Medication is a key part of managing pain and helping patients to get better so it’s vital that the right drug is prescribed and dispensed when needed. If this doesn’t happen, and the wrong medication is given, it could lead to adverse drug reactions or could make the patient’s symptoms worse. If that’s happened to you or a loved one, you could be compensated for your suffering. In this article on wrong medication claims, we’ll look at how to start a claim, what’s involved in the claims process and how much compensation might be awarded.
Whether your wrong medication claim is against the NHS or a private healthcare provider, we’re here to help. We’ll start by offering a free consultation where you can ask any questions you have. You’ll also receive legal advice and your options will be explained. If possible, we’ll introduce you to a medical negligence lawyer from our panel who’ll represent you on a No Win, No Fee basis if your claim is accepted. Knowing you’ll only pay for their work if you receive compensation should make the claims process much less stressful.
Please read on to learn about claiming for suffering caused by the wrong medication. Alternatively, please feel free to call us on 0800 652 1345 to have your claim reviewed for free.
What problems can occur from medication errors?
Being given the wrong medicine can lead to a number of problems. Some will be long-term and could be life-changing while others might only last for a couple of days and be less serious.
The effects of medication errors can include:
- Damage to your internal organs including the liver, lungs and kidneys. This damage may affect your quality of life.
- Allergic reactions.
- Your underlying condition may get worse because it is not being treated properly.
- Psychological suffering.
As we progress, we’ll explain when you could be compensated for being given the wrong medication and what proof you could use to backup your claim.
Can I sue for being given the wrong medication?
It’s important to point out that you can only make a medical negligence claim after being given the wrong medication if you can prove:
- Breach of duty (negligence). This is where a medical professional has failed to provide a level of care that you could reasonably expect of them; and
- Causation. Where you can show that you have been made ill or become injured as a direct result of the medical professional’s negligence.
Both criteria must be met before a medical negligence solicitor from our team will take on your case. That’s because even if you are given the wrong medication, you wouldn’t be entitled to compensation if the mistake did not cause you to suffer.
How medication errors can happen
In this section, we’ll explain how medication errors can occur. Remember, these mistakes on their own will not give you grounds to claim compensation. You must be able to show how you’ve suffered as a result.
Some examples of how medication mistakes can happen include:
- Misdiagnosis. If your condition is diagnosed incorrectly, your doctor may prescribe the wrong medication. This could allow your actual condition to get worse because it is not being treated effectively – See our medical misdiagnosis claims page.
- Dosage errors. Being given a drug that is too weak or too strong can cause serious problems. Weak doses could allow your illness to become worse whereas a strong dose could cause adverse side effects.
- Poor communication. Handwritten prescriptions can sometimes be difficult to read and lead to a mistake with your medication. In theory, pharmacists should check any concerns with the prescribing doctor but where this doesn’t happen, mistakes can be made.
- Lack of checks. Before any medication is handed out at a pharmacy, your details should be checked thoroughly. Being given somebody else’s prescription because they have a similar name or address could mean you go on to suffer.
- Lack of training or supervision. If a mistake is made by a pharmacy technician, it should be spotted by the supervising pharmacist. If it’s not, and you’re made ill as a result of a mistake, you could sue for compensation.
The list above is not conclusive so don’t worry if a different type of mistake has caused you to be given the wrong medication. You could still be compensated and we could still help you to begin your claim.
Medical negligence leading to the wrong medication being given
There are several forms of medical negligence that can lead to the wrong medication being given. You could be entitled to compensation if you suffered because:
- A doctor prescribed a medication that you were known to be allergic to.
- The drug you were prescribed was known to conflict with other prescribed medications.
- The wrong drug was prescribed or dispensed.
- The wrong dosage was prescribed or dispensed.
- Medication was dispensed at the wrong time.
- You were given somebody else’s medication.
- You were given the wrong instructions on how to use the medication.
Claims may be possible if you’ve been given the wrong medication by a doctor, surgeon, nurse, dentist, surgeon, anaesthetist or any other medical professional. Please call 0800 652 1345 if you’d like to check whether you’re eligible to make a claim.
How much compensation for wrong medication can I claim?
If you decide to claim compensation for suffering caused by being given the wrong medication, it’s important to assess exactly how you’ve been affected. Two heads of loss can be included in your claim:
- General damages to cover any pain and suffering you’ve endured.
- Special damages to recoup any associated costs or expenses.
No two wrong medication claims are the same but, in principle, your claim could include compensation to cover:
- Any pain, discomfort and suffering caused by the medication error.
- Any psychological pain caused by anxiety, distress or similar conditions.
- Loss of earnings if your symptoms meant you needed time away from work.
- Travel expenses.
- Medical costs and expenses including private treatment in some cases.
- Care costs if somebody else needed to support you with daily activities.
- Future loss of earnings for longer-term problems.
- Home adaptations if you are left with some form of disability.
As you can see, there is a fair bit to take into account before you file a wrong medication compensation claim. If you work with a solicitor from our team, they’ll strive to understand exactly how you’ve suffered and try to get you the best settlement possible on your behalf.
Medical assessments for wrong medication claims
The amount of compensation awarded for your suffering is largely based on how you’ve suffered. As such, the wrong medication claims process dictates that you’ll need to be assessed by an independent medical expert. Your solicitor will explain the amount of compensation you’ll claim once the specialist’s report (explaining your prognosis) has been submitted.
Providing proof for wrong medication claims
While your solicitor will use medical experts to analyse whether a medical professional has been negligent and caused your suffering, there are some forms of proof that could also improve your chances of being compensated. This includes:
- A diary. You should write down as much information about what has happened. This should include your symptoms, how your normal activities were affected and any other form of suffering.
- Medication packaging. It’s wise to keep hold of any packaging to help identify any discrepancies between what was prescribed and what medication you were given.
- Medical records. You or your solicitor could ask for copies of your medical report to show a) what you were prescribed originally and b) what problems have been caused by the medication error.
- Witness statements. Your family or friends may be asked to provide a statement to confirm how your health has been affected since you were given the wrong medication.
Wrong medication compensation claims time limits
Medical negligence claims have a 3-year time limit in the UK. This will commence on the date you were given the wrong medication or from when you were made aware of the mistake by a doctor.
The 3-year time limit might not apply in cases where the claimant does not have the mental capacity to manage their own claim (such as elderly claimants or those in care homes). If you’d like to claim on behalf of somebody who is unable to represent themselves, please get in touch.
Start a wrong medication claim today
We are here to advise if you have suffered after being given the wrong medication. If you’d like to claim compensation for your suffering, simply give us a call on 0800 652 1345 to start the process moving.
We believe that having a legal representative on your side should make the claims process easier as you won’t need to answer any complex legal or medical questions yourself. If your claim is strong enough, a medical negligence solicitor from our panel will manage your case on a No Win, No Fee basis so you won’t need to pay them a penny for their work unless you’re compensated.
Please feel free to use our live chat service if you have any further questions about wrong medication compensation claims.