Wrong Medication Negligence Claims Guide – I Have Been Given The Wrong Medication, What Are My Rights?
By Olivia Anne. Last updated 9th April 2021. If you’re wondering “wrong medication claims – what are my rights?” then this guide could be of use to you.
When you visit a GP surgery or hospital for treatment, very often the physician who treats you will prescribe some form of medication. This is done to either suppress your symptoms or to treat them, and in many cases, it works. However, if there’s an error with the prescription you could end up suffering a serious reaction and your underlying condition could get worse. Therefore, this guide aims to answer the question, “I’ve been given the wrong medication, what are my rights?”. We’ll look at potential mistakes by GPs, hospitals and pharmacists which could lead to a claim. Also, we’ll look at how much compensation you could be entitled to.
Legal Expert specialises in helping clients with all sorts of personal injury claims. We provide an initial, no-obligation, assessment of your claim. In the assessment, we’ll review any evidence you have to support the claim. Also, our advisors provide free legal advice about your options. Finally, if your claim is considered strong enough to win compensation, you could be connected with one of our no win no fee solicitors. If you’d like to discuss your claim immediately, please call 0800 073 8804 today.
Alternatively, to find out more about claiming for suffering caused by a prescription error, please carry on reading.
Select A Section
- A Guide To What Are Your Rights If Given The Wrong Medication
- What Do We Mean By The Wrong Medication?
- I Have Been Given The Wrong Medication, How Could It Affect Me?
- Examples Of Prescription Errors Giving The Wrong Medication
- Being Given Medications Which Interacts With Each Other
- Receiving The Wrong Dose Of Medication
- Being Given A Medication Which Causes A Drug Allergy Reaction
- Pharmacists Role As A Gatekeeper
- Wrong Medication Prescription Mistakes And Your Legal Rights
- Wrong Medication Compensation Claims Calculator
- Other Ways In Which You May Be Compensated
- No Win No Fee Claims When Given The Wrong Medication
- Start Your Wrong Medication Negligence Claim
- Further Resources
A Guide To What Are Your Rights If Given The Wrong Medication
If you’re wondering “wrong medication claims – what are my rights?” then this guide could be of use to you.
There are different types of prescription error that could lead to a claim including being given the wrong medicine by a pharmacy, the wrong dose of medication or even being given somebody else’s prescription. Each of these could cause different types of problems for the patient so we’ll look at what could happen if you’re given the wrong medication. Claiming for medical or clinical negligence can be quite tricky. It involves proving that a medical professional has caused harm through negligent and substandard levels of treatment. To give yourself a better chance of doing this, we advise having a specialist on your side. Our team of solicitors has up to 30 years history working on personal injury claims. They understand what type of evidence is required to try and ensure your claim is settled in full.
Another factor you’ll need to be aware of is the personal injury claims time limit. This is normally 3 years from the date of any incident or accident that caused you to suffer. However, you might not find out that you were given the wrong medication until later. Therefore, your time limit could begin from the date you found out about the mistake.
The main point of this guide is to try and answer the question, “I’ve been given the wrong medication, what are might rights?”. If after you’ve read this guide, you still have questions you’d like answered, please call our advisors for free legal advice.
What Do We Mean By The Wrong Medication?
When somebody tells us, “I was given the wrong medication”, we need to find out what was wrong with it as there are a number of different scenarios. We’ll cover these in more detail in a later section of this guide.
When considering medical negligence claims, we mean where medicine is different from what was needed and that caused some form of adverse reaction. That’s because for claims of this nature we need to prove breach of duty as well as avoidable harm. Therefore, if you were given the wrong medication, but it caused no adverse effects, you wouldn’t be able to make a claim.
As we progress through this guide, we’ll look at different scenarios where the wrong medication could be dispensed. We’ll also try to explain when a medical professional could be held accountable for your suffering. Ultimately, we’ll address the question of “wrong medication claims – what are my rights?”.
I Have Been Given The Wrong Medication, How Could It Affect Me?
There are a number of ways in which a medication error could affect you. In some cases, if you’re given a medicine that’s stronger than prescribed, you could suffer symptoms such as nausea, headaches or fatigue. More serious symptoms could include vomiting or diarrhoea. While these symptoms cause additional suffering, they won’t usually be life-threatening.
However, if you’re given a medicine that contains a drug that you’re allergic to, your life could be put in danger. Allergic reactions can cause minor symptoms like a runny nose or a rash. In more serious cases though, they could lead to anaphylactic shock, which, in some cases, can be fatal. We’ll look at allergic reactions in more detail later.
Finally, another problem caused by having the wrong medication administered or prescribed is that your underlying illness won’t be being treated. Therefore, your illness could become worse and you’ll suffer more.
Examples Of Prescription Errors Giving The Wrong Medication
So, now we’re going to look at some different types of prescription errors that could lead to a claim:
- When the completely wrong medication is dispensed.
- If the wrong dosage is provided.
- Where a drug which causes an allergic reaction is given in error.
- If medication is dispensed that reacts with other medicine you’re prescribed.
- Where the instructions printed on the packaging are incorrect.
There may be other reasons you were given the wrong medication. Don’t worry if you don’t see yours listed. Whatever the cause, if you’re given the wrong medicine and it causes you to suffer, you could be entitled to claim.
If you’re wondering “wrong medication claims – what are my rights?”, the next section provides information on medications interacting with each other.
Being Given Medications Which Interact With Each Other
As mentioned earlier, any medical professional has a duty of care to try and ensure patient safety. Therefore, doctors and pharmacists should try to ensure that patients don’t receive any form of medication that will react badly with another they’ve already been prescribed. Both will be aware of common reactions between certain drugs. Therefore, the doctor should not prescribe something which causes a reaction and a pharmacist should contact the doctor if they suspect a problem combination.
Receiving The Wrong Dose Of Medication
If you’ve been prescribed the wrong dosage, you may be wondering “wrong medication claims – what are my rights?”.
When a doctor prescribes any medication, they need to determine the dosage. They need to consider many things including:
- The patients age.
- The manufacturers recommended dosages.
- Any potential side effects.
Failure to get the dosage right can cause a number of issues. In some cases, these can be very serious (organ failure for instance in some overdose scenarios). Where the dosage is too low, the intended benefit of the drug may become negligible. In these situations, the patient’s underlying condition could get worse because of lack of treatment.
For any type of dosage error, whether by the prescribing doctor or the pharmacy, you could claim compensation if it can be shown that the error caused you to suffer in some way. Please contact an advisor for further information.
Being Given A Medication Which Causes A Drug Allergy Reaction
If you’ve been prescribed medication that causes an allergic reaction, you may be wondering “wrong medication claims – what are my rights?”.
When you register with a GP, you’ll be asked to inform them of any medicines you’re allergic to. This should then be kept on record and considered when any medicine is prescribed.
There are two main reasons you might receive a medicine you’re allergic to:
- The doctor failed to check if you were allergic or not.
- The pharmacist dispensed something other than what the doctor prescribed.
If you suffer from any form of drug allergy, you could be entitled to claim compensation for any allergic reaction.
The milder symptoms of an allergic reaction include:
- A runny or blocked nose.
- An itchy nose.
- Red, itchy water eyes.
- A cough, shortness of breath, wheezing or a tight chest.
- Hives – a raised and itchy red rash.
- Nausea, diarrhoea or vomiting.
- Swollen eyes, face, lips or tongue.
- Red, dry and cracked skin.
Even though these seem like minor inconveniences, they could still be reason to make a claim. In the most severe cases of allergic reactions, anaphylaxis can occur. This can be fatal. Some of the symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
- Swelling in the mouth or throat.
- Struggling to breathe.
- Confusion, dizziness or feeling lightheaded.
- Blue skin or lips.
- Becoming unconscious or collapsing.
Any signs of an anaphylactic shock should be treated as a medical emergency according to the NHS.
Pharmacists Role As A Gatekeeper
If you’ve been prescribed incorrect medication by a pharmacist, you may be wondering “wrong medication claims – what are my rights?”.
Pharmacists can be based in doctor’s surgeries, supermarkets or within their own shop. Wherever they’re located, they act as the final interaction before the patient receives their medication. Therefore, they are the last point at which a mistake could be spotted.
Within a pharmacy, there may be many people involved in the dispensing of your medication. However, it is the pharmacist who is ultimately accountable should something go wrong. Therefore, the ways in which the pharmacist could prevent errors include:
- Checking with the doctor if they suspect there’s a mistake with prescription.
- Contacting the doctor to clarify if the prescription is unclear.
- Checking exactly what the technician has dispensed.
- Confirming the instructions on the label are as the doctor prescribed.
- Checking with the patient that they don’t already take any conflicting medication.
Wrong Medication Prescription Mistakes And Your Legal Rights
At the start of this guide, we set out to answer the question; “wrong medication claims – what are my rights?”. In this section, we’re going to provide some details about your specific rights by law.
First of all, if you have been given the wrong medication, and suffered an adverse reaction as a result, you could be entitled to claim compensation for your suffering if it can be proven that negligence has occurred.
You’re also entitled to sue, when errors cause you to suffer, due to private healthcare providers. The duty of care applies to medical professionals’ whichever sector they work in. Also, you could claim for medication errors linked to cosmetic treatments.
Wrong Medication Compensation Claims Calculator
As well as the question; “wrong medication claims – what are my rights?”, we’re often asked how much compensation could be paid. While we can’t provide exact figures, as every case is different, we can provide the personal injury claims calculator table below. It shows figures that could be paid for certain injuries and illnesses.
Updated April 2021.
|Type of Claim||Range of Compensation||Additional Notes|
|Injury (non traumatic)||Where the incorrect medication causes adverse side effects that include severe toxicosis causing acute pain, fever or diarrhoea. This will result in a few weeks of hospitalisation and the enjoyment of life and||£36,060 to £49,270|
|Injury (non traumatic)||Illnesses which lead to vomiting and diarrhoea which diminish over 2 to 4 weeks. There could be disturbance to bowel function, enjoyment of food and an impact on sex life over a few years.||£8,950 to £18,020|
|Injury (non traumatic)||Where the incorrect medication causes sotmach cramps, fatigue and also significant discomfort. Hospitalisation will last for some days but symptoms should not last for more than a few weeks. Complete recovery will take a year or two.||£3,710 to £8,950|
|Injury (non traumatic)||Where the incorrect medication causes diarrhoea, cramps and disabling pain which carry on for some weeks.||£860 to £3,710|
|Mental Anguish||Fear of impending death||£4,380|
|Less Severe Psychiatric Damage||Cases just falling short of phobias developing||£1,440 to £5,500|
|Moderate Psychiatric Damage||Marked improvement on trauma with good prognosis||£5,500 to £17,900|
|Less Severe PTSD||Full recovery made within 2 years with only minor symptoms persisting||£3,710 to £7,680|
|Moderate PTSD||Large recovery made with no grossly disabling symptoms persisting||£7,680 to £21,730|
The data comes from a legal document called the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). As you’d expect, the figures in the JCG, which is used by courts, solicitors and insurers, are based on the severity of any suffering. That’s why our solicitors use independent doctors to provide reports about your condition. They will tell us what injuries you sustained, how severe they were, what impact was caused and whether you’ll suffer in the longer-term. This information is then used to try and ensure you receive the right level of compensation for your injuries.
Other Ways In Which You May Be Compensated
As part of the question “wrong medication claims – what are my rights?”, you may also be wondering what damages you could be compensated for.
When making your claim for clinical negligence, your personal injury lawyer will usually include general damages and special damages. The table in the previous part of this guide provided example figures for general damages. It’s the compensation paid for pain and suffering caused by your injuries.
Special damages, on the other hand, provide compensation for any financial losses caused by the medication error. Some examples of special damages include:
- Travelling expenses. There are a couple of ways you could incur costs associated with travelling. The first is for fuel and parking costs linked to doctor’s appointments. The next is when you have to pay for alternative methods of travel if you’re unable to drive when recovering. Therefore, you could include either of these within your claim.
- Care costs. It’s also possible to claim for the cost of a carer required to help you recover. This could be the fees charged by a professional carer. It could also be for the time of a friend or family member who supported you.
- Medical costs. The cost of prescriptions, over the counter medication and other treatments can soon build up. Therefore, your claim could include these expenses.
- Lost income. Should you go unpaid, or receive reduced pay, while you are off work as a result of the medication error, you could claim for any lost income. Also, if your ability to continue working is affected in the long-term, you could claim for future lost income too.
We’d suggest that it’s a good idea to keep hold of any receipts linked to your spending. They will help prove the level of expenditure your solicitor claims on your behalf. Also, you could keep a diary of your spending to remind you why you spent money.
No Win No Fee Claims When Given The Wrong Medication
After we’ve answered the question of “wrong medication claims – what are my rights?”, the next question is usually “how much will I have to pay for a personal injury solicitor?”. We understand how the financial risks involved with claiming can be a big factor in whether you proceed or not. That’s why, our solicitors work on a no win no fee basis for any claim they agree to take on.
When your solicitor has looked at your case, and agreed to take it on, they’ll provide a contract for you to sign. This is called a conditional fee agreement or CFA. The CFA is really useful because it shows you, clearly, that there are no solicitor’s fees to pay unless you receive compensation. It will also tell you what ‘success fee’ is payable in the event of a successful personal injury claim.
Success fees are used to pay the solicitor’s fees. They are a fixed percentage of your compensation, typically around 25%. When the claim is won, rather than you having to send funds to cover the success fee, your solicitor will deduct it from your compensation. Then the rest is sent directly to you.
We think that no win no fee removes a lot of stress from the claims process. That’s mainly because it reduces the financial risks involved. If you’d like to discuss whether we could help you claim on a no win no fee basis, please get in touch with an advisor today.
“Wrong medication claims – what are my rights?” and other FAQs
What happens if you get the wrong medication?
Failure to prescribe or administer the correct medication carries a huge risk. Not only could this interrupt someone’s usual course of treatment but it could cause further damage, particularly if underlying health conditions are neglected as part of this medication failure.
Can you sue for wrong medication?
Providing that you experienced damage as a result of third party negligence (for example, that of your pharmacist), you could have grounds to make a claim against them.
How long after a medical mistake can you sue?
Personal injury claims have a maximum time limit of 3 years, meaning those wanting to make a claim must begin doing so within this period. If they fail to do so, they will likely lose any eligibility for compensation that they once had.
Are doctors liable for misdiagnosis?
One reason behind being wrongly medicated could be a misdiagnosis. In such cases, a medical professional will have failed to correctly recognise a patient’s condition, therefore prescribing them incorrect treatment as a result. If this misdiagnosis falls far below the standards typically expected by medical professionals in that position, meaning guidance wasn’t adhered to, then the patient could have grounds to hold them liable for their subsequent suffering.
How do you prove misdiagnosis?
If you believe you’ve been misdiagnosed, it’s important not to ignore your body’s symptoms and seek further medical help. This way, you could be able to reach the cause of your concerns, whether that be through further testing or the like. Any development on your diagnosis will be noted on your medical records, which could evidence any claim you may wish to make.
Can you sue a doctor for emotional distress?
Yes, by making a personal injury claim, you can not only sue for physical damage but emotional and psycholigical damage.
What is a No Win No Fee agreement?
As part of a No Win No Fee agreement, the lawyer is contractually obliged not to take payment from their client unless they win their claim. This way, claimants only have to pay out once they’ve secured their compensation, never out of their own pocket.
How do I contact Legal Expert?
For details on how to get in touch with us today, please see the next section.
We hope that you’ve found this guide about personal injury claims for wrong medication cases helpful. Ultimately, we hope we’ve cleared-up the question of “wrong medication claims – what are my rights?”.
We encourage you to use the services we provide at Legal Expert to help you make your claim. If you’re interested in seeing how we can help you, here are the best ways to contact our team of specialist advisors:
- Call the team on 0800 073 8804
- Use the live chat feature to connect directly to an advisor from your web browser.
- Send details of your claim via email to email@example.com
- Or, finally, why not ask us to call you back. To do so, simply complete our online claims form.
We operate our claims line 7-days a week and 24-hours a day so that you can contact us whenever it’s convenient. The claims process begins when you contact us. We offer a no-obligation consultation of your medical malpractice claim to start with where we’ll assess the evidence you have to support the claim. Then our advisors will offer free legal advice about your options. Finally, if your case is deemed to have strong enough grounds, you could be introduced to a solicitor. Should they agree to take on your claim, they’ll do so on a no win no fee basis. Therefore, please contact us today to discuss your claim.
Thanks for reading our guide. To assist you further, here are some more guides which you could find helpful:
Hospital Negligence Claims – Information about making medical negligence claims against hospitals.
Pharmacy Negligence Claims – A guide that shows when a solicitor could help you claim for errors by a pharmacist.
Claiming For GP Errors – This guide shows when a medical malpractice solicitor could assist you when suffering is caused by GP medical negligence.
Finally, here are some guides and resources from external sources:
Prescription Errors – An NHS study that found 1-in-20 prescriptions had some form of mistake.
Find A Pharmacist – This useful tool allows you to find pharmaceutical services in your area.
Medication errors: short life working group report.
Thanks for reading our guide on “wrong medication claims – what are my rights?”.
Written By Brett
Edited By Melissa.