Medication Errors – Could I Claim Compensation?

Medication errors have the potential to cause harm to those who take the incorrect drug. However, in order for a claim to be valid, you need to prove that the harm was caused by a medical professional breaching their duty of care.

Medication errors

Medication errors claims guide

In this guide, we will discuss what makes a valid medical negligence claim and look at the duty of care all healthcare professionals must adhere to. Additionally, we will share potential compensation amounts you could receive if your claim is successful.

Please do not hesitate to call us to speak with an advisor to see if you can claim. Our advisors can offer you free legal advice concerning your potential claim. Furthermore, they can answer any of your medical negligence questions.

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What Are Medication Errors?

Medication errors are errors at any stage in the preparing, prescribing, dispensing, administrating or monitoring of medication.

The NHS classifies medication errors as patient safety incidents (PSIs). A patient safety incident is an unexpected or unintentional error that either did or could have harmed one or more patients.

Taking the wrong medication or failing to take medication correctly can be dangerous. Healthcare providers must act in a way to avoid unnecessary harm from errors relating to drugs.  They need to provide a minimum standard of care.

This also includes assessing any medication that you currently take before prescribing you a new medication. They must do this to ensure that the new treatment they want to prescribe you won’t negatively react with any other treatment you’re taking or that you’re allergic to.

Later in this guide, we will discuss a medical professional’s duty of care and the criteria you must meet in order to make a valid medical negligence claim. Call our advisors today for more information about medication errors.

Are There Different Types Of Medication Errors?

There are various ways a medication error could occur, for example:

  • The medical practitioner provides the wrong dosage, leading to the patient experiencing an overdose that can be life-threatening. Alternatively, the patient receives a dosage of medication that is too low, so it does not have the desired effect.
  • A medical practitioner provides the wrong type of medication. Taking the wrong type of medication can be dangerous. For example, some antibiotics have a harmful effect if mixed with other medications.
  • A doctor gives a patient negligent medical advice. For example, a doctor may tell the patient to take the medication on a full stomach when the medication needs to be taken on an empty stomach to work.
  • A pharmacist makes an error when preparing the medication. For example, the pharmacist may take the wrong medication off the shelf.

For more guidance on how to claim for medication errors, contact our advisors today.

How Common Are Medication Errors?

A study by the British Medical Journal in 2019 provided statistics on drug errors in England. The study found that 237 million medication errors occur annually at some point in the medication process. Furthermore, they cost the NHS over £98 million per year.

Additionally, adverse drug effects consume over 181,000 bed-days and contribute to/cause 1708 deaths annually.

Who Could Be Responsible For A Medication Error?

Many different kinds of healthcare professionals could be responsible for a medication error, such as a GP, doctor, nurse, pharmacist, surgeon etc. Additionally, they can happen in a variety of medical settings, such as hospitals, GP surgeries, pharmacies or care homes.

However, in order for claims for medication errors to be valid, you must prove that a medical practitioner breached their duty of care to you, resulting in an impact on your health. We will discuss this duty of care and how to make a valid claim in a later section.

Call our advisors today for some free legal advice regarding your claim.

How To Prevent A Medication Error

NHS Digital announced a New Information Standard in 2021 to reduce the number of medication errors that take place.

The NHS’s prevention strategy will standardise information about medications, enabling the transfer of a patient’s medication and prescription information across healthcare and social care settings in England. The measures aim to improve upon standards of patient safety.

In addition to this, it will provide medical professionals with medication-related information that is both more consistent and more detailed. Furthermore, professionals will be able to access information on medicines in a way that is both faster and more efficient.

For more information on how to make a valid medical negligence claim, call us today.

Could You Claim Compensation For Medication Errors?

All healthcare professionals owe all their patients a duty of care. As per this duty of care, they must ensure that all their patients receive the correct standard of care and must ensure that their patients avoid unnecessary harm.

If you were to be given the incorrect medication, you could suffer various side effects, such as vomiting, migraines or a rash. You could experience long-term symptoms such as an effect on your stomach lining and, in some cases, medication errors can be fatal.

Not all instances of harm caused by medication will be grounds for a claim. This is because some drugs will carry with them side effects. The harm caused must be unnecessary and avoidable in order to form the basis of a claim.

To make a valid claim for medication errors, you must prove the following criteria apply:

  • A medical professional owed you a duty of care.
  • This practitioner then breached their duty of care to you.
  • As a result of this, you suffered avoidable harm.

You must prove all of these in order to make a valid medical negligence claim. Contact our team of advisors today to find out whether you have a valid claim.

What Is The Average Medication Error Compensation Amount?

If your medical negligence claim is successful, you could receive up to two heads of claim. The first of these is general damages, which compensate you for the harm caused by the medical negligence, including how this impacted your quality of life. In addition, you may receive special damages which compensate you for past and future financial losses due to the harm caused by medical negligence.

Examples of special damages could include:

  • Medical costs.
  • Necessary travel costs.
  • Care costs.
  • Reimbursement for loss of earnings.

Below, we have created a compensation table to help you understand how much you could potentially receive in general damages for various health impacts. These compensation amounts have been taken from the 16th edition of the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). The reason we have used the compensation brackets listed in the JCG is that many solicitors will use this document to help them value claims.

However, you should only use this table as a guide. The amount you could receive in compensation will depend on your specific circumstances.

Bowel Injury(B) Reliance on a colostomy and total loss of natural function in the bowels.Up to £150,110
Bladder Injury(C) Where bladder control has been seriously impaired and the person is in some degree of pain. There is also incontinence.£63,980 to £79,930
Female Reproductive System InjuriesInfertility in a younger woman who does not have children. There are no aggravating features. The person does not suffer sexual dys-function.£56,080 to £71,350
Male Reproductive System InjuriesApplicable to a young man without children. Instances of uncomplicated sterility. The person is not impotent and there are no aggravating features.£56,080 to £71,350
Lung Disease(C) Diseases such as emphysema that cause significant impacts on the lungs function. This could impair people's ability to breathe.£54,830 to £70,030
Kidney Injury(B) The injury has resulted in significant risks of the person losing natural kidney function or contracting a urinary tract infection.Up to £63,980
Chest Injuries(C) An injury affecting the lungs and chest which does lead to some degree of disability.£31,310 to £54,830
Digestive System Injuries(B) (i) An example may be severe forms of toxicosis which result in the person having to go to hospital. It could also cause vomiting and diarrhoea.£38,430 to £52,500
Impairment Of Taste And Smell(A) Total loss of both smell and taste (for example, as a result of infection) In the region of £39,170
Spleen Injuries(A) The person has lost their spleen. Immune system damage may mean they face the risk of developing internal infections in the future.£20,800 to £26,290

Speak with an advisor today for more information on claiming for medication errors.

Why Choose Medical Negligence Assist

If a medication error has harmed you, you may be eligible to claim compensation. Our panel of No Win No Fee lawyers could manage your claim, which may be useful if you find the prospect of claiming alone daunting.

With a No Win No Fee agreement, you will pay a success fee to your solicitor if your claim is successful. However, there’s generally nothing for you to pay them upfront or as the claim progresses.

The amount that can be taken as a success fee is legally capped and will be deducted from your compensation before you receive it. What’s more, you usually won’t have to pay your lawyer for their legal services if your claim fails.

You can speak with our advisors if you would like more information on medical negligence claims for the harm caused by medication errors. Our team of friendly advisors are available 7 days a week to offer you free legal advice concerning your potential claim.

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Please feel free to contact us to enquire about claiming compensation for medication errors.

Writer Megan Riker 

Publisher Fern Stiles