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What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects how the body turns food into energy. Most of the food we eat is broken down into sugar (glucose) and then released into the bloodstream. 

Normally, when the level of sugar in the blood increases, the pancreas releases a chemical called insulin. This enables the body's cells to convert the blood sugar into energy. Blood sugar is the main fuel source for the brain.

If you have diabetes, your body either doesn't make sufficient insulin or can't properly use the insulin that it does make. This causes too much sugar to stay in your bloodstream. 

Over a period of time, this imbalance can cause serious health problems like heart disease, kidney disease, vision loss and circulatory issues that can lead to lower limb amputation.

What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes, as the name suggests, indicates that the risk of developing diabetes has increased. It's where tests show somebody has blood sugar levels that are above the normal range, but not high enough to be classed as diabetes.

It's really important to catch diabetes early as it will get progressively worse if untreated.

Can I make a claim for diabetes compensation?

Yes, you may be able to make a no win no fee claim for diabetes compensation if your condition has been poorly treated, delayed or misdiagnosed. This is called medical negligence. It's where a medical professional's negligent action or lack of action causes you harm or worsens an existing condition you have.

Did you know?

Around 4.7 million people in the UK suffer from one or another type of diabetes today. This number is expected to rise to 5.3 million people by 2030. It's estimated that 10% of people over 40 suffer from diabetes Type 2.

Source: Diabetes UK - February 2021

What type of care failures can provide grounds for a diabetes medical negligence claim?

You may be eligible to make a diabetes compensation claim through medical negligence in the following situations:

  • Failure to diagnose your diabetes - this is called a missed diagnosis.
  • Misdiagnosis of diabetes as another condition with incorrect treatment (or no treatment) being given.
  • Misprescribing the wrong type of medication for your diabetes.
  • Causing it to develop or worsen because of avoidably late diagnosis or delayed treatment.

Two of the main types of medical negligence which can cause complications for diabetes sufferers are delayed diagnosis and misdiagnosis.

If you're clearly at risk of diabetes, doctors should closely monitor you to make sure the condition doesn't develop. And once your condition has been diagnosed, you should have regular check-ups with a doctor to make sure you don't need any prescription changes and that your treatment is going to plan.

With diabetes, it's very important that you're diagnosed as quickly as possible so that treatment can start - if left untreated, it could lead to amputation or can even be fatal.

Delayed diagnosis can often happen due to poor communication between your GP and the hospital, or your GP might fail to refer you in the first place. In some rare cases, your diabetes might have gone completely unnoticed by a doctor.

Diabetes is a serious condition and it can be very difficult to come to terms with a diagnosis. At such a stressful time, the last thing you expect is for a doctor or hospital to cause your condition to get worse.

While most medical staff work to a very high standard, sometimes mistakes and negligence do still happen and it's unfair that you should be left to deal with the consequences.

If you've received poor treatment or delayed diagnosis for diabetes and it's made your condition worse, then we may be able to help you make a compensation claim so you can get the support you need.

You can get in touch with us for free, impartial advice on . We're here to answer your questions and can help you understand whether we think you have a claim, but we'll never pressure you into taking the next steps.

What are the types of diabetes?

All types of diabetes can have serious complications if not treated properly or diagnosed quickly. With any type of diabetes, it's important that you're closely monitored by doctors so that they can keep the risk as low as possible.


Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is the most serious kind and is present from birth. It's unclear what causes this type of diabetes, but people with a family member who also have diabetes are at higher risk.

People who have type 1 diabetes need medication to keep their blood sugar levels under control - this can include daily insulin injections.

Type 2 diabetes

Unlike Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes is often caused by lifestyle factors such as overeating and obesity, but can also be affected by family history.

Some people with this type of diabetes can keep blood sugar levels under control through diet and exercise, but might also need medication and treatment.

Gestational diabetes

During pregnancy, women are at risk of developing gestational diabetes - lifestyle factors and family history put you at higher risk. If you have one or more ‘risk factors', your doctor should give you a screening.

Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of gestational diabetes can cause complications for the mother as well as the baby. In some cases, it can even lead to premature birth, miscarriage or stillbirth.

If you've suffered misdiagnosis of Type 1, misdiagnosis of Type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes misdiagnosis, then we may be able to help you make a diabetes compensation claim. Contact us on and talk in confidence to one of our friendly, legally-trained advisors.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

These are the main symptoms of diabetes. If you experience any of them, visit your GP as soon as possible. They include:

  • Persistent thirst and urinating more frequently - particularly during the night.
  • Feeling really tired for no apparent reason.
  • Always feeling hungry even if eating well.
  • Feeling irritable and grumpy with no obvious cause.
  • Loss of muscle mass and weight loss for no clear reason.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Cuts and wounds that take a long time to heal.
  • Frequent infections to the gums, skin or genitalia.

Type 1 diabetes can develop quickly in weeks, sometimes just days. Conversely, people can suffer Type 2 diabetes for years without realising it as the early symptoms are general and can be difficult to pin down.

If you've developed diabetes - or think negligent medical care has made your condition worse - then contact us for confidential advice on . You may be eligible to make a claim for diabetes compensation.

What are the common causes of diabetes?

Many factors can cause diabetes - it's a disease that comes with few hard and fast rules. Things like genetic makeup, family history, ethnicity, general health and living environment can all contribute. In fact, there's no single universal cause of diabetes that fits all cases.

Type 1 diabetes: is caused by the immune system destroying the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. It's an autoimmune reaction where the body actually attacks itself. Diabetes results as the body has insufficient insulin to function normally.

This reaction can be triggered by several things that include:

  • Bacterial or viral infection
  • Chemical toxins in food
  • An underlying genetic disposition to Type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes: usually has multiple causes and often it's down to a family history of the type. Other factors that can increase the chances of triggering Type 2 diabetes include: 

  • Obesity.
  • Living a sedentary, low-exercise lifestyle.
  • Increasing age.
  • Poor diet.
  • High blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Illness or pregnancy can also be a cause of Type 2 diabetes. 

Gestational diabetes: the causes of gestational diabetes in pregnancy are still unknown. However, there are a number of risk factors that increase the chances of developing this condition:

  • Family history of gestational diabetes.
  • Being overweight or obese.
  • Suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome.
  • Having already had a large baby over 9lb at birth.

Causes of gestational diabetes may also be related to ethnicity, placing some groups at a naturally higher risk than others.

Other types of diabetes

There are other variants of diabetes and causes. They include:

Pancreatitis: this condition can increase the risk of diabetes as can the removal of part or the whole of the pancreas (called a pancreatectomy).

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): an obesity-linked resistance to insulin. It may also increase the risk of prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes.

Cushing's syndrome:  this is where the body increases production of the hormone cortisol. This in turns increases blood sugar levels which can trigger diabetes.

Glucagonoma: where an imbalance between insulin levels and pancreatic production of the hormone glucagon triggers diabetes.

Steroid induced diabetes: this is very rare but can occur after prolonged use of glucocorticoid therapy.

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What are the potential medical complications of diabetes?

Visual impairment: diabetes can cause damage to blood vessels in the retina (called diabetic retinopathy). This can cause blindness and other eye problems like glaucoma and cataracts.

Nerve damage: an excess of blood sugar can damage the walls of the capillary blood vessels that feed the nerves. This affects the limbs and can include numbness, tingling or a burning sensation in the toes or fingers. 

Untreated, this can lead a complete loss of feeling in the areas affected as well as causing problems with digestion.

Kidney failure: the kidneys contain millions of tiny blood vessels that ‘clean' the blood. Diabetes causes damage to this system which can lead to kidney failure, dialysis or a complex kidney transplant.

Heart problems and stroke: diabetes dramatically increases the risk of cardiovascular problems such as coronary artery disease, angina (chest pain), heart attack, stroke and atherosclerosis where the arteries narrow, affecting circulation.  

Brain damage: while studies into this area are still developing, an excess of blood sugar is also believed to damage the brain in a way that affects thinking and memory. There is some evidence to suggest that Type 2 diabetes and poor sugar control in the body can increase dementia risk, with conditions such as Alzheimer's. 

Amputation: nerve damage or poor circulation can cause complications in the legs and feet. Cuts and infections take a long time to heal or don't heal properly. The damage can become such that amputation of the toe, foot or leg is needed.  

Pregnancy complications: both diabetes and gestational diabetes can lead to premature labour and tragically, stillbirth. There is some evidence to suggest that this can create a higher risk of diabetes in later life for the baby.

Diabetes can limit your ability to work and do all those normal family and social things you would normally take for granted.

If your diabetes was made worse by medical negligence then you may be eligible to make a diabetes compensation claim. Contact us for free, confidential and impartial advice and tell us what you've been through on . Alternatively, fill in our secure online form to arrange a call back from us at a time that best suits you. 

How do I know if I could make a diabetes compensation claim?

We know it can be difficult to tell whether you could make a diabetes claim.

We can usually help you if you received poor medical treatment which caused your condition to get worse. In most cases, it needs to have been three years or less since you first realised you were affected by negligent treatment.

Our legally trained advisors are here to help you understand whether you can make a claim - you can speak to us free and confidentially on . We'll listen to everything you say, and can pass you on to one of our specialist solicitors if you decide you'd like to go ahead.

Can I make a diabetes compensation claim for a loved one who died of diabetes following medical negligence?

It's a terrible situation to be in and we understand that nothing can replace the loss that you've suffered. As a family member, you may be able to claim for diabetes medical negligence. Find out more about compensation after a fatality.

Sometimes a loved one may have suffered a severe case of diabetes that results in irreparable physical harm - for instance involving brain damage. If this means they cannot make a diabetes compensation claim themselves, then you can on their behalf as a ‘litigation friend'.

As well as the cost of prescriptions, time off work, private treatment, travel and accommodation, our solicitors will also take the emotional impacts of your condition into consideration. For example, they'll include:

  • Any hobbies or social activities you've missed out on.
  • The effect it's had on your family and loved ones.
  • Your mental wellbeing and health.

We'll also usually be able to make your claim on a no win no fee basis, which means you won't pay any solicitors' fees if your claim isn't successful.

Contact us for free, impartial advice on or fill in our secure online form to arrange a call back from us at a time that suits you. We'll never rush or pressure you into making a claim - we're here to help you understand whether you could make a diabetes compensation claim and to answer the many questions you'll likely have.

Julie, Katie's mum, contacted us about Katie's medical negligence case. Katie's appendix had burst and had gone unnoticed. Fearing long-term consequences, Julie and Katie contacted us to help make it right.

Katie's medical negligence story

Julie, Katie's mum, contacted us about Katie's medical negligence case. Katie's appendix had burst and had gone unnoticed. Fearing long-term consequences, Julie and Katie contacted us to help make it right.

Diabetes compensation claims: how do I begin one?

If you're unsure whether you could make a diabetes medical negligence claim, contact us free on . Our legally trained advisors will listen carefully to what you've been through and will let you know if you may be eligible to make a claim.

We're here to help you and offer advice. We'll never rush or pressure you into claiming - it's always your decision. If you do decide you'd like to go ahead, we'll put you in touch with one of our law firms specialising in medical negligence. We take the strain out of finding the right no win no fee solicitor so that you can focus on recovery.

Your diabetes compensation solicitor will look after your claim every step of the way. We analyse service standards carefully to make sure you receive the best possible legal care in a diabetes claim. They'll keep you updated and will answer any questions about your diabetes claim that you may have.

To find out how a compensation claim works, visit our information about the claims process.

What's usually included in a successful diabetes compensation claim?

Everyone has the right to feel that they're in safe hands when they visit a doctor or hospital - especially when it comes to properly diagnosing and treating a serious condition like diabetes.

Compensation can help you get the money you need to cover the costs your condition has caused so far, as well as the effects it will have on your life in the future.

However, no two diabetes compensation claims are the same because circumstances and the harm caused can vary widely. This means that successful diabetes compensation amounts vary too. We look at every diabetes medical negligence claim on a case-by-case basis so we can understand exactly what has happened and whether you may be eligible.

Because of this, we can't tell you how much a diabetes compensation claim might be worth at the start. Your solicitor will investigate every effect diabetes medical negligence has had on your life when building your diabetes compensation claim.

For example, your solicitor will assess:

  • The costs of medical treatment costs and adaptations you've needed at home.
  • Any care you've received, even if given freely by family or friends.
  • Lost income  from time off work as well as the impact on your ability to earn in the future.
  • The effect diabetes has had on your social life and hobbies.
  • The wider effects on your family.

No diabetes compensation claim can fix what you've suffered. What it can do is help you start getting your life back to normal and ensure you have all that you need.

What are the time limits for making a diabetes compensation claim?

To qualify for making a no win no fee diabetes compensation claim, you must have suffered the effects of medical negligence within the last three years. The negligence involved must also have been all or partially the fault of a medical professional.

  • If you were 18 or over when the symptoms occurred, you have three years to make diabetes claims from when the symptoms became apparent or the date of diagnosis. 
  • If you were under 18 at the time and no claim was made, you have three years from your 18th until your 21st birthday to claim.

There are exceptions to the three-year limitation, for instance if the victim experienced such severe side-effects they can't make the claim themselves. This also applies if they lack the psychological capability to do so, either as a result of the diabetes or a pre-existing disability.

If you've got any questions about making a no win no fee diabetes compensation claim, contact us for free and impartial advice on . We'll listen to what you've been through and let you know if we think you could make a no win no fee claim

Alternatively, try our eligibility verifier which asks some simple questions about what happened and will let you know whether we think you may have grounds to make a diabetes compensation claim.

What is the average payout in a diabetes compensation claim?

It's difficult to estimate what your diabetes compensation claim may be worth before your lawyer has thoroughly investigated the circumstances. Diabetes medical negligence can have serious side effects on your brain, organs and how your body functions.

The Judicial College is the government department in the Ministry of Justice responsible for setting the guideline general damages amounts for all personal injury types. Included are the types of damage caused by diabetes medical negligence

General damages cover pain, suffering and loss of everyday amenity. Solicitors also calculate special damages. These are the financial losses you've experienced as a direct result of your injury. They are awarded in addition to general damages. 

Because diabetes medical negligence can mean serious and long-term consequences such as amputation, compensation for general damages can be significant. 

For instance, the loss of a leg below the knee in diabetic amputation claims attracts general damages between £91,950 to £124,800. In diabetes medical negligence claims involving serious and permanent damage to - or loss of - both kidneys, general damages alone range from £158,970 to £197,480.

You may have suffered financial losses, for instance while unable to work normally during your recovery. Diabetes compensation will also include expenses like these if your claim succeeds. Your specialist lawyer will value your claim in detail and explain everything to you clearly.

Frequently asked questions...

Every case we work with is different, which makes it hard for us to say how long your compensation claim might take.

In simpler cases, where fault is clear and undeniable the claim may be settled quickly. However, if you’ve suffered a serious or life-changing injury, then your compensation claim may take longer because we need to understand the full impact of your injury and make sure your costs are covered.

Our solicitors will stay in touch and keep you informed every step of the way, so that you always know what stage your claim is at.

Yes you can - all the solicitors we work with, including our own legal firm National Accident Law - are able to handle injury compensation claims under no win no fee terms. This means that if your claim fails, you pay nothing and ensures that making a claim is risk-free.

Yes - if you've suffered from medical negligence while using the NHS in the last three years, then we may be able to help you make a compensation claim. Our medical negligence solicitors are experienced at handling medical negligence NHS claims and can take you through the process step by step, keeping things as simple and stress-free as possible. 

Contact us first on . Share your experience and we’ll check your grounds to make a medical negligence compensation claim. If you want to proceed, we’ll then connect you with one of our specialist solicitors.

Recovering from diabetes medical negligence like diabetes misdiagnosis can be expensive, and we know how important it is for you to get support to cover the costs.

We don't think it's fair for you to be left under financial pressure when someone else was responsible for what happened. 

Speak to us for free, impartial advice on or fill in our secure online form. We'll be happy to answer your diabetes claims questions and can help you understand whether you could make a diabetes compensation claim.

If you'd like to find out more about all the different legal stages of a compensation claim, please visit our claims process page.

How do I pay for a diabetes compensation claim?

You do this with a no win no fee arrangement, also known as a conditional fee agreement. It's the contract between you and your lawyer.

There are no upfront costs or hidden charges but if you win your diabetes medical negligence claim, you'll be asked to pay any costs and expenses, not paid for by the other side, out of your compensation. This is likely to happen in most cases, as the other side is only required to make a contribution to your legal fees.

These costs will only be deducted when your compensation is paid, and may include: 

  • A ‘success fee' which compensates the solicitor for the risk they take, as if your claim is unsuccessful they won't be paid at all.
  • Any other legal costs or expenses not recovered from the other side, such as the costs of any legal expense insurance.

When you start your diabetes compensation claim, your solicitor will take out legal insurance protection on your behalf. This is sometimes called ATE (After The Event) insurance. If your claim is unsuccessful, then the other party's costs will be paid out of this insurance. 

If you don't receive any compensation, then you won't have to pay for the insurance. If your claim is successful, then it'll be paid out of your compensation as part of the fees.

Your solicitor will discuss this with you at the start, so you'll know what to expect when your claim settles. If you don't win your no win no fee claim, you pay nothing to anyone.

When you're looking for a personal injury company to help you make your claim, you might be worried about the credibility of the solicitors you'll work with. With us, you're in safe, trusted and proven hands.

We work with a national panel of no win no fee personal injury solicitors who we select carefully based on their skills. This ensures you get the legal representation you need for the best chance of making a successful diabetes compensation claim.

To find out whether you could make a diabetes medical negligence claim, or for advice and answers to your questions, contact us free on to talk to one of our friendly, legally-trained advisors in total confidence.

About National Accident Helpline

Compassionate and stress-free claims handling.
Compensation on a No Win No Fee basis means you'll never be out of pocket.
We've handled over 40,000 medical claims.
Trusted, friendly and confidential support when you really need it.

Is National Accident Helpline a claims management company?

No, we aren't. National Accident Helpline is an independent personal injury advice brand owned by legal practice National Accident Law. We are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), the independent professional ethics and standards regulator that licences all solicitors across England and Wales. Our SRA registration number is 655606.

Claims management companies are overseen by a different regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). CMCs do not have their own law practices. 

We advise on personal injury claims as part of National Accident Law. We also work with a national network of specialist law firms who we choose carefully and check closely to make sure you receive an outstanding customer experience.

Jacob Underwood is a Senior Litigator at our own legal practice, National Accident Law

Diabetes medical negligence claims can be complicated and there's no guarantee of recovery for the victim. It's a serious health complication that can have life-changing effects for everyone involved.

A good lawyer will always pay close attention to detail and the order of events to build the best case possible - in every case.

Jacob Underwood

Senior Litigator, National Accident Law