A Guide to Bed Sores/Pressure Sore Negligence Compensation Claims – How To Claim?
By Mark Ainsdale. Last Updated 3rd August 2021. Welcome to our guide on how to make pressure sore claims.
Here, we explain how personal injury claims work and how you could get the bed sores compensation you deserve. We have also updated our guide with a compensation calculator table to help you see how much you could claim for pressure sores.
Pressure on the skin for prolonged periods of time can often cause injuries to the skin and the underlying tissue, and these are known as bed sores or pressure ulcers. It is estimated that at least 500,000 people per year may develop a pressure ulcer or bedsore in the UK. Although anyone can experience a pressure ulcer, they are usually prevalent in immobile and confined to a bed or chair or those in a wheelchair, such as patients in a hospital or those in a care or residential home.
In fact, 2 out of 3 people who experience pressure ulcers are over the age of seventy. Any situation where a person is immobile and sat or lying down for long periods of time will increase the chances of developing a pressure ulcer.
Again, people who develop pressure ulcers or bedsores are immobile and cannot physically move into a different position. In contrast, a healthy or younger person will automatically move if they start to feel uncomfortable.
Therefore, medical or care staff should regularly move these people as part of their care plan to ensure that pressure ulcers do not develop. However, if the staff become negligent in their care duties, this will leave the patient or older person at risk.
Pressure ulcers and bedsores can be extremely painful and distressing, and if left untreated, could become infected and result in a serious risk of gangrene or blood poisoning developing. Bedsores and pressure ulcers are preventable if the correct care is taken, so some neglect has usually taken place for them to develop. If this is third-party negligence, meaning someone owing you a legal duty of care failed to uphold it, then you may have the right to make pressure sore claims.
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Select a Section
- Who is legally responsible for pressure ulcer legal cases?
- Bed sores hospital negligence
- Providing the correct care in pressure sores compensation cases
- The different stages of bed sores
- Eligibility to make a bed sores compensation claim
- Pressure sore compensation NHS
- How much can I claim for bed sores compensation? (Updated April 2021)
- A guide to No Win No Fee bed sores compensation claims
- How Legal Expert can help you make pressure sores compensation claims
- Why choose us for your Bed Sores Compensation claim?
- FAQs On Bed Sores Compensation Claims
Let’s begin discussing pressure sore claims by explaining the condition. Pressure ulcers and bedsores are mostly preventable, so their occurrence can often indicate that the injured person has been receiving substandard care, and the healthcare professionals responsible for providing the care should be held accountable for their neglect.
Pressure sores normally develop after pressure has been applied to a certain part of the body for a prolonged period of time, resulting in pain and distress for the sufferer. If the sores are left untreated, they can become not only extremely painful. Still, they can pose a serious health risk due to complications that can ensure the development of a bedsore, and in extreme cases, even result in death.
Pressure sore negligence claims can be brought against those in charge of providing sufficient quality of care to those with restricted mobility if proven that they are in breach of this duty of care.
Depending on the severity of the bed sores or pressure ulcers, recovery can be a long, painful process and pressure sore compensation claims must reflect this. Legal Expert can help you get the compensation award you deserve for the pain and suffering you have endured. Contact us about pressure sore claims.
Hospitals and care homes legally have a duty of care to ensure they identify which of their patients or residents may be at risk of developing pressure ulcers or bedsores so they can include preventative measures in their individual care plans. NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence), along with the Royal College of Nursing, has put together guidelines on how to identify, prevent and treat bed and pressure sores. All new patients and residents should be assessed when admitted into a hospital or care home to determine their risk factors. This should be done using the Waterlow Score. The Waterlow is basically a risk assessment chart that is made up of seven areas:
- A visual assessment of the skin
- Whether a person is incontinent or not
- A person’s mobility level
Along with these, the medical professional carrying out the assessment needs to use their own clinical judgment and look at special risk factors such as whether a person is malnourished, has undergone surgery or trauma, has any neurological deficits, and what medication they need may be taking.
Taking all of these into account, the Waterlow score can then be found:
- A person ‘at risk’ will have a score of 10-14
- Someone at ‘high risk’ will have a score of 15-19
- A score above 20 shows that a person is at ‘very high risk.’
The patients or residents identified as being at risk should be provided with the correct bedding and mattress and receive the proper nursing care to prevent them from developing pressure ulcers.
Bedsores hospital negligence cases can be brought against the hospital or care home if they do not provide the correct care or treatment and a patient or resident goes on to develop bedsores.
If you or a family member has developed bed sores or pressure ulcers due to receiving substandard care whilst in a hospital or a care home, then you could make a bed sores compensation claim. Legal Expert has a lot of experience in pressure sore claims and can help you get the pressure sores compensation award that you or your loved one deserve; contact us today for free legal advice around making a claim.
This section will detail the proper levels of care to reduce the risk of pressure sores and bedsores compensation claims being made. After someone has been assessed to determine their risk factor of developing bed sores or pressure ulcers, if they are at significant risk, then certain care methods should be put in place and the correct equipment provided to prevent the pressure ulcers from occurring.
Special skin assessments should be carried out by a specially trained medical professional, taking into account any discomfort or pain experienced by the individual.
- The assessment should look for skin integrity in areas under pressure.
- They should look for any skin discolouration or colour changes.
- Any changes in heat, moisture (changes may be because of incontinence, oedema, or the skin may be inflamed and dry), and firmness must be recorded.
Any erythema or skin discolouration discovered in the skin assessment should be assessed to determine if it is blanched by a process called finger palpation or diascopy.
Preventative action for those found to have non-blanching erythema needs to begin, and a skin assessment should possibly be carried out every two hours until the problem is resolved.
Patients or residents found to be at risk of developing pressure ulcers should be encouraged to change their position at least every six hours. If they cannot do this themselves due to reduced mobility, then care staff should help them do so using the correct equipment if required. Their repositioning should record time and current position for any pressure sore claims.
Patients considered to be at high risk should move position, or be moved, at least every four hours rather than six. Again, any repositioning should be recorded.
High-specification foam mattresses should be provided for anyone at risk of developing pressure sores. These redistribute surface pressure and so help to prevent pressure ulcers.
Similarly to the mattresses, high-specification foam cushions should be provided to those in chairs or wheelchairs for prolonged periods.
Barrier creams should be used for those at risk where skin conditions can be affected by incontinence, oedema, or dry and inflamed skin identified during the skin assessment.
Failure to provide the above care methods and equipment would mean that the hospital or care home is in breach of their duty of care to their patient or resident, so pressure sore claims may be brought against them for negligence.
Distortion of the skin and underlying tissue caused by prolonged pressure on the skin, if left, will directly result in a pressure ulcer or bedsore.
The continued pressure on the skin stops the blood from flowing freely to the skin, and this lack of blood flow effectively starves the skin of oxygen and essential nutrients. This then results in the skin breaking down and start to form ulcers.
There are four different grades of pressure sores, depending on their severity.
- Grade 1 – At this stage, the pressure sores are milder, and only the upper layer of skin is affected. The most common symptoms are burning, itching and general pain, and often the skin may feel different around the area, such as warmer, cooler, softer or firmer. The area may appear to be redder than normal and will not fade if pressed due to the decrease in blood flow. If treated quickly, the pressure ulcer may go after two or three days.
- Grade 2 – If a stage 1 pressure sore is left or not dealt with swiftly, it will progress further onto grade 2, where the sore is now deeper below the surface of the skin and can lead to an open, weeping sore or pus-filled blister. Usually, the affected area will appear swollen, warm and often red in colour. They are painful sores and may ooze fluid. Depending on the severity of a grade 2 bedsore and the treatment received, the sore could heal within three weeks. However, if left untreated, it will develop onto grade 3.
- Grade 3 – These sores have now gone through the deeper layer of skin to the layer of fat beneath the skin. The sore will look like a crater in the skin and often be accompanied by a bad odour. They will be hot, red and oozing fluid, and sometimes areas surrounding the sore may be black where the tissue has died. Infections are commonplace in grade 3 bedsores. Often antibiotics are required, and any dead tissue may need to be removed by a trained healthcare professional. Grade 3 bedsores can take up to four months to heal, providing the correct treatment is given.
- Grade 4 – This is the most serious stage where the sores are very severe. A grade 4 pressure sore can even affect ligaments and muscles. All of the above symptoms are present as in Grade 3 such as, red, swollen, a hot area with pus and infection present. The skin will have turned black where the lack of blood flow has caused the tissue to die, and the sore is big and deep, often so deep that muscle tissue and bone are sometimes visible. These sores need immediate attention and treatment and sometimes even surgery. At this stage, if left, amputation may be necessary as gangrene and/or blood poisoning could occur, which could lead to death. Grade 4 pressure ulcers can take years to heal and recover from.
Apart from these four main stages of bedsores, there are another two stages:
- Unstageable – This is when the bottom of the sore cannot be seen, and it is unknown how deep it is. Only once a doctor has cleaned it out can they decide what stage or grade the sore is.
- Suspected Deep Tissue Injury – This is where the sore appears to be that of a grade one or two on the surface, but below the skin, it is a grade three or four.
As you can see, although it’s maybe possible a grade 1 pressure sore may occur even with the best care in place, for it to go on to develop into grade 2, 3 or 4, well, there is just no excuse! A grade 1 pressure sore would be dealt with immediately and effectively to prevent it from developing any further with proper care. The patients or residents care plan may be improved further to prevent it from re-occurring.
Certainly grade 2 pressure sore compensation, grade 3 or grade 4 pressure sore compensation could be claimed as it is an obvious sign of neglect and a breach of any medical or care staff’s duty of care to the patient or resident for their sores to have gotten so bad on top of them developing in the first place.
Contact Legal Expert for free help and advice on bed sores compensation claims or start your own claim today.
Pressure sore claims can be made by the injured person themselves or by someone on behalf of the injured person if they are physically or mentally unable to themselves.
To make a successful bed sores compensation claim, certain criteria is important in strengthening your case, such as:
- Proving that the pressure sore was preventable.
- Showing that you received substandard care.
- Proving that the risk assessment was inadequate.
- Showing that there was a lack of care, such as infrequent or inadequate monitoring.
- Being able to show that repositioning was infrequent.
- Stating bandages or plasters were applied incorrectly or the wrong type.
- To mention the type of mattress or cushion supplied if they were not the high-specification foam materials advised to use to prevent pressure sores.
Legal Expert has years of experience handling pressure sore compensation claims and will be able to investigate and gather the correct evidence needed to prove who is liable for your pressure sores. We’ll determine who is to blame for your suffering and use our expertise to ensure you receive the maximum compensation that you deserve.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a pressure sore due to the negligence of the NHS, then a complaint can be made against them, and they can be sued for compensation. It is advised to go through the NHS complaints procedure first. However, you do not have to take legal action, and you can start the pressure sore claims process straight away if you so wish. Still, it may be useful to gather more information about the case by going through their complaints procedure.
To start legal action against the NHS, the complaint needs to be within 3 years of the incident taking place as this is the typical time limit to make a personal injury claim.
The graph below from the NHS Resolution Annual Reports and Accounts report 2019/20 shows that the number of new clinical claims has been rising each year, compared to non-clinical claims, the rates of which have dropped since 2010/11. These figures don’t give specific insight into the number of pressure sore claims made each year but give us an idea of the rate at which clinical negligence claims against the NHS increase.
The NHS Litigation Authority (NHS LA) would usually represent the NHS when compensation for hospital negligence is being sought. More often than not, when the NHS LA get involved, the cases do not reach court. In fact, less than 2% of cases led by the NHS LA go to court.
The other 98% of cases are either dropped by the claimant or settled out of court. The NHS LA keep a record of information on a database about all compensation claims against the NHS. This database also includes any potential claims or threats of legal action being taken against them.
Legal Expert can help advise you on the best course of action to take regarding making a pressure sore compensation NHS claim and even represent you if you wish to ensure the best possible outcome and a successful claim. Please read on to the next section for more information on how much bedsore compensation claims can be worth.
How are pressure sore claims calculated?
As is the case for most personal injury claims, pressure sore claims will likely be divided into two heads of damage: general damages and special damages. These are two different categories of suffering that you could be compensated for as part of your claim.
General damages account for pain and suffering that you experienced due to your injury, both physically and psychologically. So you could receive compensation for everything from the pain and any subsequent treatment to the mental trauma.
Special damages account for financial losses that you experienced as a result of your injury. By claiming special damages, you could recover any out-of-pocket expenses, ranging from medical bills to loss of earnings.
To see how much you could claim for your case, please get in touch today.
Due to a huge variation in the severity of bedsores and pressure ulcers, and the number of different circumstances in which they could occur, it is impossible to give an exact answer to this question. Certainly, we’d advise you to be careful of anyone stating that you will definitely receive a certain amount for a pressure sores compensation claim as no one can guarantee you an amount at this stage.
Bedsores and pressure ulcers affect different people in different ways. So, the recovery times and effect they have on a person’s wellbeing and quality of life can differ greatly.
We can give you an estimate of the average compensation award that you may receive. But we must stress that any figure is just an idea of what might be possible and not a guarantee. The table below looks at how much you could claim for bed sores compensation claims.
Updated August 2021.
|Moderate Back Injury||£12,900 to £23,460||Disturbances and injuries which affect the ligaments in the back. May be caused by pressure and bed sores.|
|Moderate Back Injury||£7,410 to £12,900||This bracket will apply to moderate soft tissue injuries such as bed sores where the recovery has been fairly protracted.|
|Severe Knee Injuries||£65,440 to £90,290||Injuries causing gross damage to the ligaments. Will require lengthy care and could cause considerable pain.|
|Moderate Knee Injuries||£13,920 to £24,580||This bracket includes injuries which involve damage to the cartilage or meniscus, resulting in minor instability, weakness or another mild disability.|
|Moderate Ankle Injuries||£12,900 to £24,950||Could incude tears in the ligaments and similar soft tissue injuries.|
|Modest Ankle Injuries||Up to £11,73||Less serious or minor ligament injuries.|
|Modest Foot Injuries||Up to £12,900||This could include a ruptured ligament or similar form of injury.|
|Moderate Toe Injuries||Up to £9,010||This bracket can cover cases involving prolonged minor symptoms and/or the need for surgery resulting in prolonged discomfort and permanent scarring.|
|Serious Leg Injuries||£36,790 to £51,460||Injuries to the joints and ligaments in the leg.|
|Less serious leg injuries||£16,860 to £26,050||This bracket will involve serious soft tissue injuries to one or both legs causing significant cosmetic deficit, functional restriction and/or some nerve damage in the lower limbs.|
|Simple leg injuries||Up to £11,110||This bracket will cover injuries which have recovered completely or almost so and any residual disability is cosmetic or of a minor nature.|
|Minor shoulder injuries||£4,080 to £7,410||Includes soft tissue injury to shoulder with considerable pain but almost complete recovery within 2 years.|
Contact Legal Expert for more information and advice regarding your individual compensation claim case.
The solicitors at Legal Expert work on a No Win No Fee basis. We do not require our clients to pay any legal costs and fees if their case is unsuccessful. In fact, throughout the whole claiming process, our clients are not expected to make any payments to us whatsoever. If the case is successful, we simply take a small percentage out of the compensation award amount.
Our No Win No Fee policy enables clients to make pressure sore claims without stress or worry of gambling finances.
Please see the links that give a more in-depth guide on how our No Win No Fee policy works. Or, if you want to know more about how we can help bed sores compensation claims, please read on.
We specialise in the personal injury claim industry. And we have a wealth of experience in handling all kinds of cases regarding hospital and medical care negligence.
If you call us, we can give you free advice, and we can book you for a free consultancy session. During this session, you can speak freely and ask questions about making a bed sores compensation claim.
We will explain the process of claiming so that you’re clear of what will and could happen. And we use this time to gather information regarding your case. This is so that we can assess if you have a legitimate cause for making your claim.
This consultancy session is free and does not put you under any obligation to let us represent you. However, if you choose us to make your pressure sore claims on your behalf, we will proceed with legal action.
You may receive a free local medical, but we explain this in more detail later on.
We hope our guide to bedsores compensation claims shows you how we can help with pressure sore claims. Legal Expert is a friendly, honest and reliable personal injury claims specialist team. And we have a fantastic track record of successful compensation claims, often securing the maximum payout amounts for our clients.
Call us on 0800 073 8804, and we will advise you in the best way. If you choose us, we will work tirelessly to gather plenty of evidence surrounding your individual case. And from there, we will build you a really strong lawsuit.
We work as quickly and as efficiently as we can and will keep you up-to-date every step of the way. You will not need to worry or stress over your compensation claim. Indeed, we do all that for you so that you can just concentrate on yourself and your recovery.
Bed Sores Compensation Useful Links
This explains how to complain about negligence within the NHS, taking legal action, claiming compensation and time limits.
NHS guide on pressure sores, including what they are, the cause, treatment and how to prevent them.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines alongside the Royal College of Nurses prevent or treat pressure ulcers.
We explain how our No Win No Fee policy works and how it could be beneficial to you.
In this guide from the government, you can learn more about bedsores and pressure sores.
In this UK Government guide, learn more about the protocols to safeguard vulnerable people from pressure sores.
If you suffer harm by hospital negligence, find out if you can claim in our guide.
What are the possible complications of bedsores?
Possible complications depend on when treatment begins. If treatment starts early, then there may be few if any complications. As pressure sores grow, there is a greater chance of complications happening.
Pressure sores can develop further infections, which spread to the blood, causing sepsis. Infections can even spread into the bones and cause osteomyelitis. The most severe instances could cause the bones and muscles to be permanently damaged.
How long do pressure sore claims take?
How long a claim for pressure sores may take depends on several factors. Nature and severity may affect how long it takes. And the more complex an injury, the longer a claim may take. Similarly, if a defendant does not appeal their liability or dispute the settlement, claims may progress quicker. But if the claim is in dispute, it may take longer to resolve. In general, claims could resolve in 12-18 months, but they could take longer for more complex cases.
What are the symptoms of bedsores?
Symptoms include discolouration, the skin feeling spongy or hard or warm to the touch, and itchiness and pain.
Are hospitals responsible for bed sores?
Bedsores are very easy to prevent. If the hospital acts negligently or provides substandard care causing a pressure sore, you may have grounds to claim.
How do you treat bedsores?
The treatment for bedsores can depend on how severe they are. In less serious cases, it might require regular position changes and applying dressings to relieve pressure. But in more serious cases, surgery to remove damaged tissue might be required.
How much can I claim for a pressure sore?
This varies depending on several factors. They include how severe your bedsore is (e.g. is it life-threatening) and the areas of the body. Additionally, there’s how long it takes to heal and any special damages for your claim. A medical negligence solicitor could give you a more accurate value after learning about your case. Get in touch with Legal Expert today to find out more.
How long do I have to claim for a bed sore?
The time limit for claiming medical negligence is three years from the date of the incident.
What is required for me to make a medical negligence claim?
You must show that the level of care was below the typical standard for a healthcare professional.
Thank you for reading our guide on bed sores compensation claims and pressure sore claims. But please contact us if you have any questions about how to claim compensation.