What Are The Main Causes of Medication Errors and When Can I Claim For Them?

This guide will explore the causes of medication errors and when you might be eligible to seek compensation for harm caused by an error with your medication.

causes of medication errors

A guide on the causes of medication errors

Medically trained professionals owe a duty of care to the people they treat. In some cases, your condition could worsen whilst under the supervision of a medical professional.

However, not every scenario may lead to a medical negligence claim. If the medical professional upheld the duty of care they owed you and you still experienced harm, you may not be able to claim. We will explore the criteria your claim must meet in further detail throughout our guide. 

Additionally, we will look at the duty of care you’re owed by a medical professional. We will also examine what a medication error is and the impact they could have on your life.

Furthermore, we will look at the compensation you could receive if you have been subject to hospital negligence or negligence in another medical setting. 

Please continue reading for more information. Alternatively, you can speak with an advisor. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help. To get in touch: 

  • Call the number above 
  • Contact us online
  • Use our live chat feature below

Choose A Section

  1. What Is A Medication Error?
  2. The Main Causes Of Medication Errors
  3. The Importance Of Duty of Care In A Medical Negligence Claim
  4. What Evidence Could You Use To Support A Medication Errors Claim?
  5. What Potential Compensation Could You Receive In A Medication Error Claim?
  6. No Win No Fee Solicitors – What Are The Benefits?
  7. Learn More About The Causes Of Medication Errors

What Is A Medication Error?

As per the NHS, a medication error is an error while the medication is being prescribed, prepared, dispensed, administered or monitored. This also includes when a medical professional provides the wrong information on a drug which leads to it being incorrectly used. 

A medical professional has a duty of care to provide you with the correct standard of care. If you experience unnecessary harm due to a medical professional, such as a doctor or nurse, failing to provide care that meets the correct standard, this is known as medical negligence.

In order to seek compensation, you must demonstrate that medical negligence caused you harm. The harm you sustain could impact your life in different ways, including physically, psychologically and financially. However, the impact on your life will be considered when determining the compensation you may get. 

For more information, call us on the number above. Alternatively, continue reading to learn about the different causes of medication errors.

The Main Causes of Medication Errors

There are many causes and many types of medication errors. For instance:

  • Wrong medication: You are prescribed the wrong medication which does not treat your injury or illness. Additionally, you experience complications from taking a medication that isn’t suitable for your condition.
  • Drug interaction: Your doctor might not check your medical notes before prescribing you medication. Consequently, you are given a drug that reacts badly with another medication you are currently taking.
  • Wrong prescription: A pharmacist may incorrectly process your prescription. Subsequently, you are given somebody else’s medication. 
  • Wrong dosage: A doctor administers you the wrong dosage of medication. As a result, you experience complications from an overdose.

Dispensing Errors – What Are The Main Causes Of Them?

Dispensing errors are slightly different to medication errors. It is commonly known as a discrepancy between a prescription and the medicine that the pharmacy delivers to the patient. Examples include:

  • The pharmacist might misread the label on the prescription, resulting in you receiving the wrong medication.
  • You may be given a dosage that is too high.
  • You may receive someone else’s prescription.

If you would like more information on the potential causes of medication errors, such as a dispensing or prescription error, and the impact they may have on you, get in touch with a member of our team.

The Importance of Duty of Care In A Medical Negligence Claim

There are many environments in which you might experience harm as a result of a medication error. For example, you could experience harm due to hospital medication errors, errors in a pharmacy or a doctor’s surgery. 

However, in order to seek medical negligence compensation, you must prove:

  • You were owed a duty of care 
  • The duty of care was breached
  • The breach caused harm.

Additionally, the Bolam test may be considered when determining whether the correct level of care was provided. This is carried out by a panel of relevantly trained medical professionals. The findings from their assessment could be used as evidence to support your claim.

To find out more about other evidence you could gather to support your claim, read on. Alternatively, call us to discuss the different causes of medication errors and whether you’re eligible to seek compensation.

What Evidence Could You Use To Support A Medication Errors Claim?

The evidence you could gather to support your medication errors claim could include:

  • A copy of previous prescriptions 
  • Medical records, such as doctor reports or hospital reports
  • Correspondence about a medication error report

As well as gathering evidence, you should seek legal advice. One of our advisors may be able to help provide further detail on the evidence you can gather to strengthen your case. They may also connect you with a solicitor from our panel to represent your claim on a No Win No Fee basis.

What Potential Compensation Could You Receive In A Medication Error Claim?

You might be wondering, “how much compensation for a wrong medication claim?”. If your medication errors claim succeeds, your compensation could comprise two heads of claim. Firstly, you could receive general damages for the pain and suffering caused by the harm you sustained due to medical negligence.

We have compiled figures from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG), a document that legal professionals use to help them when valuing this head of claim.

Despite these figures being taken from previous court settlements, they should only be used as a rough guideline. This is because every medical negligence claim is unique, and the payout you may receive could be different. 

Type of HarmGuideline Compensation Bracket Details
Kidney £169,400 to £210,400(a) Both kidneys are lost or seriously and permanently damaged.
Kidney Up to £63,980(b) Significant risk of a urinary tract infection or other loss of natural kidney function.
Bladder Up to £184,200(a) Cases in this bracket include a complete loss of natural bowel and urinary function as well as control. Other complications are also present.
Bowels Up to £184,200
(a) Complete loss of natural bowel function as well as complete loss of urinary function and control.
Bowels Up to £150,110(b) Total loss of natural function and reliance on a colostomy.
Digestive system £38,430 to £52,500
(b) Damage resulting from a non-traumatic injury (i) The person will experience toxicosis of a severe nature leading to a number of symptoms such as acute pain and vomiting.
Digestive system £9,540 to £19,200
(b) Damage resulting from non-traumatic injury (ii) The person will have discomfort and disturbance of bowel function for a period of time.
Male reproductive system£56,080 to £71,350
(d) A case of sterility which is uncomplicated in nature and doesn't cause any aggravating features.
Female reproductive systemIn the region of £10,200
(g) Sterilisation has failed and caused an unwanted pregnancy. However, there is no serious psychological affect.
Spleen£20,800 to £26,290(a) The spleen is lost and there is an ongoing risk of internal infection and other disorders due to a damaged immune system.

What Else Could You Claim For In A Medical Negligence Claim?

You could also be awarded special damages as part of your settlement. This head of claim looks to reimburse you for any financial losses sustained due to the harm you experienced as a result of medical negligence. For instance: 

  • Travel costs 
  • Medical expenses 
  • Care costs 
  • Loss of pay 

You must provide evidence of any monetary losses, such as payslips, receipts or bank statements.

No Win No Fee Solicitors – What Are The Benefits?

A No Win No Fee method, such as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), allows you to access the services your solicitor provides without paying upfront. You also don’t need to pay for their services should your claim fail.

Although, if your case is won, you will have to pay your solicitor a success fee. This is legally capped and will be deducted from your compensation.

Find out if you are eligible to be represented on a No Win No Fee basis by getting in touch with one of our advisors. If you are, they may connect you with one of the medical negligence solicitors from our panel. 

Contact Us Today For A Free Consultation

We hope this guide exploring the different causes of medication errors and when you might be eligible to claim has helped. However, if you need any other information or would like to discuss your potential claim, you can contact our team of advisors.

To get in touch: 

  • Call the number at the top of the page
  • Contact us online 
  • Speak to an advisor via our live chat

Learn More About The Causes Of Medication Errors

Here we have included some additional reading that you might find helpful when considering making a medical negligence claim:

Furthermore, we have provided you with some of our own guides relative to medical negligence claims: 

Thank you for reading this guide on the causes of medication errors. For more information, get in touch on the number above.

Writer Beck Pilling

Editor Meg Macho