When you take medication prescribed by a doctor, you would expect them to have looked at whether you are allergic to any medications prior to them issuing a prescription. They may even ask you directly before prescribing medication whether you are allergic to anything. You could, therefore, be under the impression that you would not be given medication that you had a known allergy to. If you have suffered harm due to an avoidable drug allergic reaction, compensation could be sought from the party that was negligent in giving you medication you were known to have been allergic to. This guide explains more about making such claims, the amount of compensation you could be entitled to claim, and how we could help you begin a claim for medical negligence of this type. If you have any questions or would like to begin a claim, you can reach us on 0800 652 3087.
Choose A Section
- A Guide To Claims For Drug Allergic Reaction Compensation
- What Is A Drug Allergic Reaction Which You Could Claim For?
- What Are The Symptoms Of Drug Allergies And Allergic Reactions?
- What Causes Allergic Reactions to A Drug
- Managing Your Drug Allergic Reaction
- Treating Drug Allergic Reactions
- What Drugs Could Commonly Cause Allergic Reactions?
- How Are Drug Allergies Tested For?
- Time Limits To Make A Drug Allergic Reaction Compensation Claim
- What Could I Claim? – Drug Allergic Reaction Compensation Settlements
- No Win No Fee Claims For Drug Allergic Reaction Compensation
- Contact Us To See How We Could Help
- Helpful Links
Allergic reactions to drugs should be written on your medical records so you are not prescribed medication that you could be allergic to. Whether you are allergic to certain types of antibiotics containing penicillin, certain painkillers or other drugs, it is important that known allergies are communicated to those in charge of dispensing or prescribing medicines.
However, if clinicians, including doctors, nurses, and pharmacists do not take care when dispensing or prescribing medicines, and you are given medication you are allergic to, this could cause you to suffer an unpleasant allergic reaction. While some allergic reactions may only be mild, the symptoms you experience could still be uncomfortable. If you suffer a severe drug allergic reaction, however, it could cause serious harm to your health.
In this guide, we offer a wealth of information relating to drug allergic reaction compensation claims. If you have suffered avoidable harm from being given medication you were already known to be allergic to, this guide could offer some useful information on how this could have happened, what harm it may have caused you, and how you could take legal action against a liable party for the avoidable harm you’ve suffered.
If you take medication for the first time and suffer an allergic reaction, this may not lead to you being able to claim for drug allergic reaction compensation. There are certain things you would need to prove to be able to make this kind of medical negligence claim. You would have to prove that someone was negligent in prescribing or dispensing medication that you were known to be allergic to, and you suffered avoidable harm because of such negligence.
You could be eligible to claim compensation against:
A GP – If there was a record of your drug allergy on your medical records and your GP was negligent in checking your allergies before prescribing you some medication that contained something you were known to be allergic to, or they mistakenly prescribed you the wrong drug, this could be classed as negligence and could lead to a compensation claim if you suffered avoidable harm.
A hospital -If you were admitted to hospital, treated as an outpatient or at an emergency department, you should be asked if you have any allergies before you are given medications. As an inpatient, you should be given a hospital bracelet that shows you have allergies on admission. If this is not checked, or you are dispensed/prescribed medications that you are known to be allergic to, causing you to suffer harm, you could consider making a claim for drug allergic reaction compensation.
A pharmacy – If a pharmacist makes a mistake with dispensing prescription medicines and dispenses medication in error that you are allergic to, this could cause you to suffer an avoidable allergic reaction. If you have made a pharmacist aware of your allergies but they have given you over the counter medication that contains an allergen that you have said you are allergic to, this could also lead to a claim if it causes you harm.
You could suffer one or more symptoms of a drug allergy. If you would like to know what the side effects/allergic reactions are to a drug you’ve been prescribed, you could read the information that comes with your prescription medicine, information can be found on this NHS page.
Symptoms might include:
- A runny nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Trouble with breathing
A severe reaction to a drug could cause anaphylaxis. This is a serious condition that could be life-threatening if not treated quickly. Signs you may be suffering anaphylaxis could include:
- A weak fast pulse
- Narrowing of the airway or the throat
- Trouble with breathing
Within your body, your immune system works to try and protect you from illness and disease. It does so by fighting what it thinks are foreign substances such as parasites, bacteria, viruses, and other dangerous substances. When you suffer an allergic reaction to a drug, it usually happens because your immune system has mistaken the drug as a threat. Your immune system then makes antibodies that attack the drug. This is what could cause the symptoms of a drug allergy we mentioned above.
While there is no telling whether you could suffer an allergic reaction when you take a medication for the first time, there could be more of a chance that you could suffer a drug allergy if you have:
- Other allergies, such as hay fever or food allergies
- A family history of drug allergies
- A personal history of drug allergies
- Have been exposed to the drug in an increased amount due to prolonged use, repetitive use or high doses
- Illnesses that could be associated with drug allergies, which could include Epstein-Barr or HIV
How Long Does A Drug Allergic Reaction Last?
This depends on the type or severity of the reaction. While some reactions can go away immediately after the drug leaves your system, others can cause problems days or weeks after this. How long you suffer from the allergic reaction could have an effect on how much drug allergic reaction compensation you could receive.
If you experience severe symptoms that affect your ability to breathe, for example, you should seek medical attention urgently.
Other steps that you might want to take if you believe you have a drug allergy could include:
- Ensuring that the drug allergy is recorded on your medical record.
- Making sure that everyone involved in your medical care, including pharmacists, nurses and doctors are aware of your allergies, even if they have not asked for this information.
- Ensure you have a bracelet that lists your drug allergy if you are in hospital.
- If you have a severe allergy, you could wear your own allergy bracelet at all times.
- If you are given or take prescription or over the counter medication, you may wish to carefully check the ingredients before you take the medication.
Drug allergy reaction treatments could vary significantly, depending on your health condition, the severity of your reaction and whether you needed to continue taking medication. If an alternative medication could replace the one you are allergic to, a doctor may ask you to stop taking that medication and replace it with another. If this is not possible, and you need to continue taking the medication, a doctor could prescribe other medication for you to take to minimise the symptoms of your drug allergy. Some home treatment for drug allergy options could include:
Bronchodilators – For those medications that are causing drug allergy symptoms that include coughing and wheezing, bronchodilators could be prescribed to open the airways.
Corticosteroids – For those medications that lead to airway swelling, corticosteroids might be useful.
Antihistamines – For those medications that cause rashes, hives for example, antihistamines may be used to block histamine. This is the substance that your body produces to fight against substances within the body that it thinks is a threat to your health.
With regards to drug allergic reaction treatment for anaphylaxis, this would usually be as an emergency, in hospital, and could include a combination of drugs such as adrenaline, oxygen, antihistamines, cortisone, beta-agonists, for example.
Some drugs are more likely to cause a drug allergic reaction than others. We have put together a common drug allergy list below, but if you have suffered an allergic reaction to another drug, you could still claim for it, if it had been caused by negligence and if it caused you to suffer avoidable harm.
- Chemotherapy medication
- Pain-relieving medications
- Medications for autoimmune conditions
- Antibiotics – Penicillin, in particular, could cause an allergic reaction that could be quite severe
If it is suspected that you are suffering from allergies, then you may have allergy tests. An allergy test for common allergens such as pollen, foodstuffs and animals are more common than a drug allergy test, however.
If you do require a drug allergy test, it is usually administered as follows:
A clinician would administer a tiny amount of the drug into your skin. This could be in the form of an injection, a patch, or a small scratch with a tiny needle.
They would wait to see if a reaction occurs. You may experience a red, raised bump, which may itch. This could be a sign that you are allergic to the drug that was administered.
Once it has been confirmed that you have suffered an allergic reaction to a drug, this information should be noted on your medical records. If you suspect an allergic reaction but have not had a test, you should still inform your doctor of your suspicions.
Claiming compensation for a drug allergic reaction does come with some restrictions. One of these is how long you would have to launch your claim. Just like the personal injury claims time limit, the usual medical negligence claims time limit is three years in most cases. However, the date that the limitation period would begin could vary between cases. This is because in some cases, you might be immediately aware of your allergic reaction and that it was caused by negligence, whereas some allergic reactions might only show symptoms days or weeks later, so you may only discover you had been caused avoidable harm some time after the negligence had occurred. The table below could give you more of an idea of how long you could have to make a drug allergic reaction compensation claim but if you’re still not sure, do feel free to get in touch for clarification.
|Your situation||How long you could have to claim|
|You were away right away that avoidable harm had been caused by negligence||From date of reaction - 3 years|
|You discovered later that avoidable harm had been caused by negligence.||From discovery date – 3 years|
|You are a parent making a claim for your child’s avoidable harm.||Any time up to your child’s eighteenth birthday|
|You are an adult claiming for negligence that occurred when you were a child||Any time up to the date you turn 21. If the discovery date is later, you could have longer to claim.|
Every medical negligence claim, just like a personal injury claim is assessed on its own merits, taking into account the harm that the claimant suffered and the financial disadvantage it caused them. Any injured party would be required to attend a medical appointment with an independent doctor as part of their drug allergic reaction compensation claim. This is so that they could be examined, and the doctor could use the results of this examination, as well as their medical notes, to write a medical report that would be used to value the drug allergy claim. The report would detail their injuries and their prognosis.
This is why we could not give you an accurate answer on how much your allergic reaction settlement could be and nor could a medical negligence calculator, which is the same in principle as a personal injury claims calculator. What we could do, however, is display guidelines payout brackets for specific injuries that we believe could be associated with a drug allergic reaction. These guideline amounts have been taken from a legal publication called the Judicial College Guidelines, which is updated annually.
|Type of injury caused||Notes||Compensation Bracket|
|Damage to the kidneys||Injured parties may have a significant risk of going on to develop future infections of the urinary tract. They could also risk total natural loss of function of the kidneys.||Amounts could reach to £60,050|
|Damage to the bowels||Natural function loss to the bowels leading to a requirement for a colostomy.||Amounts could reach to £140,870|
|Toxicosis||Where injured parties have experienced diarrhoea, acute pain, vomiting and fever which has led them to require days/weeks of hospital treatment. Long-term continuing symptoms could include the development of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and could lead to the injured party’s ability to work being affected as well as their ability to enjoy a normal life.||Amounts could reach to £49,270|
|Poisoning||Where there is significant discomfort, fatigue, alternation of the bowel’s ability to function normally and cramping. While the patient could recover entirely within 1 to 2 years.||Amounts could reach to £8,950|
|Difficulty breathing||Requiring the use of an inhaler frequently. Social and working life would be adversely affected.||Amounts could reach to £51,460|
|Aggravation of the injured party’s chest issues or bronchitis.||Usually resolved within some months||Amounts could reach to £5,000|
If your injury is not included in the above table, and you’d like us to give you a rough estimate as to how much your injuries could be worth, please call our team on 0800 652 3087, and we’ll be happy to help.
As well as the damages that relate to your suffering, pain, and loss of amenity that your injuries caused, which are known as general damages, you could also claim for special damages within a drug allergic reaction compensation claim. These relate to financial losses or costs that have come about directly because of your injuries, and could include:
Care costs – Some injuries may leave you unable to take care of yourself, either short-term or for the long-term. You may require a carer to help you. The costs for such care could be included within your drug allergy claim.
Travel Costs – Whether you’ve had to pay for petrol to get you to hospital appointments, or train fare to visit your lawyer, travel costs that have directly resulted from your injuries could also be claimed for.
Medical expenses – If you needed to pay for medical care or prescriptions because of your injuries, including counselling costs, for example, these could be included as special damages.
Loss of income – If you are injured to the extent that you need to stay off work to recover, you may lose out on income. Loss of earnings could be included within your claim. If you are injured so severely that it affects your ability to work in the future, then future losses of income could also be included within your claim.
We must stress that to claim any of these costs or losses, you must be able to prove them. Keeping any receipts, bank statements and payslips relating to these is therefore essential. It would be wise to keep them in a safe place in order that you can provide them to your lawyer when necessary. If you cannot find the paperwork that proves you have incurred these losses or costs, you would not be able to include them in your claim.
If you are thinking of making a drug allergic reaction compensation claim, and you are wondering whether there is any way to engage the services of a medical negligence lawyer to help you without having to pay them in advance, you may be pleased to know that there are solicitors who work on a No Win No Fee basis, that would only take payment from you once a settlement had been reached.
Whether you work with a personal injury lawyer for a personal injury claim, or a medical negligence lawyer for a medical negligence claim, the No Win No Fee principle remains the same. You would sign a Conditional Fee Agreement which would promise a small percentage of your eventual compensation settlement to your lawyer. This fee would be capped, so you wouldn’t have to worry that all your compensation would be taken up in legal fees.
Once your lawyer negotiated a settlement for your drug allergy claim, their success fee would be taken from it, with the rest going to benefit you. If your lawyer couldn’t manage to negotiate a payout, you would not be required to settle the success fee.
Here at Medical Negligence Assist, we could help to connect you with a No Win No Fee solicitor to take your claim forward if we believe you could be entitled to claim for drug allergic reaction compensation.
We would be delighted to help you with your claim for drug allergic reaction compensation. Our dedicated, knowledgeable and experienced advisors have successfully helped many claimants begin taking action for medical negligence, including both NHS negligence and private medical negligence and have provided advice and guidance to countless others.
When you call us, you’ll find our friendly, professional advisors ready and able to answer any questions you might have about making a claim. We’ll explain any legal terms you may not have come across before in jargon-free language so you would be able to fully understand the process.
We will also be able to offer a free, no-obligation assessment of your drug allergy case to see if you could be entitled to make a claim. If we think that your case could lead to compensation, we could even offer to connect you with a medical negligence solicitor, similar to a personal injury solicitor, to help begin the claims process for you.
We pride ourselves on our high levels of customer service, and whatever your query, we’ll do our utmost to help you.
If you are ready to benefit from advice and support from our knowledgeable team regarding your eligibility to make a claim for compensation or would like some help with starting a claim you can reach us in a number of ways. If you would like to talk to us on the phone, then you can call 0800 652 3087 and we’ll be happy to speak to you, or you could use the contact form to get in touch, and we could call you. Alternatively, why not take a look at the Live Chat feature on the site. Whatever your query and whatever your situation, we’re here to help in any way that we can.
North West Paediatric Allergy Network – This NHS page offers information relating to paediatric drug allergies.
Reporting Adverse Drug Reactions – Information about reporting adverse reactions to drugs can be found here.
Hospital Negligence Cases – To learn more about hospital negligence, you could take a look at this informative guide.
Calculating Negligence Compensation – Here, you can read more about what could be included in your claim.
How Long Will My Claim Take? – Guidance on how long it takes to complete a claim can be found here.
Written by Jo
Edited by LisM.