I Was Harmed By A Prescription Error, How Do I Claim?

Prescription errors can occur in a variety of settings and result in a myriad of injuries and illnesses. If a mistake has been made by a medical professional that involves prescription medication, then your health could be affected as a result. If so, and the mistake was caused by negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

Prescription errors claims

A guide on claiming for prescription errors

Medical negligence such as this can be a little bit of a grey area. It can be a daunting task figuring out whether what you experienced falls under this category. Our advisors are here and waiting to answer any questions you may have.

Errors in prescription medication can be caused in a few different ways. The side effects can also vary. We’ll be discussing this and more, over the course of this article. If you reach out to us, we may be able to connect you with an expert solicitor who could help you with your claim on a No Win No Fee basis.

But first, we need to know more about your circumstances. The best way for us to do this is to speak to us directly. Read on for more information.

Select A Section

  1. What Are Claims For Prescription Errors?
  2. What Types Of Prescription Errors You Could Claim For?
  3. Who Could You Make Prescription Error Claims Against?
  4. Do I Have A Prescription Error Claim?
  5. I Was Harmed By Prescription Errors, How Much Can I Claim?
  6. Why Choose Advice.co.uk?

What Are Claims For Prescription Errors?

As mentioned above, there is more than one incident that could be described as a prescription error. However, a mistake being made with your prescription is not enough to make a claim. The health professional’s error must lead to your health being impacted in a negative manner, and it must’ve been caused by negligence. Otherwise, there could be no claim to be made.

It’s not just doctors who can make prescription errors. Nurses, GPs, surgeons, and even dentists can all make mistakes of this nature. Whilst staff may not generally issue a prescription, they can be responsible for duties such as dispensing and administering the medication. 

Therefore, even if the medication is prescribed correctly and clearly, the wrong drug could be dispensed, or the wrong dosage may be administered to the patient. Depending on the circumstances, these scenarios could all be considered medical negligence.

The Medicines Act 1968 defines categories of medicine, including those only to be available by prescription.

What Types Of Prescription Errors Could You Claim For?

This section focuses on some examples of some prescription errors that could lead to you making a claim for compensation. If you are still unsure then you can read this guide which goes in depth about the eligibility criteria for making a prescription error claim.

  • Inappropriate medication being prescribed – for example, if you are allergic to it, or it doesn’t mix well with medication you are already taking and this information is known to your doctor or on your medical record.
  • Prescribing ineffective medication – it’s possible that you could be a victim of misdiagnosis despite clear symptoms. If so, you may be given the wrong medication and your condition would remain untreated.
  • Administering an improper dose – even if the correct medication is prescribed, it could be that the dose is calculated incorrectly, even though directions are clear. Doses that are too high, or even too low, both carry with them their own risks.

Dispensing Errors

When medication is dispensed (often by a pharmacist), utmost care must be taken the ensure that no mistakes are made. Otherwise, the recipient of the incorrect mediation could be caused harm.

Some possible causes of these kinds of errors include:

  • Inadequate training – all members of staff should be properly trained to carry out their roles effectively. Otherwise, avoidable mistakes could be made.
  • Carelessness – the pharmacist may have been distracted at the time of dispensing. However, this could still be considered medical negligence.
  • Lost information – misplacing a patient’s records could result in the required medication not being dispensed at all. This means that their condition could go untreated and may become worse. 

Who Could You Make Prescription Error Claims Against?

Following injuries caused by negligent prescription errors, you may be able to make a claim for compensation. However, you may be confused as to who the claim would actually be made against.

We are here to tell you that the claim is generally not made directly against the healthcare professional. Therefore, they do not pay the settlement directly. The claim would generally be made against the healthcare institution or pharmacy, depending on where the fault lies.

If you were treated by someone who was an employee of the National Health Service (NHS), then your claim could be made against the NHS. For private healthcare companies, you may need to claim against the company or the facility where you were treated.

Our advisors can help you if you have been injured due to prescription errors caused by negligence. Why not get in touch?

Do I Have A Prescription Error Claim?

As mentioned above, it can be tricky sometimes for you to work out whether or not what you have experienced could be counted as a legitimate claim. Luckily, our advisors are here to help you. 

Speak to us today and we can give you advice specific to your circumstances. 

What Limitation Period Applies To My Claim?

The Limitation Act 1980 tells us that you generally have 3 years to start a medical negligence claim. This time limit can be from the date you were injured. Although, sometimes your symptoms may not present themselves right away. In other words, you may not know there was a negligent error with your prescription until days, or even weeks later.

Therefore, the date that you become aware of your illness being caused by negligence can also be used as the start date of your 3-year time limit. It’s called the date of knowledge.

Additionally, the time limit for claims involving injuries to children is frozen, until they reach their 18th birthday. Until then, the claim can only be made with the help of a legally appointed adult called a litigation friend.

A litigation friend may also claim on behalf of those who lack the mental capacity to claim. Claimants who fall under this category also have their time limit suspended. It will only begin if their mental capacity reached a point where they are deemed capable of pursuing their own claim. The 3-year time limit would start from that date of recovery (unless a claim has already been made on their behalf). 

I Was Harmed By Prescription Errors, How Much Can I Claim?

When you have been injured due to negligence, there could be certain costs that arise as a result. Even though you may need to pay them at the time, it’s possible that you could have these costs reimbursed to you.

These figures are called special damages, and you’ll need to present evidence in order for them to be considered eligible for reimbursement. Receipts and payslips are good examples of this.

Loss of earnings, medical costs, travel costs, and more could fall under special damages.  

General Damages

There is also a sum known as general damages. This is the figure awarded to you for your physical pain and psychological injuries. In this section, we’ve included some example entries from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). 

This is the publication that legal professionals use to assist them in working out the value of a claim. As you can see from the compensation table below, each entry has a range of figures alongside it. These figures are based on past court cases.

Injury Description Amount
Mental anguish (E) Expectation of death £4,380
Brain damage (b) Moderately severe £205,580 to £264,650
Psychiatric damage (d) Less severe £1,440 to £5,500
Sight (e) Total loss of sight in one eye £46,240 to £51,460
Male reproductive system (b)(i) Sterility, loss of sexual function In the region of £139,210
Digestive system (b) Illness – (i) Severe, with acute pain, fever, vomiting and more £36,060 to £49,270
Bladder (c) Impaired function, some, incontinence £60,050 to £75,010
Shoulder (e) Clavicle fracture £4,830 to £11,490
Arm (E)(i) Amputation at the shoulder Not less than £128,710
Wrist (e) Simple Colles’ fracture In the region of £6,970

If you’d like our advisors to value your claim for free, why not get in touch?

Why Choose Advice.co.uk?

A big advantage to getting in touch with us is our panel of solicitors. They all work on a No Win No Fee basis. This is means that you are only required to pay their fee if they are successful in helping you get compensation. Then, their fee is taken from your settlement in the form of a small and legally capped percentage.

If your claim is unsuccessful under a No Win No Fee agreement, you don’t have to pay them their fee. So, get in touch today if you have any questions on claims involving prescription errors.

Additional Resources

Our general guide on how to prove medical negligence in a compensation claim.

What to do if there is a medication error at a nursing home.

An article of ours on pharmacy prescription errors.

The NHS Resolution Annual Report for 2020/21.

Help with grief after bereavement.

An NHS overview of clinical depression.

Page by LY 

Published by HE