Medication Errors – Can I Claim Compensation?

By Stephen Parker. Last Updated 12th January 2023. Medication errors can lead to serious health issues that could greatly impact your quality of life. If you have recently suffered harm due to a medication error caused by negligence, you may be able to make a claim for compensation. This error could have occurred in a number of different settings, including in a pharmacy, GP surgery or a hospital.

medication errors

Medication errors claim guide

To help you determine whether you have a legitimate claim, in this guide we will discuss the duty of care medical professionals owe you and how this can be breached. Additionally, we will share statistics on how often this type of error can happen and look at how much compensation you could potentially receive in a successful claim.

Furthermore, you can speak to one of our friendly advisors for more guidance regarding your claim. Our team is here to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For free legal advice:

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  • Contact us online.
  • Communicate with an advisor on our live chat.

Choose A Section

  1. What are Medication Errors?
  2. Duty of Care – Why Is It Important in Medical Negligence Claims?
  3. Dispensing Errors – When Can I Claim?
  4. Prescription Errors – Settlements For A Prescription That Is Wrong In The UK
  5. Medication Errors – Top Tips When Claiming
  6. Why Use No Win No Fee Solicitors?
  7. Would You Like To Know More About Claiming For Medication Errors?

What are Medication Errors?

Medication errors are errors that relate to how medicine is prescribed, dispensed, administered, prepared or monitored.  A medication error could also occur if you’re told the wrong advice about your medication. It can include prescription errors and dispensing errors, amongst others. 

If your doctor were to give you the incorrect medication for your medical condition, it could lead to serious consequences that could impact your health and quality of life. Furthermore, it could mean that the condition you’re suffering from is not treated, allowing it to get worse. 

Errors relating to medicine can be reported. You should let the medical professional treating you know if you’re concerned about your reaction to a medication. Alternatively, you can report a medication error under the Yellow Card scheme.

However, to make a claim, you must prove that the error was due to your doctor’s negligence. We will expand on a doctor’s duty of care in the next section.

Duty of Care – Why Is It Important in Medical Negligence Claims?

All healthcare professionals owe their patients a duty of care. They must ensure that they provide their patients with the correct standard of care to avoid unnecessary harm. Furthermore, all medical practitioners must have the proper qualifications and receive the correct training in order to practice and dispense medicine in the UK. 

To make successful claims for medication errors, claimants must prove that a healthcare professional breached their duty of care to you. This means that they provided you with a level of care that did not meet the expected standard. 

In order to determine whether your level of care was acceptable or not, the Bolam Test might be used. This is where a panel of similarly trained medical professionals are asked whether the level of care was acceptable. If not, then you could be awarded compensation.

Finally, you must also ensure that your claim is within the time limit set out in the Limitation Act 1980. This is generally 3 years from the date of the incident. Exceptions can apply, however, and you can speak with an advisor to find out more. 

Dispensing Errors – When Can I Claim?

Not all instances of complications in medical care will form the basis of a valid compensation claim because not all will be caused by a breach of duty of care. For example, if you experienced a medical misdiagnosis because your condition was largely asymptomatic, then this may not be the grounds for a claim as your doctor might not be expected to make a diagnosis with the information they have.

You also need to have been caused harm by negligence in order to claim. For example, if you were told to take your medication with food instead of on an empty stomach, but this did not impact the effectiveness of the medication, then you may not be able to claim because you were not harmed. 

Below, we have included some examples of how unnecessary harm could occur in medical care:

  • You are given a medication you are allergic to. You have a reaction as a result.
  • Your doctor mixes up the name of your medicine with another one that sounds similar. As a result, you take a medication that gives you severe stomach cramps.
  • While giving birth, your epidural is incorrectly administered. As a result, you experience pain and suffering that you would not have experienced if it had been done correctly.

Medication Errors – How Often Do They Happen?

NHS Resolution reported that there were 1,420 claims relating to medication errors from 1st April 2015 – 31st March 2020. 487 of those claims were settled with damages paid.

Additionally, they reported that of the 321 claims that concerned one element of prescribing process, errors caused by administration happened the most frequently, with 146 occurrences. Furthermore, of those administration errors, 31 of those claims were patients being prescribed the wrong drug.

Prescription Errors – Settlements For A Prescription That Is Wrong In The UK

If you successfully make a medical negligence claim for errors with your prescription, you will be awarded general damages. These seek to provide you with compensation for the physical and mental injuries that have affected you due to the medical negligence that you’re claiming for. Each medical negligence claim is treated on a case-by-case basis, and the final compensation payments for medical mistakes will vary.

To help provide some guidance for those seeking examples of settlements in the UK for wrong prescription errors, we have provided a table of compensation brackets just below. These brackets are based on the latest update of the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG), which include compensation amounts awarded for past claims. Solicitors may use these guidelines when supporting a medical negligence claim to help calculate the value of a claimant’s injuries.

Epilepsy(b) - How the condition affects the person’s social life and whether it can be controlled by medication will affect how much is awarded.£54,830 - £131,370
Epilepsy(c ) - Temporary epileptic episodes, that can affect activities and social life.£10,640 - £26,290
Injuries Affecting Sight(c ) (ii) - Loss of sight in one eye and the other eye has reduced vision.£63,950 - £105,990
Injuries Affecting Sight(g) - Slight but permanent impairment to vision in one/both eyes. May also cause double vision.£9,110 - £20,980
Reproductive System: Female(c ) - Experiences infertility but with no sexual dysfunction. This bracket is applicable to a young person.£56,080 - £71,350
Psychological harm (general) (b) - Issues with various factors, but there’s a better prognosis.£19,070 - £54,830
Psychological harm (general) (d) - How long the suffering lasted will affect how much can be awarded.£1,540 - £5,860
Deafness/Tinnitus(d) (i) - Slight hearing loss with severe tinnitus.£29,710 - £45,540
Deafness/Tinnitus(d) (iv) - Slight hearing loss with some occasional tinnitus.£7,360 - £12,590
Reproductive System: Male(e) - Can be applied to someone who has children but intended to have more but no longer has the option.£17,960 - £36,740

What Other Losses Could You Claim For?

You may also be awarded special damages as part of your settlement. These seek to provide compensation for the financial losses accrued as a result of the medication error.

For example, this could include:

  • Loss of earnings
  • The cost of medical care
  • Travel expenses to and from medical appointments that you need to attend because of the unnecessary harm you were caused

It’s a good idea to collect evidence in support of your claim, including of the special damages head. For example, you could request taxi receipts to show the amount that you have spent on travel or bank statements or invoices to demonstrate the cost of medical care.

To find out more about what can be awarded in claims for medication errors caused by negligence, speak with an advisor today.

Medication Errors – Top Tips When Claiming

Evidence is an important factor in a compensation claim. There are several pieces of evidence you could provide. For example: 

  • Medical records. These may show when the medication error occurred, as well as any additional treatment you needed as a result. 
  • Witness contact details. If someone else, for example, another member of staff, saw the negligence take place, then they could provide a statement confirming this.
  • A symptoms diary. This could show how your condition progresses and the impact it has had on you.

Medication errors can result in serious consequences. You may also want to receive some legal advice on what steps you could take next; you can get this from an advisor on our team.

Why Use No Win No Fee Solicitors?

You may want to consider a Conditional Fee Agreement when pursuing your claim. This is a form of No Win No Fee agreement and has many benefits.

Under this agreement, there are no upfront solicitor costs to start your claim. If your case is successful, then a legally capped percentage of your settlement will be deducted. This is known as a success fee, and the amount they can take is capped by law.

If you aren’t awarded compensation, then you will not have to pay your lawyer for their services. Conditional Fee Agreements can be a more affordable way of funding the work of a lawyer compared to paying upfront.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation Today

If you are still wondering whether you can claim for medication errors, speak to our team today for more information. They are available to help 7 days a week.

For free legal advice:

  • Call the number above 
  • Contact us online
  • Communicate with an advisor through live chat

Would You Like To Know More About Claiming For Medication Errors?

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Contact our team today to find out more about the medication errors claim process.

Writer Megan Rilling

Publisher Fern Smith