Claims for Medication Errors

What do I need to prove to make compensation claims for medication errors?

Answer:

In order to make compensation claims for medication errors in Ireland, you will need to prove that you have suffered a loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition due to the negligence of a medical practitioner or pharmacist who “in the circumstances and at the time” failed in their duty of care to provide an adequate professional performance.

Medication errors in Ireland are a rare occurrence, and not all of them will result in a “negative event”; however you will be able to claim compensation for a medication error if you have suffered due to one of the following events:-

  • The wrong medication was prescribed
  • The wrong dosage of medication was prescribed
  • The wrong medication or wrong dosage was dispensed
  • Medication was prescribed which cause an avoidable allergic reaction
  • Medication was prescribed which conflicted with existing prescribed medication
  • Medication was prescribed for the wrong period of time – too short/too long to be effective

The value of claims for medication errors will depend on the extent and severity of the “negative event”, how long you have suffered from it and what the likelihood is of recovering from an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition. A solicitor preparing a medication error claim for compensation will also take into account the effect that an injury or deterioration has on your quality of life and lack of ability to perform day-to-day activities, drive and work.

One very important factor in claims for medication errors is contributory negligence. The term “contributory negligence” relates to any contribution you may have made to the extent of your injuries or the deterioration of an existing condition because of your own oversight. For example, if you were dispensed a repeat prescription which contained tablets of a different colour or size, it would be questioned why you did not bring this to the attention of your medical practitioner or pharmacist.

Similarly, if you were taking prescribed tablets which made you ill, and you continued to take them while your condition deteriorated, a medication error claim for compensation may be contested on the grounds that you contributed to the cause or extent of your illness by your own lack of care. Being “guilty” of contributory negligence will not disqualify you from making claims for medication errors, but it may influence how much compensation for a medication error you receive.

With many possible scenarios in which medication errors may occur, many different consequences of a medication error and the possibility that you exacerbated your injury by your own lack of care, it is possible to see why no two compensation claims for medication errors are the same. Consequently it is recommended that you speak with an experienced medical negligence solicitor to establish that you have a claim for a medication error which is worth your while to pursue and receive advice which is relevant to your personal situation.