By Marlon Marquardt. Last Updated 13th January 2023. There are many different types of medication errors that could occur. For instance, you may have received the wrong medication or wrong prescription or the wrong dosage of medication resulting in you sustaining harm.
The types of errors involving medication could happen in a hospital, dental practice, pharmacy or GP surgery. Furthermore, they could potentially occur in a private facility or NHS trust. However, when determining whether you could seek compensation, you must be able to demonstrate negligence occurred.
In this guide, we’ll explore examples of what medical negligence is and how it could result in an error with medication. We will also explain if you’re eligible to make a claim for a medication error and look at the compensation you may receive.
This guide will also help you understand the benefits of seeking legal representation from a No Win No Fee solicitor.
Although we have aimed to cover the information you need, we understand you may still have questions. If so, our team are available to help.
They can provide further clarification on anything of which you’re unsure and could let you know if you are eligible to claim compensation.
For more information, get in touch by:
How Do Medication Errors Happen?
As there are various types of medication errors, the causes may vary depending on the specific situation.
In some cases, a medical professional may have breached the duty of care they owe you to provide the correct standard of care. As a result, you may have experienced avoidable or further harm following an error with the medication you received.
However, it’s important to note that not all medication errors are a result of medical negligence. A healthcare professional could have done all they reasonably could to uphold their duty of care and you still experienced harm.
We’ll explore the different types of medication errors in more detail in the sections below.
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- What Are The Different Types Of Medication Errors Claims?
- Wrong Dosage Errors
- Harmful Drug Interactions
- Am I Eligible To Claim For A Harmful Medication Error?
- Medication Error Claims Compensation Calculator
- Learn More About Different Types Of Medication Errors Claims
Medication errors may involve a mistake made in the process of prescribing, dispensing, preparing, monitoring, administering or providing advice on medicines. There are various medical professionals who could make an error with your medication, including:
- Nurse practitioners
All medically trained professionals are responsible for providing you with the minimum standard of care to prevent you from sustaining avoidable harm.
If they fail to do so and you experience harm that could have been avoided or an additional injury, you may wish to make a medical negligence claim.
Medication errors could lead to physical and psychological damage, such as organ failure or post-traumatic stress disorder. For that reason, you could seek to be compensated for both types of harm.
If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible to claim, please continue reading. Alternatively, call our team to understand how different types of medication errors could lead you to put forward a claim.
There are a number of different types of medication errors, such as under medicating and over-medicating a patient. The following examples highlight how medical negligence could have resulted in a wrong medication dosage error:
- A doctor may have administered your child with an adult dosage causing them to experience symptoms of an overdose.
- A nurse may have dispensed a lower dosage of medication to a diabetic patient in a care home. As a result, the patient may have experienced symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis due to their body running low on insulin.
Both could lead to patients experiencing harm that could have otherwise been avoided.
The majority of medications have side effects. Often, these are unavoidable meaning that negligence may not have occurred if you suffer harm as a result of a side effect.
However, there are certain drugs that can’t be taken together. If they are, it could result in the drugs reacting together causing you harm. For example, one of the medications may become less effective when taken with the other.
In order to put forward a valid claim, the harm you sustained must have resulted from medical or clinical negligence.
For instance, your doctor may have failed to check the medication they’ve prescribed you is suitable to take with another medication you’re already taking. As a result, your body may react to the two medications causing you further harm that could have been avoided.
Types Of Medication Errors Involving Allergic Reactions
Different types of medication errors might include administering a drug that a patient is allergic to.
For instance, your doctor may have failed to check your patient notes before giving you a certain drug. As a result, you may have experienced a severe allergic reaction that put you into anaphylactic shock. In these circumstances, you will have had a known allergy.
However, there are circumstances where you may experience an allergic reaction to a drug for the first time.
In such cases, medical negligence may not have occurred as the harm you sustained couldn’t have been avoided.
As you can see, there are different types of medication errors that could cause you harm. However, in order to seek compensation, you must be able to demonstrate that a medical professional caused you harm after providing substandard care.
The Bolam test may be used to assess whether you were provided with the correct care. This involves a group of healthcare professionals from a relevant area of medicine looking at your case to see if the expected standard of care was met.
Alongside this, you will need to provide medical evidence to support your claim, such as:
- Doctor or hospital records
- Old prescriptions
- Medicine bottles or boxes that give details about your prescription
Furthermore, you may need to attend a medical appointment that can produce a report detailing the full extent and nature of the harm you sustained.
The process of claiming may seem complex so you may find it beneficial to seek help from a medical negligence solicitor. A solicitor can help you gather evidence that’s relevant to your claim.
Medication Errors – How Long You Have To Claim
As set out above, there are several types of medication errors, all of which can have different effects on a person. The manner in which you became aware of the problem can determine the time limit for your claim.
Generally, you will be expected to have started your claim within three years of the date when you received the wrong medication. However, if your illness or injury had not manifested immediately or you were not aware of what had caused it, you may be able to use a later date.
To succeed in this argument, you must prove that up until that point, you had no knowledge that you were suffering from an illness that you believed was down to the negligence of the defendant.
The three-year time limit does not apply to minors or people who are mentally incapable of representing themselves. Both their time limits are essentially suspended until either
- The minor turns 18 – at which point they will have three years from their 18th birthday to start a claim
- The person in question regains the mental capacity to represent themselves. They will then have three years from the date they are deemed able to represent themselves.
In both situations, a litigation friend can be appointed to officially represent them in a claim.
Please reach out to one of our advisers if you want more information about the different types of medical errors or examples of medical errors and harm you could be able to claim compensation for. We offer free advice, and there’s no obligation on your part to take any further action beyond that.
The exact amount of compensation you could receive for a medication error can vary as all cases are different. Generally, though, your claim may comprise:
- General damages: These compensate you for any physical or mental injuries you have sustained due to the medication error.
- Special Damages: These compensate you for financial losses, such as loss of income or expenses you had to payout.
General damages may be calculated by looking at:
- The severity of the harm you sustained
- How badly the harm you sustained affected your quality of life
- Any long-term impacts you might experience
Additionally, the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) may also be used to help when valuing your claim. The guidelines produced by the Judicial College provide bracket amounts for different types of injuries.
We have used these example figures to create the table below. The table includes injuries that might be sustained following different types of medication errors.
|(a) Brain damage that’s very severe and causes the person to require full-time care.
|£282,010 to £403,990
|(a) Where both kidneys have been seriously damaged or lost.
|(c) Cases involving control that has been seriously impaired. The person may also experience pain and incontinence.
|(c) A person may experience faecal urgency and passive incontinence that continues after surgery. It may cause distress and embarrassment.
|In the region
|Digestive System Damage Resulting from Traumatic Injury
|(a) Severe damage that has caused ongoing pain and discomfort.
|Digestive System Illness resulting from non-traumatic injury
|(i) Where severe toxicosis has caused someone to experience serious pain, vomiting, fever and diarrhoea. They will have been admitted to hospital and experienced ongoing symptoms.
|(b) Other pain disorders: (ii) A moderate pain disorder with ongoing symptoms that have an impact on work and daily life.
|£21,070 to £38,490
|(a) The person may have lost their spleen and faced a continuous risk of internal infection and disorders caused by damage to the immune system.
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
|(c) Moderate: The person will have mostly recovered and any symptoms that do persist won’t be majorly disabling.
|£8,180 to £23,150
|Psychiatric Damage Generally
|(d) Less severe: The compensation awarded is considered by how long the symptoms affect a person and how badly they affect a person’s daily activities and sleep.
|£1,540 to £5,860
If your injuries are not listed in the table above, you could contact one of our advisors to value your claim for free. Alternatively, they can provide further guidance on compensation for medical negligence.
Our panel of solicitors all operate on a No Win No Fee basis, meaning you have no upfront cost to pay.
This is an agreement between you and the solicitor that states if your claim wins, you will pay a success fee. The success fee is subject to a legal cap and is something you’ll be made aware of beforehand.
if your claim loses you won’t need to pay a success fee. There are also no ongoing costs to pay while your claim proceeds.
For more information on how you could work with a solicitor from our panel on this basis, call our team. They can assess whether you hold a valid claim. If you do, they can appoint a solicitor from our panel to start working on your case.
Alternatively, if you’re not yet ready to claim, they can advise on your next steps.
Either way, get in touch by:
Common Medical Negligence Claims
Below, we have provided some additional guides and external resources.
- This NHS guide explores medication errors.
- The Care Quality Commission provides information on the fundamental standards below which your care must not fall.
- Visit the General Medical Council to understand the role they play in overseeing registered doctors in the UK.
- To find out how long a medical negligence case takes, see our guide.
- Has your medication error caused you nerve damage? If so, this guide might help.
- For more information on making a claim following an accidental death, see this guide.
- If you’ve suffered a misdiagnosis of testicular cancer, you could be entitled to claim compensation under medical negligence law.
We hope our guide exploring the different types of medication errors has helped. However, if you have any other questions, please call our team on the number above.