Taking the wrong medication can have serious consequences – so if you’ve suffered as a result of a prescription error, you have the right to claim compensation.
We go to our local GP when we don’t feel well, expecting them to diagnose the problem and make us feel better. Sometimes, your doctor might prescribe medication to treat your condition – but what if it’s the wrong medication?
Or, what if your pharmacy mixes up your medication? Most medicine errors can have adverse effects of some kind – but you can do something about it.
You can make a prescription error claim. If you’d like to make a claim and recover your losses, speak to a fully trained legal advisor for free on 0800 234 6438.
Doctors are rushed off their feet, and most can only offer a ten-minute appointment to their patients. During those few minutes, they need to look at your symptoms, perform an examination and issue medication.
As you can imagine, there’s little time to do all this, and errors can happen. Looking through a patient’s entire medical file and noticing any possible interactions with current medications isn’t easy – but you have every right to claim compensation if your GP lets you down and you suffer as a result.
According to The Guardian, there were 6,000 prescription errors in 2021 alone, with 29 people dying – showing a significant problem with the NHS.
However, pharmacies can also make mistakes, so it’s essential to know where the error occurred.
Any prescription error can cause significant patient issues – especially when they receive the wrong prescription or suffer a drug interaction.
While serious illness can often be avoided by stopping taking the medication once you’ve realised it’s been wrongly prescribed, sometimes, even taking a small amount of incorrect medicines or tablets can cause serious damage to your body.
In the short term, taking incorrect prescriptions can cause mild symptoms such as nausea or headaches. But in more severe cases, you might experience:
As well as causing you to become ill, incorrect prescriptions can also mean you weren’t getting the treatment you needed in the first place – this can cause your condition to get worse, and can even have life-changing consequences.
Health care services in the UK are busier than ever, which means they’re often under pressure. As a result, mistakes can sometimes happen during patient care, including the prescription of incorrect medicines or drugs.
Nobody should have to deal with the consequences of someone else’s prescription error negligence. When you go to a medical professional, you put your full trust in their care and it can be upsetting when you don’t receive the standard of treatment you expected.
If you’ve been given the wrong type of medication, it can be difficult to know who was at fault – but you can ask for help. Call a trained legal adviser free on 0800 234 6438 and they can let you know whether they think you might be able to make a medical negligence claim.
It can sometimes be difficult to tell who’s at fault for a prescription error, but a trained legal adviser will be able to help you understand who’s liable, and whether you could make a compensation claim. You can talk to one for free on 0800 234 6438.
Errors can be made by any doctor or medical professional who prescribes medication or is responsible for giving you the correct dosage.
For example, a doctor or GP might misdiagnose your condition, or they may write you a prescription for antibiotics that contains an ingredient you’re allergic to, or something that’s incompatible with another medication you’re taking.
Pharmacists are usually responsible for dispensing your medication according to the prescription from your doctor. They must make sure not only to give you the correct product, but also the right dosage and instructions on how to take it. If they fail to do so, and you fall ill as a result, you could make a claim for compensation.
If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible for compensation, it might help to ask the following questions:
A breach of duty in healthcare occurs when a healthcare professional fails to provide the standard of care to which a patient is entitled. There are many potential breaches, including failing to properly diagnose a condition, to giving substandard treatment.
In some cases, a breach of duty may even be negligence, when a healthcare professional acts in a way that falls below the accepted standard of care and causes harm to the patient.
Prescribing medication can also breach duty of care because the wrong medicine can put the patient at risk.
So, if your doctor does this, you have the right to file for compensation.
Prescription errors can cause issues – with some being more serious than others. If you were slightly unwell or ended up in hospital, you can claim compensation.
A person might die due to the wrong dosage or medication that causes a reaction, but the next of kin can also make a claim on their behalf.
The National Health Service (NHS) is responsible for the majority of health care in the UK. This means when you receive poor treatment from NHS staff, it can feel even more frustrating.
The NHS do have a system in place for you to make a formal complaint, but if you’re not satisfied that your concerns and needs have been met, then you might think about making a compensation claim.
You may be worried that by making a claim against the NHS, you’ll be affecting the level of care that other patients receive. But the NHS is insured to deal with these types of cases, so your claim won’t stop other people getting the treatment they need.
Not everyone uses NHS doctors – some people prefer to pay for private treatment from independent doctors. You might be worried that if you’re starting a claim against a private clinician, then you won’t have the same protection as with the NHS. But that’s simply not the case.
All private health clinics are monitored and regulated by the Care Quality Commission, as well as the General Medical Council (GMC). This means that if you’ve been given an incorrect prescription from a private doctor, then that practice hasn’t followed the set code demonstrated by the GMC, and you could claim compensation.
Making the decision to claim following a prescription error can seem daunting, and if you’re still receiving treatment from the doctor or chemist who you think was at fault, then you might be worried that you’ll be treated differently as a result.
You don’t need to worry about this: by law, doctors and health care professionals must treat patients equally – even if you’ve made a complaint about their practice.
If you suspect that you’ve been given the wrong prescription by either your GP or chemist, you should:
Then, we’d recommend getting in touch with a trained legal adviser to find out more about making a compensation claim.
You can call one on 0800 234 6438 for free. They’ll be able to let you know whether they think you can claim, and they can pass you on to the right personal injury solicitor for your case.
The great thing about a no win no fee claim, is you won’t pay any fees unless your solicitor successfully secures compensation. In many ways, prescription errors can fall under medical negligence claims, so the legal team will need to discuss your symptoms and gather evidence.
The evidence might be hospitalisation reports, details about the wrong medication and anything else that will improve your claim.
Once the lawyer has all of the necessary evidence, they’ll meet with the negligent party and discuss your injuries. Both legal teams will negotiate compensation amounts, and the process should run relatively smoothly.
Unfortunately, in some cases, they won’t be able to reach an agreement, and you might go to court.
While legal proceedings are rare, they can be the best way to secure compensation – especially when the negligent party is unwilling to admit fault.
Once both sides reach an agreement, your lawyer will take their success fee out of the compensation amount, and you can move on with your life. You can then move on with your life, and use the money for private medical expenses, compensation for time off work and anything else.
If you’d like to discuss your eligibility to claim compensation or want some general free advice, call 0800 234 6438 and speak to an impartial legal advisor today. Or, use the online form to request a callback.
Any medical negligence isn’t acceptable, but once you go through the prescription error claims process, you can make sure the same mistakes don’t happen to others.
There’s no set time limit for a compensation claim because it depends on numerous factors. For example, no win no fee prescription error claims can be resolved if your lawyer has all the necessary evidence and the negligent party is receptive.
Some claims go through in weeks, while others take a bit longer. The critical thing to remember is that all claims revolve around medical professionals accepting responsibility, so the more evidence you have, the more likely you are to be successful.
Medication errors happen, and the maximum compensation you could receive depends on numerous factors. For example, your claim amount will be based on general and special damages.
General damages factor in the loss of amenities and general suffering the error causes, while special damages count for any expenses you’ve incurred due to the error.
There’s no set amount, so it’s best to speak to a trained legal advisor if you want to make a wrong prescription claim.
Making a prescription error compensation claim might seem harsh on the NHS, but your yearly taxes go toward the service, and you deserve the best treatment.
While you might feel guilty about making a claim, it’s important to remember that there were 19 fatalities due to prescription errors in 2021 alone.
Making a claim can prevent it from happening again and ensure your GP or pharmacy pays special attention to all patients in the future.
Also, if you’ve lost earnings or need to make adaptions to your home, you shouldn’t be out of pocket for someone else’s negligence. Medical negligence experts will help you recover your costs.
As with most personal injury claims, you have up to three years from when the initial incident occurred. However, as many prescription errors happen with children, the child has three years from the time they reach 18 to make a claim.
Families can also claim on behalf of a child, vulnerable adult or deceased family member.
There’s no guarantee that each claim will be successful, and some individuals try to take advantage of the situation. However, if healthcare professionals incorrectly prescribe you medication, then you have every right to make a claim.
Speaking to a legal advisory service will give you more clarity on the legitimacy of your claim – especially if you suffered harm due to the error.
Once you receive your compensation, it’s entirely up to you how you spend it. Most claims are paid in a single lump sum, but some receive money in increments until the compensation is paid in full.
You have complete control over how you spend that money, whether it’s on medical fees, home improvements, or anything else that will make your life easier.
Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.
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