My Doctor Prescribed The Wrong Dosage, Could I Claim?
By Cat Way. Last Updated 21st June 2023. Doctors have undertaken years of training to be able to diagnose and treat patients including prescribing the correct medication when required. If a doctor prescribes their patient with the wrong dosage of medication, it can cause the patient further ill health in a variety of ways. It may be that they have prescribed too weak a dose that therefore does not treat the problem sufficiently, or prescribed a dosage that is too strong which could result in other problems.
Regardless of how your doctor has prescribed the wrong dosage of medication, if you have become ill as a result of their negligence, you may be able to claim compensation. Legal Expert has an experienced team of personal injury solicitors who can give you the help and guidance you need if you have been prescribed the wrong dosage of medication and would like to discuss your options. You can call us free on 0800 073 8804.
Select a Section
- How To Make Wrong Medication Claims
- What Is A Medication Dosage Error?
- How May Prescription Errors Happen?
- Under-Prescribing Dosage Errors
- Over-Prescribing Dosage Errors
- My Doctor Prescribed The Wrong Dosage – How Much Compensation Could I Claim?
- How To Prove A Doctor Prescribed The Wrong Dosage
- Claiming For Medical Negligence With No Win No Fee Solicitors
If you have suffered avoidable harm after receiving the wrong prescription or because of another medication error, you may be wondering whether you could claim compensation.
Not all prescription errors will necessarily form the basis of a valid claim. In order to seek compensation, you must prove that medical negligence has occurred. This means a medical professional has breached the duty of care they owed you and caused you to suffer unnecessary harm as a result.
If you do have a valid claim, then there are few steps that you can follow:
- Gather evidence to support your claim.
- Seek legal advice.
In addition to these steps, it’s also important that you seek medical advice. The wrong dosage of a medication, even if the medication itself is correct, can have adverse effects on your health in some cases.
If you need guidance on how to claim, or how much compensation you could be owed, get in touch with our advisors today.
A medication dosage error is when a doctor prescribed the wrong dosage of medication, such as prescribing the wrong strength of the medication, or prescribing the wrong amount of medication to be taken in a set time period. Making an error such as this is classed as medical negligence and can have serious and sometimes life-threatening repercussions. Wrong dosage errors include:
- Prescribing too weak a dose making the medication ineffective
- Prescribing too strong a dose causing the patient to overdose
- The strength prescribed is wrong for a certain age, such as giving an adult’s strength, or dose, of medication to a child
Incorrect dosage of medication can lead to all manner of health problems, sometimes having very serious and permanent side effects. As an example, if a doctor prescribed the wrong dosage of the painkiller paracetamol causing the patient to take too much, this could potentially cause irreversible damage to the liver which essentially can lead to liver failure or loss of life.
As medical professionals, doctors are trained extensively in diagnosing and treating illnesses and diseases in order to help people live a healthy and long life. They have a medical duty of care to their patients to use their medical knowledge and expertise to treat them in accordance with their speciality in the medical field. If they make an error due to negligence and the patient suffers as a result, they could be found in breach of their duty of care.
Prescribing errors may happen due to a number of different reasons, such as being overworked and therefore overtired, lack of knowledge about a patient, distractions, general careless mistakes and so on. But when a patient’s health is in the balance, there is no excuse for this kind of medical negligence. Ineffective prescribing means that the medication will not have the desired effect on the patient’s diagnosed condition and therefore doesn’t work, and so is ineffective. This can lead to the patient’s condition worsening, which in some circumstances could have devastating consequences. Ineffective prescribing could be that a certain drug prescribed has had no beneficial effect on the patient due to its unsuitability, or that the dose prescribed was incorrect for the condition possibly resulting in not only worsening of the diagnosed condition but possibly also leading to other related problems in the patient’s health occurring.
Medical professionals such as doctors need to take care when attending to a patient and deciding on the course of medication they require. With the thousands of illnesses and diseases that exist and the many types of medicines and dosages available, if in any doubt about the right type of medication or dosage for a particular condition, they can refer to the BNF or (British National Formulary) or BNCF for children, produced by the National Institute for Health Care Excellence (NICE).
Under prescribing means that the medication prescribed for a particular condition is either inappropriate, or the dosage is too low to have any useful effect on the condition. If a patient is given too weak a dose of medication, then it is unlikely to have the desired effect resulting in the condition not getting any better or even worsening over time possibly leading to other health complaints.
For instance, if someone is in need of blood pressure tablets which are essential for treating high blood pressure to lessen the likelihood of the patient suffering heart disease or having a stroke, and is given too weak a dose, then the blood pressure may remain at an elevated level, and therefore the risk of heart disease and stroke will remain high. Or if a cancer patient is put on a course of chemotherapy, but the dosage is too low, it may not be strong enough to kill the cancerous cells which could have devastating consequences as this may give cancer more time to grow and spread.
Another example is if a patient with diabetes is prescribed too low a dose of diabetic treatment, their sugar levels could become dangerously high putting extra pressure on the kidneys and if pro-longed, eventually lead to kidney damage or even failure as well as other health problems.
Regardless of the reasoning behind a wrong dose prescribed by a doctor failing to prescribe the correct dose may be an act of medical negligence and if a patient is injured as a result, they could be eligible to make a personal injury claim for damages.
If you have been injured due to a doctor under prescribing medication to treat your health complaint, speak to Legal Expert to find out if you have a valid claim.
Over-prescribing is a term used when a doctor prescribes too high a dose of medicine by either prescribing too high a strength of a medication, prescribing it too often or prescribing it for too long a period of time. In fact, sometimes treatment with medication is not needed at all but still is prescribed.
Over-prescribing with the wrong dose can have dangerous consequences as effectively it can mean that a patient overdoses on the given medication which can then have catastrophic adverse effects on the body and in some cases result in loss of life.
However it has occurred, if a patient has become further ill due to their doctor over-prescribing and therefore giving the incorrect dosage of medication, they may have good reason to make a claim.
You may be wondering how much compensation you could claim if your doctor prescribed the wrong dosage. There are two heads of claim that you can pursue; general damages, and special damages. General damages are awarded to every successful claimant, and this head of claim addresses the harm you have suffered, both physically and mentally.
When solicitors, lawyers, and other legal professionals value this head of claim, they may refer to the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This document offers guideline settlement awards for various types of harm. In the table below, you can see some examples of these amounts taken from the 16th edition of the JCG.
|Type of Injury||Award Amount||Comments|
|Poisoning - Minor||£910 to £3,950||Varying degrees of stomach pain such as cramps, and diarrhoea lasting for few days or weeks|
|Poisoning - Moderate||£3,950 to £9,540||Significant level of pain, stomach cramps, nausea, muscle pain, possibly needing hospital treatment|
|Poisoning Moderate - Severe||£9,540 to £19,200||Significant higher level of pain, stomach cramps, nausea, muscle pain, fever, lasting 2-4 weeks, hospital treatment likely to be needed|
|Poisoning Very Severe||£38,430 to £52,500||Serious toxicosis, causing acute level of pain, stomach cramps, nausea, muscle pain, fever, requiring hospital admission and long term treatment|
|Mental Anguish||£4,670||Fear of impending death or expectation of loss of life|
Special damages is the head of claim that covers the financial losses you experience due to the harm you suffered from being prescribed the wrong medication. For example, you could claim for:
- Lost earnings.
- Travel expenses.
- Childcare costs.
- Prescription costs.
- The cost of domestic help.
You must be able to prove your losses to claim under this head. As such, keeping any relevant bank statements or invoices could be helpful.
To learn more about claiming compensation if your doctor prescribed the wrong medication or dosage, causing you harm, call our team of advisors.
In order to make a successful medical negligence claim, you would need to prove that a doctor prescribed you the wrong dosage and it caused you an illness or any pre-existing symptoms to get worse. A medical assessment could help to prove that you have been impacted negatively by a wrong dosage – if you receive a medical report from this, you could use this in your claim. Some other forms of evidence that could help your claim include:
- A copy of the prescription given by the doctor. This could be compared with the standard prescription you should have received for your condition.
- A medical record from a GP if you have received treatment for any side effects of taking the wrong medication or dosage.
- Receipts of prescription costs relating to the medical negligence.
- Reports from anyone who can confirm that you received a service that was below the minimum standard of care.
Legal Expert solicitors could help you gather the evidence you need to support your claim. To find out more about prescription error claims, get in touch at any time.
How Long Do I Have To Claim?
Generally, you will have three years to start a medical negligence claim, as set out by the Limitation Act 1980. This begins on the date you were harmed or on the date that you connect the harm you have suffered with negligence.
There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if you are under eighteen when you are harmed, the time limit does not come into force until your eighteenth birthday. From your 18th birthday, you will have three years to start your claim. While the time limit is frozen, a litigation friend can begin proceedings on your behalf.
The time limit is indefinitely frozen for those who lack the mental capacity to claim for themselves. A litigation friend could act on their behalf during this time. If they were to regain this mental capacity, they will have three years to start a claim from the date of recovery if one was not already made on their behalf.
For more information on time limits in medical negligence claims, get in touch with our team of friendly advisors.
If you’re claiming for medical negligence that occurred when a doctor prescribed the wrong dosage and you’re seeking legal support, you might benefit from hiring a No Win No Fee solicitor. They could offer you a Conditional Fee Agreement, a variation of a No Win No Fee contract that typically entails no upfront costs or ongoing fees during the claims process.
Furthermore, under this arrangement, your solicitor won’t ask you to pay them if your claim is not successful. If your claim does succeed, your solicitor will take a percentage of your compensation. However, the success fee they deduct is legally capped under the Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013.
Speak to our advisors if you’re interested in claiming after suffering avoidable harm as a result of being prescribed the wrong dosage of medication. They could connect you with one of our expert No Win No Fee solicitors if they feel you have a valid claim.
Below are a few ways you can get in touch with us:
- Call for free at any time on 0800 073 8804
- Complete an online claim form for a free callback
- Pop up to an online claims advisor using our 24/7 live support service
Essential Medical And Claims References
Wrong Medication Claims – This guide goes into detail about claiming compensation if you have been prescribed the wrong medication.
Doctor/GP Negligence Claims – This detailed guide explains how to make a claim against your doctor for negligence.
Medical Negligence Claims – General information regarding making a medical negligence claim can be found here.
NHS Resolution – This guide is by the NHS and gives useful advice for potential claimants.
NHS.UK – The following is a PDF guide for prescription writing according to British National Formulary guidelines.