You might be forgiven for thinking that claiming compensation for being prescribed the wrong medicine should be an open and shut case. After all, somebody has prescribed you or dispensed you with an incorrect medication and, if you have suffered an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition, you should be compensated for the “adverse event”. Unfortunately it is not as simple as that.
A claim for a medication error can result from many different scenarios. You may have been prescribed the wrong type of medicine, the wrong dosage of medicine, or the wrong length of time you should be taking the medicine. Medicines could have been prescribed for you that react with other medicines you are already taking or cause an allergic reaction by themselves.
The error could have been made by a hospital, a GP or a pharmacist; and although these individuals have a duty of care to prescribe the correct medicine for you, you too have a responsibility to ensure that the medicine prescribed for you is the correct type and strength to treat your condition. There is also the potential issue of contributory negligence if you were aware that the medicine was causing an adverse event, but you continued to take it regardless.
Making a Claim for a Medication Error
Therefore, in order to make a claim for a medication error, your solicitor will ask you for access to your medicalrecords. Your medical records will be reviewed by an independent medical expert to determine the reason for the wrong medication being prescribed to you, and how likely it was that the mistake would result in an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition.
If the negligence of a doctor, GP or pharmacist is established, your solicitor will send a “Letter of Claim” to the negligent party (NHS Trust, GP practice or pharmacy). The Letter advises that you have suffered an adverse event due to negligence, and that you are claiming compensation for being prescribed the wrong medicine.
The negligent party has ninety days to conduct its own investigation and respond to the claim for a medication error. If liability for your injury is admitted, your solicitor will start settlement negotiations. If liability for your injury is contested, it may be necessary to pursue court action to have your claim for a medication error resolved.
How Much Compensation for being Prescribed the Wrong Medicine?
How much compensation for being prescribed the wrong medicine you will be entitled to will depend on the nature and extent of the injury you have sustained. Your solicitor will consult the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines for General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, and adjust the published value of your injury to account for your age and general state of health before the mistake was made.
Your solicitor will also account for any deterioration in your quality of life you have experienced, and any diagnosed psychological injury that is attributable to the medication error. You will also be able to recover compensation for being prescribed the wrong medicine for any expenses you have incurred – or may incur in the future – and any loss of income if you have been unable to return to work.
Once the total amount of compensation for being prescribed the wrong medicine has been calculated, it may be adjusted for your contributory negligence if you continued to take the medication after suffering an adverse event. If this is the case, you will assign a percentage liability for your own lack of care, and that percentage will be deducted from the settlement of your claim for a medication error.
Independent Information about Compensation for Medication Errors
Because it is necessary to determine exactly what caused your injury or deterioration of an existing condition – and exactly how the error occurred – it is advisable to seek professional legal advice about claiming compensation for being prescribed the wrong medicine. In this respect, we invite you to call our MedicalNegligence Advice Bureau and speak with a medical negligence solicitor.
Our solicitor will be able to answer any legal questions you may have about claiming compensation for being prescribed the wrong medicine and explain the process for establishing negligence as it applies in your particular circumstances. Making a claim for a medication error can be more complicated than you imagine. Make sure you receive independent and impartial legal advice by calling our Medical Negligence Advice Bureau today.