Welcome to our guide on claiming compensation for care home negligence. Have you or someone close to you been a victim of abuse in a care home? Or experienced negligent care in nursing homes? If so, you may be eligible to claim for the suffering endured.
Any healthcare provider, including staff and carers in a care home, are expected to provide their residents with a duty of care to keep them safe. This includes doing everything reasonably possible to prevent them from coming into harm. Failing to do so could lead to a patient’s condition worsening, poor mental health and, in more serious cases, death.
In some cases, liability may be complex as often care home residents are frail and sometimes ill so it may not always be apparent if their health issues are due to negligent treatment. However, in other cases, staff or carers may have been responsible for failing to take the needs of their residents seriously.
Our guide will take you through examples of when someone may have been negligent. And how to build a valid claim that may help you get the compensation you deserve.
Contact us on the following details for further help and advice, or continue reading for more information on care home negligence claims:
Select A Section
- What Is Care Home Negligence?
- Signs And Symptoms Of Care Home Negligence
- Pressure Sore Negligence
- Medication And Prescription Errors
- Harm Caused By Abuse
- Breaks And Fractures Caused By Falls
- Hospital Acquired Infections
- Failing To Meet A Primary Care Need
- Wrongful Deaths In A Care Home
- Care Home And Care Home Abuse Statistics
- Time Limits On Care Home Negligence Claims
- Calculating What Care Home Negligence Claims Are Worth
- No Win No Fee Care Home Negligence Compensation Claims
- Get Help With Your Case
- Helpful Resources
- FAQs About Negligence And Neglect In Care Homes
Negligence in a care home may involve the mistreatment of its elderly residents. This could include abuse or neglect such as:
- Not providing care home residents with their medication when needed
- Causing them to deteriorate physically or psychologically by ignoring their needs
- Incidents of abuse
During the Covid-19 pandemic, lots of nursing and care homes were under tremendous strain as this particular virus affected the elderly more severely. However, this is not an excuse for any healthcare establishment to lower its standards.
The Care Quality Control (CQC) has a list of fundamental standards that everyone is entitled to. No matter if they are in a care home or receiving care from a nurse or doctor visiting a care home.
- Being treated with dignity and respect that includes being given privacy when you need and want it.
- Be given safe treatment
- Safeguarding from abuse
- Where you receive care should be clean and looked after
- Staff that have been vetted and have appropriate skills for the role
It is vital that care home residents are provided with the care and treatment they need. Failure to provide a constant level of care can mean that any conditions the resident is suffering from can quickly deteriorate. If you are not sure whether the level of care you or a loved one is receiving could be grounds for a care home negligence case call our care home claims team for more information.
There are many warning signs that you could look out for when visiting someone in a care home. These signs may help to determine whether your loved one may be suffering negligence so you can intervene early.
For example, you may notice your loved one experiencing:
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Being over or under dosed with their medication
- Unexplained bruising or other accidents that you may not have been made aware of by the staff
- Bedsores or no treatment of them
- Having their primary care need ignored
- A low mood or not acting themselves mentally
If you do notice any of these or other signs that may be pointing towards neglect, you could report your concerns to staff in the care home.
However, if these concerns are not taken seriously, there may be other steps you could take. For instance, you could raise your concern with the CQC who may be able to advise on the action needed.
Pressure sores are ulcers that form on the skin. They are caused by prolonged pressure on the skin, usually from sitting down for long periods of time.
There are two sets of symptoms, early and late. The early symptoms include patches of discoloured skin, pain and itchiness. Whereas the late symptoms may include an open blister of three different severities:
- An open wound or blister
- A deep wound that may reach the deeper layers of the skin
- A very deep wound that may reach the muscles or bone
Doctors may prescribe or provide such treatment of pressure sores which could include the following:
- Moving patients regularly, so they aren’t sat in the same position
- Applying dressings to help relieve pressure
- In more serious cases carrying out a procedure to clean the wound and remove damaged tissue
According to the NHS, there are a few ways they could be prevented. For example, changing positions regularly. Or if you’re at higher risk of developing pressure sores, you could prevent them by checking your skin each day for signs of ulcers. However, if you are in a care home this should be done by the staff each day.
If pressure sores are left untreated, they could lead to infection and blood poisoning. Care home negligence in the UK could amount to the mismanagement of pressures sores that lead your condition to get worse more than it should have. It is vital that if you are at risk of suffering pressures sores you are moved position as much as possible.
According to the NHS, a medication overdose is the most common form of poisoning in the UK. It could lead to the following symptoms:
- Stomach pains
- Fainting fits
Medication overdoses can happen in the following ways:
- Giving a patient the wrong dosage
- Prescribing a patient medication with similar ingredients
- Misdiagnosing an injury leading to the wrong medication being prescribed
Furthermore, a misdiagnosis can cause actual symptoms to worsen and lead to other complications.
Medication errors leading to an overdose is an example of medical negligence. However, they can also happen as a sign of self-harm or suicide and suicide attempts. They can also be accidental.
If you or someone you know was given the wrong medication or prescription, contact our team and they may be able to put you in touch with a medical negligence solicitor.
Care homes are expected to provide a minimum standard of care for their residents and patients. However, in some cases, this standard isn’t met and signs of abuse may go unheeded, especially if they don’t get visitors very often.
Some examples of harm caused by abuse might include:
- They are caused physical harm through mishandling
- Living in a bad environment, unclean, unhygienic
- They are physically attacked
- Or sexually abused.
Additionally, if you notice someone showing signs of the following, you may need to raise it as a concern with the care home:
- Unintentionally lost or gained weight
- Unusually unsociable or unwilling to engage in social activities
- Malnourished or dehydrated
However, if no action is taken from your report, you could report abuse through the government website.
Additionally, if you have any questions regarding claiming care home abuse, please contact our team on the number above for further help and advice.
Accidents such as falls may happen through no fault of anyone else’s. In fact, falls are one of the common causes of injuries amongst the elderly.
According to the NHS, 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 and more than half of people over the age of 80 will have at least one fall a year.
However, they could be a result of avoidable accidents that could cause painful injuries in a care home.
For instance, injuries such as breaks and fractures. These could be caused by not ensuring the area is safe and suitable for the residents.
- Not repairing or bringing attention to an uneven carpet in the hallway
- Leaving physically impaired residents without assistance to move around, e.g. out of bed or down the stairs
A hospital acquired infection (HAI), such as the MRSA virus, can be picked up when someone stays or receives treatment in hospital.
People may be at risk of getting an HAI if they are older or more vulnerable patients. However, patients could also catch them through medical professionals failing to follow health and safety practices.
For example, if a patient has surgery or other treatment and a doctor or nurse fails to:
- Change gloves between patients
- Clean equipment
A primary care need is when someone has a specific care requirement for an ongoing physical or mental illness. For example, people who have difficulty with eating, drinking, taking medication and moving about independently. Or problems with memory caused by Alzheimer’s or dementia.
As a result, an assessment may be carried out to determine whether someone should continue to get their care for free through the NHS. This might include care at home or a place in a care home.
It is vital that primary care needs are met as this could leave people unable to get out of bed for the day resulting in them becoming dehydrated or malnourished.
According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), there were 131,149 deaths of care home residents in England during 2019/20. Please note that these statistics do not reflect negligence in care homes they are simply stating how many residents passed away while in a care home.
Wrongful death is when someone dies when they did not need to. These refer to negligence being the cause of someone passing away.
Some examples of how this might have happened could include a carer:
- Providing a resident with the incorrect care for their specific needs
- Withholding care altogether
If a care worker provides a poor standard of care that directly causes a death that otherwise could have been avoided, you may be able to claim for care home negligence on behalf of a loved one.
Call our team on the number above for more information.
According to Age UK, there were 400,000 people in care homes across the UK in 2019. Additionally, the Office of National Statistics predicts there will be a growth of 36% in people aged 85 and over between 2015 and 2025. This, in turn, may lead to a higher demand for places in care homes.
The table below highlights the different types of abuse reported. The figures are provided by the World Health Organisation so they don’t just cover cases of care home abuse in the UK.
However, they do provide an idea of the types of abuse and neglect that may occur in care homes.
Generally, you have three years from either the date of the accident or the date you obtained enough information that someone else’s negligence at least contributed to your injuries.
However, if the person injured lacks the mental capacity to claim, the three-year time limit will be frozen. While the time limit is frozen, someone could claim on their behalf by acting as a litigation friend. A parent, guardian or solicitor may do this.
If they never regain their mental capacity, the three-year limit will continue to be frozen. However, if they regain their mental capacity, the three years will reset from the date of their recovery.
Additionally, if the person is under 18 when they’re injured, the three-year time limit is frozen until they turn 18. After this point, they have three years to start a claim for themselves. However, someone could act as a litigation friend for them during the time in which the three years is frozen.
We understand that there are many exceptions, and it may be difficult to work out how much time you have to claim. For that reason, we’ve included a table to break down the exceptions for you.
|General Time Limit|
|Three years from the date you were in the accident or the date you obtained knowledge that someone else's negligence caused or contributed to your injuries|
|Person who was injured||Time limit||Exception|
|Child under the age of 18||3 years from the date of your 18th birthday to claim for yourself||3 years is frozen until you turn 18 and during this time someone could claim as a litigation friend on your behalf|
|Lacks the mental capacity with a chance to regain their mental capacity||3 years from the date of recovery to claim for yourself||3 years is frozen until you regain mental capacity and someone could claim as a litigation friend during this time|
|Lacks the mental capacity with little chance to regain their mental capacity||3 years is frozen indefinitely and in this time a parent, guardian, family friend or solicitor could act as a litigation friend to claim on your behalf|
However, if you require more information on time limits you can call our team on the number above, and they’ll be happy to help provide further clarification.
The award you could receive may comprise general damages which compensate you for the physical and psychological pain you’ve suffered as a result of your injury. They also cover any ongoing issues you may have experienced, such as a permanent disability.
However, you will require evidence to prove your accident happened as well as the injuries you sustained in the accident. Evidence such as the following may be needed:
- CCTV footage
- Photographic evidence of the accident and your injuries
- Witness details
- Medical records
In addition to the medical records, you may be invited to attend an additional medical assessment to assess the state of your injuries. This will provide further evidence of how you sustained your injuries.
As well as claiming for your injury, you may be able to claim for any past and future financial losses. These may be claimed under special damages and cover any monetary losses incurred due to the injuries you suffered. For instance:
- Care costs for yourself or anyone dependant on you
- Medical expenses, e.g. private physiotherapy, physical aids like wheelchairs or walking sticks
Evidence will also be required to claim compensation for these. For example receipts and invoices to highlight any financial losses.
How much is my claim worth?
We have created a compensation table that may explain how much your claim could be worth.
They provide figures of compensation you may receive for your injury under general damages. Any additional damages are not covered.
The figures come from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG), a document solicitors often use to value claims.
However, the figures should only be used as a guide as other factors may be considered during the claims process.
|Pelvis and hips||Severe: (i) An extensive fracture of the pelvis such as dislocation and a ruptured bladder along with ongoing complications like lack of bladder control.||£73,580 to £122,860|
|Pelvis and hips||Moderate: (i) Although there may be a significant injury to either the pelvis or hip, there won't be any major permanent issues.||£24,950 to £36,770|
|Pelvis and hips||Lesser injuries: (ii) Injuries in this bracket will have a complete recovery and consist of minor soft tissue injuries.||Up to £3,710|
|Arm||A simple forearm fracture||£6,190 to £18,020|
|Wrist||A less severe injury that continues to cause pain and stiffness||£11,820 to £22,990|
|Leg||Less serious: (ii) A simple femur fracture||£8,550 to £13,210|
|Leg||Less serious: (iii) Injuries in this bracket may include simple tibia or fibula fracture as well as soft tissue injuries||Up to £11,110|
|Mental Anguish||This covers any fear of impending death or a fear of life expectancy being reduced||£4,380|
If you have any questions about how much your claim may be worth, contact us on the number above, and our team will be available to help.
Understandably, you may be apprehensive about using a solicitor due to the costs normally associated with legal representation. However, the option of a No Win No Fee agreement could help.
If your solicitor fails to win your claim for compensation, you won’t pay solicitor fees. If your solicitor is successful, you’ll pay a success fee that’s capped. However, you can decide on this fee with your solicitor before your claim begins.
Most importantly, having a solicitor represent you on a No Win No Fee basis allows you to avoid upfront costs.
Additionally, you can benefit from having an expert solicitor handling your case and advising you through each step of your claim.
We understand that we’ve covered a lot of information in our guide. However, the most important thing to remember is that we’re here to help.
If you have any questions after reading, you can contact our advisors. They are available 24/7 and can offer free legal advice and answer any questions you may have regarding your personal injury claim.
Additionally, if you’re unsure whether you have a valid claim, they can assess whether it has a chance of success. If it does, they can connect you with a solicitor who can advise on the next steps you may need to take.
For more information, contact us on the following:
- Telephone on 0800 652 3087
- Live chat at the bottom of the page
- Send us an enquiry using the form
For more information on claiming compensation for pressure sores, see our guide.
If you require further details on making a medical negligence claim, our guide could help.
Visit our guide for more information on claiming compensation for hospital negligence.
For more information on abuse and neglect in care homes, see the NHS guidance.
For more care home statistics, see the State of Care Report by the Care Quality Commission.
Visit Age UK for help and support for elderly people.
We’ve included some answers to common questions we’re asked about care home claims.
Can you sue a care home for neglect?
If you suffered neglect in a care home, you may be able to claim compensation for the pain and suffering you’ve endured. However, evidence is key.
What is neglect in a care home?
There are many examples of neglect that could happen in a care home. For example, residents not being provided with the right food or enough food and not being given proper care.
Can I take legal action against a care home?
If you or your parent have had your duty of care breached by a care home that’s resulted in avoidable harm, then you may be able to claim against a care home.
Thank you for reading our guide on claiming compensation for care home negligence. We hope you found it helpful.
Guide by Megan
Edited by LisM.