often a brain injury will cause someone to lack capacity, so it is fairly common in these cases for the time limit not to apply. It is crucial to seek legal advice on this.