Last updated on August 8th, 2022 at 10:33 am
If you’re ill, medication might be used to cure your symptoms or to manage your pain. However, if the wrong medication is prescribed or dispensed and you could suffer an adverse drug reaction. If that happens, you may be entitled to compensation for any suffering linked to an error with your prescription. In this article, we’ll look at when prescription error claims might be possible, the way the claims process works and what you could receive compensation for.
ClaimsAction.co.uk can help if you want to begin a claim. We provide a free initial consultation where you’re able to ask as many questions as necessary. During your call, free legal advice will be provided and your options will be explained. If it appears that your claim is strong enough, we could refer you to a medical negligence lawyer on our panel. Importantly, you won’t have to pay their legal fees unless you’re compensated as all accepted claims are handled on a No Win, No Fee basis.
Please continue reading to learn more about prescription error compensation claims. Alternatively, call us on 0800 652 1345 today to discuss your case with a specialist advisor.
Can I claim compensation for a prescription error?
Before we look at the harm prescription errors can cause, we should explain the eligibility criteria for prescription error claims. Before agreeing to represent you, a medical negligence solicitor will try to verify that:
- A prescription error has occurred; because
- A medical professional failed to provide a level of care that could be reasonably expected of them (negligence); and
- You were made ill or your existing condition was made worse as a result of the negligence (causation).
It’s important to reiterate that claims are only possible if both negligence and causation can be proved. As such, a claim wouldn’t realistically be possible if you were given somebody else’s prescription, for example, but the mistake didn’t cause you to suffer in any way.
If you would like to check whether you’re eligible to begin a prescription error claim, please call our team today.
Types of prescription errors that might lead to compensation being paid
Let’s now take a look at the types of prescription errors that could lead to a compensation claim for medical negligence. They include:
- Where the wrong medication is dispensed by a pharmacy because it looked similar or had a similar name to your prescribed medication – see our wrong medication claims page.
- If a misdiagnosis by a doctor means the wrong medication is prescribed.
- If you’re given somebody else’s prescription due to a lack of proper checks by a pharmacy technician – See our pharmacy negligence claims page.
- Where the wrong dosage of medication is dispensed or prescribed because the prescription was difficult to read.
- Where you suffer an allergic reaction because you’re prescribed a drug that you’re known to be allergic to – See our medication allergic reaction compensation claims page.
- If your prescription contained incorrect instructions on how to take the medication.
- Where your prescription contains drugs that interfere with other prescribed medications.
- If care home resident (for example) is given their medication at the wrong time – see our care home negligence claims page.
As you can see, there are many different types of prescription errors that could cause a patient to suffer. Even if we’ve not described the scenario that has affected you, please call if you believe you should be compensated.
Suffering caused by prescription errors and negligence
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) tracks serious Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) caused by prescription errors (and other forms of negligence). They define serious ADRs as those that are:
- Resulting in prolonged hospitalisation.
- Resulting in congenital abnormalities.
If you’ve suffered because of a prescription error, you could be compensated whether your reaction to the drug was serious or not. As such, prescription error claims could be based on:
- Headaches or nausea.
- Damage to your organs such as your liver, bowel or kidneys.
- Anaphylactic shock if you suffer an allergic reaction.
- If your underlying illness gets worse because it’s not being treated with the correct drug.
- Emotional or psychological suffering such as distress or anxiety.
While some prescription errors will cause mild symptoms that last a few days or weeks, others can be much more serious. In the worst cases, being prescribed the wrong medication can be life-changing or even fatal.
How much compensation for a prescription error can I claim?
If you make a medical negligence claim for a prescription error, there are a lot of factors that will contribute to your settlement figure. Each claim is unique but, depending on how you’ve suffered, you could claim compensation to cover:
- Any physical pain and suffering resulting from a prescription error.
- Any mental suffering caused by distress (fear for your life etc) or anxiety.
- Loss of income if the prescription error meant you had unpaid time off work.
- Modifications to your home to help you cope with any permanent disability resulting from the prescription error.
- Care costs to cover the time a professional carer or family member spent helping you with your normal daily activities.
- Medical expenses including, in some cases, treatment in a private hospital.
- Travel costs linked to your claim or treatment.
- Future loss of earnings if you’ll income will be reduced by your injuries in the long term.
We believe that you’ll have a better chance of being compensated properly for your suffering if you have legal representation. Our panel of medical negligence solicitors can help you to make prescription error claims against the NHS or private medical providers. In all cases, they’ll try to ensure that you are paid the maximum compensation possible for your suffering.
Medical assessments for prescription error compensation claims
The main factor used to determine your compensation amount is the severity of any illness and the impact on your future life caused by the prescription error. To help determine your prognosis, you’ll need a medical assessment as part of the claims process. This will be conducted by an independent medical expert.
During their review, they’ll look at your medical records and discuss how you’ve been affected. After they have finished, they’ll write a report containing their findings and send it to both parties involved in the claim.
Claiming for prescription error compensation on behalf of somebody else
In some cases, claimants might not have the capacity to claim compensation for a prescription error themselves. This could include care home patients or elderly people who have been affected by a prescription error. In these cases, you could apply to become the claimant’s litigation friend.
Our panel of solicitors can help with the process of getting you approved as a litigation friend. Once the paperwork has been completed, you’d liaise with the solicitor on behalf of the claimant in the normal way.
Fatal prescription errors
If you’ve lost a loved one who died because of a prescription error, we realise that no amount of compensation will make things better. However, you may wish to pursue a medical negligence claim to help with the financial impact of their loss.
As well as claiming compensation for the fact that your loved one suffered, you could also be compensated if you were financially dependent on their income, pension or other benefits. You may also be entitled to a bereavement award.
We realise how difficult it will be to discuss your claim so our advisors will always be compassionate and work at a speed that suits you. Please call today if you wish to ask any questions.
Providing proof for a prescription error negligence claim
Medical negligence claims against the NHS are dealt with by NHS Resolution whereas private healthcare provider claims are managed by insurance companies. In both cases, you’ll want to supply as much proof as possible to prove how you’ve suffered because of a prescription error.
The types of proof that can be very useful include:
- Medical records. Your hospital or GP notes can be requested by your solicitor at any point during your prescription claim. They can be used to check your initial diagnosis, the prescription that was made and the level of suffering you’ve endured.
- Witness details. In some cases, your solicitor could ask your loved ones or friends to provide a statement to describe how you’ve been affected by the prescription error.
- Financial records. It is a good idea to keep a tally of how much money you’ve spent or lost as a result of medical negligence. You should retain receipts, bank statements and any other relevant documents.
- Correspondence. If you complained to the NHS about your prescription error, you should give your solicitor a copy of any response you received.
- Medication packaging. Medication bottles, boxes, bags or packets should be kept where possible. They could be important evidence in your claim as they could be used to prove the wrong medication was given or the instructions provided were incorrect.
- A copy of your prescription. If you still have a copy, you should give your solicitor your original prescription. They’ll be able to check it for errors and compare it to the one filed in your medical records.
If you’d like us to help you obtain proof to support a prescription error claim, please call one of our specialists today.
Prescription error claims time limits
In the UK, all compensation claims have time limits. For medical negligence and prescription error claims, there is a 3 year limitation period. This will begin from:
- The date your prescription error occurred; or
- The date a doctor diagnosed your illness and linked it to a prescription error.
Importantly, the time limit does not apply to children under 18 years old or claimants who don’t have the mental capacity to claim themselves. In these cases, claims can be made at any time and the 3-year time limit will only apply once the child turns 18 or the claimant regains their mental capacity.
The time taken to process a prescription error claim will vary. For claims where minor injuries were sustained and liability for the incident was accepted early on, you could be awarded compensation in around 6 to 9 months. However, where the full impact of your suffering may not be known for some time, claims can take longer. Here, though, your solicitor could ask for interim payments to be made to help you financially until the claim has been finalised.
No Win, No Fee prescription error claims
You shouldn’t be put off from starting a claim because of the fear of paying legal fees. That’s because our team of specialist solicitors offers a No Win, No Fee service for all prescription error claims they take on.
If your claim is strong enough and a solicitor agrees to represent you, they’ll send you a No Win, No Fee agreement to sign. This will explain the work your solicitor will do and when you’ll need to pay them.
No Win, No Fee means that:
- Your solicitor will be able to begin working on your case without being paid upfront.
- There won’t be any legal fees to pay unless you are compensated.
- You’ll pay a success fee to cover your solicitor’s work if your claim is won.
The success fee is a percentage of any compensation you receive. It is legally capped and the fee you’ll pay will be listed in your agreement.
As part of a No Win, No Fee service, your solicitor will:
- Assess how you’ve suffered by reviewing your claim in detail.
- Arrange for an independent medical assessment to take place.
- File your claim with the defendant.
- Handle all communication with the defendant on your behalf.
- Try to ensure that any settlement offer is fair and fight for more compensation if it is not.
Please get in touch to find out if one of our solicitors could help you.
Start a prescription error claim today
If you’ve now decided it’s time to take action, call us on 0800 652 1345 to start the claims process. We’ll review your claim in detail, provide legal advice and explain your options for free.
Where possible, we’ll assign a medical negligence solicitor to your claim. They’ll represent you on a No Win, No Fee basis if your claim is taken on meaning no legal fees unless you receive compensation.
If you’ve got any further questions on prescription error claims, please call or use our live chat service to get in touch.