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Drug Allergic Reaction Claims Guide – How To Claim Compensation For An Allergic Reaction To Medication?

By Olivia Evans. Last updated 8th April 2021. Welcome to our guide on how to make a drug allergic reaction claim.

If you suffer from a drug allergy, you’ll be very cautious about taking any type of medication. However, if a medical professional prescribes you a drug that contains the known allergen due to failure to consider your records, you could suffer an allergic reaction. If that’s the case, you could be entitled to make a drug allergic reaction compensation claim for your suffering. In this guide, we’ll look at types of allergic reactions to drugs, what can cause them and the suffering they can cause. We’ll also look at the circumstance that could entitle you to compensation.

drug allergic reaction claim

drug allergic reaction claim

Legal Expert offers free legal advice to those considering a medical negligence claim. We also provide a no-obligation assessment of your case. If your claim seems viable, we could introduce you to a solicitor. Should they agree to take your claim forward, it will be on a No Win, No Fee basis.

If you’d like to discuss your claim today, please call us on 0800 073 8804. Otherwise, if you’d like more information on claiming for a drug allergic reaction, please continue reading.

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A Guide To Drug Allergic Reaction Compensation Claims

Welcome to our guide on how to make a drug allergic reaction claim. Medication is an important part of medical treatment. Amongst other things, it can be used to ease pain, cure infections or manage symptoms. There are many ways in which medicine can be received too. It might be dispensed by a pharmacist following a prescription from a GP, administered during surgery or it could simply be an over the counter purchase. However the medicine is dispensed, and for whatever reason, if it contains something that you’re allergic to, you could suffer anything from mild to life-threatening injuries.

It’s important to note though, that suffering an allergic reaction doesn’t automatically entitle you to compensation. If the medical professional treating you, had no way of knowing that you were allergic to a drug, you wouldn’t be able to claim. In this guide, we’re going to discuss when you could claim compensation because a known allergen was given to you and it caused you to suffer.

We advise that, due to the complexities involved in proving medical negligence, you could use a specialist solicitor to help you claim. We’d also advise that you seek legal advice as soon as possible. That’s because, in England and Wales, there’s a 3-year time limit for negligence claims. This is the same as the personal injury claims time limit. For medical negligence claims, the time limit could begin from the date of the allergic reaction or from when you found out about the suffering caused.

As we progress through this guide, we’ll answer some common questions such as:

  • What are the signs of an allergic reaction to medication?
  • How long does it take for an allergic reaction to go away?
  • Can I claim for a delayed allergic reaction to drugs?

If you have any further questions about how to make a drug allergic reaction claim, please get in touch and ask a member of our team.

What Is An Allergic Reaction To A Medication?

An allergic reaction to medication happens when your immune system reacts abnormally to one of the ingredients. The reaction is a defence mechanism to something which is actually harmless. At this point, your body produces antibodies to fight the medication. It’s this reaction that causes the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Recovery time from an allergic reaction can range quite widely. Minor reactions could be over in a matter of minutes or hours. More severe cases can take longer to recover from and the most serious can be fatal.

In the coming sections of this drug allergic reaction claims guide, we’ll look at drug allergy symptoms, the differences between an allergic reaction and a side effect and also how a reaction is treated.

What Is The Difference Between An Allergic Reaction Or Side Effect Of A Drug?

While some side effects of drugs can produce similar symptoms to an allergic reaction, they are completely different things. An allergic reaction is caused by the body’s immune system. They only affect a small number of people. A side effect is something that is known to be caused by the drug, not the immune system, which could affect all patients.

For instance, according to the NHS, ibuprofen has known side effects including headaches, indigestion and nausea.

Please see the next section of this drug allergic reaction claims guide for information on drugs that could trigger an allergic reaction.

Drugs Which Could Commonly Cause An Allergic Reaction

There are a number of different medications which can cause an allergic reaction. If you’re known to be allergic to any of them, it should be clearly indicated on your medical records. Some of the more common medicines include:

  • Some chemotherapy drugs used in the treatment of cancer.
  • Painkillers including ibuprofen and aspirin.
  • Some antibiotics such as penicillin.
  • Medications used to treat autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

It’s important to note that any medication could cause an allergic reaction. Therefore, if you have a known allergy but were given medication that contained the allergen, you could still make a drug allergic reaction claim even if it’s not in the list above.

Non-Allergic Reactions To Medications

Something that can be confusing is that some drugs cause side effects with very similar symptoms to an allergic reaction. Non-allergic hypersensitivity reactions are different. They are not caused by the immune system or side effects. It’s important that a medical professional diagnoses the correct cause for the symptoms as treatment will be different in each case.

Symptoms Of A Drug Allergic Reaction

There are a number of different symptoms that could indicate an allergic reaction. These include:

  • Sneezing with a runny, itchy or blocked nose.
  • A raised red rash on the skin known as hives.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Wheezing or tight chest.
  • Swelling of the mouth, tongue, face or eyes.
  • Nausea or vomiting.

Each type of reaction will affect patients differently. Even if you suffer the symptoms listed, it might be a non-allergic reaction or known side effect of the drug. GPs or allergy clinics are able to perform allergy tests if they suspect you might be allergic to a particular drug. These can include spot testing where a small amount of the drug is placed onto the skin to see if a red rash appears. If so, it could indicate that you are allergic to the drug.

For more information on drug allergic reaction claims, please read on.

 

Severe Allergic Reactions And Anaphylaxis

In more serious allergic reactions, it’s possible that the patient could suffer anaphylaxis. This is a medical emergency which requires immediate treatment. Without it, anaphylaxis can be fatal.

Some of the symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Swelling of the mouth or throat.
  • Confusion, dizziness and lightheadedness.
  • Blue lips or skin.
  • Becoming unconscious or collapsing.
  • Diarrhoea or vomiting.
  • Drop in blood pressure or a weak, rapid pulse.
  • Nausea or abdominal cramps.

Anaphylaxis can affect the whole body. It will usually occur within minutes of taking the drug. Treatment should be sought immediately.

Treatment For Drug Allergic Reactions

Once your doctor has diagnosed that you are allergic to something, they might provide different drugs to try and manage any symptoms. The three most popular are:

  • Antihistamines – One of the things produced by the immune system during an allergic reaction is histamine. This can lead to symptoms like itching or swelling. The antihistamine can reduce the production of histamine to try and reduce these symptoms. Antihistamines are available as tablets, creams, nasal sprays or eye drops.
  • Bronchodilators – For allergic reactions that cause coughing or wheezing, bronchodilators can be prescribed. They are in powder or liquid form and usually taken via an inhaler or nebuliser.
  • Corticosteroids – These are used for reactions which cause swelling in the airways. They’re used to reduce the swelling which can make breathing difficult. These can be prescribed as nasal sprays, tablets, cream or can be taken via a nebuliser or inhaler.

For anaphylaxis, an auto-injector might be prescribed. This is a tool used to dispense adrenaline quickly to try and reduce symptoms. If the patient has an auto-injector, such as an EpiPen, they should use it if a reaction occurs. Emergency services should still be contacted according to the NHS.

For information on making a drug allergic reaction claim against a GP, please see the next section.

Drug Allergic Reaction Compensation Claims Against A GP

When you visit your GP because you’re unwell, they have a duty of care to ensure your safety. This means that they should follow correct procedures when treating you. It also means they should use systems that are effective. For instance, they should have a system for recording any drugs that you are allergic to. If these systems are inadequate or aren’t used when prescribing medicines, you could receive medication that you’re allergic to. If that happens, you could be entitled to claim compensation for any suffering caused.

Drug Allergic Reaction Compensation Claims Against A Hospital

In the same way as a GP, a hospital doctor should check your medical records before prescribing medicines. There are many scenarios within a hospital when this might happen. For instance:

  • During or following surgery.
  • While on a ward recovering from treatment.
  • When being discharged.

If at any point you are prescribed medication that you’re known to be allergic to, you could be entitled to compensation if it caused you suffering. That could even be the case in emergency situations. For instance, if you were incapacitated and couldn’t tell the doctor but the allergen was listed in your medical records, then you could still be entitled to make a drug allergic reaction claim.

Drug Allergic Reaction Compensation Claims Against A Pharmacy

While prescriptions are written by doctors, it is a pharmacist who has the responsibility for dispensing the correct medication. While the doctor will make checks for allergens prior to prescribing, if the pharmacist makes a mistake, those checks could be in vain. In this scenario, you could sue the pharmacist for any suffering their mistake caused.

The same is true when you purchase over the counter medication. Failure to highlight an allergen could also entitle you to make a drug allergic reaction claim.

Drug Allergic Reaction Compensation Claims Calculator

Now that we’ve explained how and why an allergic reaction to medical treatment might happen, we’re going to look at compensation amounts. The amount of compensation that could be paid is different in each case. Therefore, instead of using a personal injury claims calculator, we’ve provided the table below.

The figures in the table are based on a document known as the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This document is used by courts, insurers and solicitors to determine the correct level of compensation.

Updated April 2021.

ClaimCompensationDetails
Drug Allergic ReactionUp to 49,270Symptoms caused by an allergic reaction that could result in vomiting, diarrhoea, fever or acute pain. There will be a requirement for some days or weeks in hospital. Further ongoing symptoms like incontinence, haemorrhoids and irritable bowel syndrome could occur and there might be significant impact on the ability to work and enjoyment of life.
Drug Allergic ReactionUp to £18,020Symptoms caused by an allergic reaction that could result in short-lived but serious diarrhoea and vomiting which will reduce over a 2 to 4 week period. Enjoyment of food, sex life and bowel function all be affected for around a few of years.
Drug Allergic ReactionUp to £8,950Symptoms caused by an allergic reaction that could result in alteration of the bowel function as well as fatigue. There might be significant discomfort which requires hospitalisation for a few days. The early symptoms could last for around 2 weeks but complete recovery might take up to 1 to 2 years.
Drug Allergic ReactionUp to £3,710Symptoms caused by an allergic reaction that could result in varying degrees of disabling pain. These could include stomach cramps and diarrhoea which take a few weeks to recover from.
Mental Anguish£4,380
Psychiatric damage£1,440 to £5,500Cases falling short of specific phobias
Psychiatric damage£5,500 to £17,900Problems sleeping and completing usual activities
Psychiatric damage£17,900 to £51,460Optimistic prognosis
Post traumatic stress disorder £3,710 to £7,680Full recovery

You’ll notice that each injury is compensated based on how severe it was. Therefore, it’s important that your solicitor can show the true extent of your suffering. Otherwise, you might not receive the correct level of compensation. To help with this, our solicitors arrange for a medical assessment by an independent doctor as part of the drug allergic reaction claim process. This will usually be arranged locally to try and reduce the amount of travelling required.

Special Damages For A Medication Allergy Claim

A personal injury solicitor or medical negligence solicitor will include general and special damages in your claim. General damages are claimed to compensate you for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused by your injuries. The table from the previous section included examples of general damages amounts. Therefore, in this section, we’ll explain what special damages cover. Essentially, they are paid to compensate you for any financial losses caused by your injuries. They could include:

  • Medical Expenses.
    It’s possible that you’ll have to pay for prescription medication or over the counter treatments while recovering from the allergic reaction. Therefore, you could include these expenses in your claim.
  • Travel Costs.
    If you need to travel to and from medical appointments while recovering, you might incur fuel, parking or public transport costs. These could also be claimed back.
  • Care Expenses.
    The cost of a carer is something else you could claim back if one is required to assist you while recovering. This could include professional carer’s fees or the time of a family member who supported you.
  • Lost Earnings.
    It’s possible that any time off work to recover or attend medical appointments could result in reduced pay. If that’s the case, you could ask for the lost earnings back.
  • Future Loss of Income.
    Finally, if your allergic reaction impacts on your ability to work in future, it could cause future lost income too. Factors considered in this part of your claim include your age, salary and job prospects.

 You’ll need to provide evidence to support the special damages part of your drug allergic reaction claim. This could include receipts and bank statements. It can also be useful to keep a diary of your expenses so it’s easier to explain them to your solicitor when asked.

No Win No Fee Drug Allergic Reaction Compensation Claims

We believe you should be able to claim compensation without worrying about the costs involved. That’s the reason that we work on a No Win, No Fee basis. This service gives you peace of mind and the confidence to claim because the financial risk is reduced.

The solicitor will begin by assessing your claim to see if a successful outcome is possible. If they think there is, you’ll be given a No Win, No Fee agreement to sign. This is also referred to as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).

drug allergic reaction claim

drug allergic reaction claim

The CFA will explain that there are no upfront fees to pay and nothing to pay during the claim either. It will also explain that the solicitor will ask for a contribution towards their fees if they win the case for you. This is called a success fee and it’s deducted from your compensation at the end of the claim. Don’t worry though as success fees are legally capped.

To find out if you could make a drug allergic reaction claim on a No Win, No Fee basis, please call an advisor today.

Drug allergic reaction claim FAQs

What is an allergic reaction?

Allergic reactions to drugs are the result of the immune system mistakenly interpreting certain drugs as a threat and treating them as such. This can trigger allergic reaction symptoms.

Can you sue for allergic reaction?

Providing you can determine that your suffering was a result of third-party negligence, you could have grounds to sue.

How common are drug allergies?

According to the NHS, 5-10% of people in the UK suffer a drug allergy.

How can negligence be established?

If your case meets the following criteria, negligence can typically be established:

  • A third party owed you a duty of care
  • They failed to uphold this duty
  • You suffered subsequently

How can a No Win No Fee agreement help?

No Win No Fee agreements have no upfront or hidden fees and a lawyer working on this basis will only charge you if they win your case. Therefore, you’ll never pay out of pocket. Instead, you’ll pay a small percentage of your payout to them.

Where can I find a lawyer to handle my case?

You need only pick up the phone to contact our team at Legal Expert, where we can then connect you to our panel of personal injury lawyers if we believe you have a valid claim.

Who are Legal Expert?

At Legal Expert, we are a claims management company and have a panel of personal injury lawyers with over 30 years of experience in the claims industry. They have the expertise and dedication required to win you the compensation you deserve and always work on a No Win No Fee basis.

How can I get in touch with a personal injury lawyer from Legal Expert?

Please see the next section for some contact information.

Start Your Claim

Hopefully, you’ve now decided whether you’re going to claim for a medication allergic reaction or not. If you are, and you’d like Legal Expert to help you, here’s how you can get in touch:

  • You can call a member of our team on 0800 073 8804 to begin your claim.
  • If you’d like us to call you back, please complete our claims form.
  • You could chat with a member of our team online via our live chat feature.
  • Or, finally, you could send an email explaining what happened to info@legalexpert.co.uk.

Remember, we offer a free assessment of any claim. We’ll also provide free legal advice about your options. Also, if your claim might be successful, one of our solicitors could help you claim on a No Win, No fee basis. Please get in touch today to discuss your claim and find out whether you could be eligible to claim compensation. The advice we provide is completely free and there’ll be no pressure for you to make a claim.

Essential References

As we’ve come to the end of this guide about making a drug allergic reaction compensation claim, we’ve provided you with some more useful information. We’ve linked to some external resources as well as more of our guides.

Wrong Medication Rights – Information on your right to make a claim after being given the incorrect medication.

Pharmacy Negligence Claims – A guide which explains when you could claim for mistakes made by a pharmacy using a lawyer.

Hospital Negligence – This guide looks at scenarios where claims could be made against a hospital.

NHS Medicine List – The complete list of drugs and medications currently available via the NHS. It also includes a list of known side effects for each drug.

The Care Quality Commission – This is where you can read inspection reports from the CQC for hospitals, GP surgeries and care homes.

Antibiotics Side Effects – Information on antibiotics including the symptoms of an allergic drug reaction.

If you require any further information on claiming for suffering caused by a medication allergic reaction, please speak with an advisor today.

Other Useful Compensation Guides

Thanks for reading our drug allergic reaction claims guide.

Written By Hambridge

Edited By Melissa.

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