Prescription Error Claims – Could I Claim Compensation?

Are you looking for information regarding prescription error claims? Has a medical professional prescribed you the wrong medication because of a breach of duty of care? If you have suffered harm as a result of this prescription error, you might be able to make a medical negligence claim.

Prescription error claims guide

Prescription error claims guide

In this guide, we will explain what a prescription error is, and the duty of care medical professionals owe you. Additionally, we will provide some examples of how a prescription error could happen and the potential compensation you could receive if you were harmed as a result of medical negligence.

We also understand that you may wish to speak to someone about your potential claim. If so, our team of friendly advisors are available 24/7 to offer you free legal advice and answer any of the questions you make have about pursuing a claim.

To speak to an advisor:

  • Call us on 0800 652 3087
  • Contact us via our online form.
  • Use the Live Support feature in the bottom left corner of this page.

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What Are Prescription Errors?

A prescription error is when you have been prescribed the incorrect medication. Various medical practitioners, such as a GP, doctors or nurse practitioners, could be responsible for a prescription error.

Additionally, prescription errors can occur in various medical settings,  such as a pharmacy, hospital or GP surgery. A prescription error is classed as a Patient Safety Incident (PSI).

However, for your claim to be valid, you must be able to prove the following:

  • A medical professional owed you a duty of care. (We will discuss the duty of care owed to you by medical professionals in a later section).
  • This medical professional breached their duty of care in prescribing you the wrong prescription.
  • You suffered harm as a direct result of this breach of duty. This is an example of medical negligence.

For further guidance on valid prescription error claims, contact our team of advisors today.

How Commonly Are Errors Made With Prescription Medication?

The British Medical Journal published a study in September 2020 looking into the number of medication errors in England and the burden it places on NHS England. The study found:

  • An estimated 237 million medication errors occur in England annually (at any point in the medication process).
  • 72% of these errors had little to no potential harm.
  • 66 million were judged as potentially “clinically significant.”
  • Avoidable adverse drug events (ADEs) contributed/caused 1708 deaths per year.

What Could Cause A Prescription Error?

As we have stated in a previous section, various medical professionals could be responsible for a prescription error. Additionally, they can happen in a variety of medical settings.

However, you need to be able to prove that the duty of care owed to you was breached in order to make a legitimate claim.

Some examples of how a prescription error could occur include:

  • Your GP fails to check your medical history and prescribes you medication that contains something you are allergic to. This causes an allergic reaction.
  • A pharmacist provides you with the incorrect medication because they take the wrong medication off of the shelf.
  • A prescribing nurse in a care home gives a resident the incorrect dosage of their medication.

For more information on valid prescription error claims, contact our advisors today.

Duty Of Care When Prescribing Medication

All medical professionals owe you and all of their other patients a duty of care, meaning that they need to provide the correct standard of care. This is the case regardless of whether they work in private medical care or for the NHS.

In order for it to be ascertained whether negligence was the cause of your injury, illness or worsening condition, then something called the Bolam Test might be carried out. This is where a panel of appropriately trained medical professionals are asked to confirm whether or not the care you were given was of the correct standard.

If they decide that the steps taken by the healthcare provider were reasonable, then you may not be awarded compensation even if you were caused harm by their actions. However, if they state that the level of care given was not acceptable, then you could receive a settlement.

Speak with an advisor today for guidance on when prescription error claims could be made.

What Evidence Is Needed in Prescription Error Claims?

Providing proof of medical negligence is vital for successful prescription error claims. There are certain steps you can take and evidence you could provide to help prove that you suffered unnecessary harm due to a medical professional breaching their duty of care to you:

  • Proof of the medication error. This could be a copy of your prescription form, the name of the pharmacy, surgery, doctor etc. that provided you with the incorrect medication, and the date the error occurred.
  • You could make a complaint to the institution responsible for the prescription error. Their response could be used to support a claim.
  • Proof that you suffered avoidable harm. – This could include a copy of your medical records stating any symptoms/side effects you suffered. You could also potentially provide pictures if you suffered physical consequences, such as a rash.

Additionally, you must start your medical negligence claim within the relevant time limit. These time limits generally are:

  • 3 years to start your claim from the date the medical negligence occurred.
  • 3 years to start your claim from the date the harm was linked to having been caused by medical negligence.

Call our advisors for more information on potential evidence needed for a successful claim. If you have a valid case, you could be connected with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel.

What Is The Average Settlement For Prescription Error Claims?

Within prescription error claims, general and special damages could be awarded. General damages provide you with compensation for the physical and/or mental harm you have endured as a direct result of medical negligence. Special damages provide you with compensation for the past and potential future financial losses you have suffered due to the harm caused by medical negligence.

Examples of special damages you could claim include lost wages, travel expenses to medical appointments and having to pay for private medical care.

You will need to provide sufficient evidence to be able to successfully claim for either of these damages. Evidence for general damages could include a copy of your medical records. For special damages, this could be receipts, bank statements and invoices.

We have created the following compensation table to help you understand how much you could potentially receive in general damages. We have used the compensation brackets listed in the 16th edition of the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) when creating this table. This is because many legal professionals will use the JCG to assist them when valuing claims.

Bowels(b) The injury has resulted in total loss of natural bowel functions. A colostomy may be required.Up to £150,110
Bowels(c) The injury to the bowels could result in passive incontinence and faecal urgency. This could cause the person to suffer embarrassment or distress.In the reign of £79,920
Bladder(b) An injury to the bladder which causes a total loss of bladder function and control.Up to £140,660
Bladder(c) Bladder control has been seriously impaired. The person may suffer incontinence and some pain.£63,980 to £79,930
Kidney(b) The injury has significantly raised the risk of contracting a urinary tract infection or the total loss of the kidney function.Up to £63,980
Kidney(c) The injury has caused the loss of a singular kidney. The second kidney is not affected.£30,770 to £44,880
Lung Disease(d) A significant impact on working/social life due to breathing difficulties that require frequent inhaler usage.£31,310 to £54,830
Digestive System(b)(i) Hospital admission may be required due to severe toxicosis. This can cause a fever and vomiting. Continuing symptoms could impact quality of life and employment prospects. £38,430 to £52,500
Spleen Injury(a) The spleen has been lost. There is also the risk of contracting an internal infection due to the immune system being damaged.£20,800 to £26,290
Spleen Injury(b) There is low or no risk of internal infections or damage to the immune system.£4,350 to £8,640

Please note you may not receive the exact figures listed in this table. This is because how much you actually receive will depend on the specific factors to your claim, so only use this table as a guide. Please contact us today for free legal advice regarding your potential claim.

No Win No Fee Prescription Error Claims

Our panel of solicitors may be able to help you with your medical negligence claim on a No Win No Fee basis. With a No Win No Fee agreement, you will usually not have to pay any upfront solicitor fees to start your claim.

Additionally, you will generally not have to pay them for their services if your claim fails. However, if your claim wins, you will be expected to pay them a legally capped success fee from your compensation.

If you still have any questions regarding prescription error claims, you can contact our team of advisors. They are available to offer your free legal advice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Additionally, they can answer any questions you may have about making a valid medical negligence claim.

To speak to an advisor:

  • Call us on 0800 652 3087
  • Contact us via our online form.
  • Use the Live Support feature in the bottom left corner of this page.

Learn More About Prescription Error Compensation Claims

More articles on medical negligence claims:

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Contact our team of advisors today for more information on prescription error claims.

Writer Megan Riker 

Publisher Fern Stiles