A guide to making a No Win No Fee blood clot and deep vein thrombosis claim
Blood clots can be triggered in a range of circumstances. Quittance's network of solicitors have assisted with medical negligence claims and claims for blood clot injuries caused while travelling on holiday.
One of the most common, and most serious, forms of blood clot injury is Deep Vein Thrombosis, or DVT,
People suffering from DVT can experience uncomfortable symptoms and life-threatening complications if not treated in time.
Whether a person suffers unnecessarily from Deep Vein Thrombosis as a result of medical negligence or under other circumstances, they are entitled to claim for compensation.
The facts on DVT
DVT affects approximately 1 in 1,000 people every year in the UK. Defined as ?the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein', it usually occurs in the leg or pelvic area.
Although anyone can be affected by DVT, there are a number of risk factors - such as smoking, surgery or inactivity - which can increase the likelihood of someone developing it.
An increased risk of DVT does not mitigate the duty imposed on medical professionals. A medical practitioner's failure to recognise or treat DVT where higher risk factors are present may still amount to negligence, entitling a patient to compensation.
According to BUPA, the main symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis include:
- Swelling in the affected area
- Pain and tenderness
- Warm skin that looks red
- A mild fever
If left untreated, DVT can lead to serious complications. One of the main complications is pulmonary embolism. This occurs when the blood clot breaks off and travels to the lungs. Symptoms include breathlessness, chest pain and collapsing.
Other complications include post-thrombotic syndrome. This occurs when the clot damages the vein valves, causing pain, swelling and ulcers.
How should Deep Vein Thrombosis be diagnosed and treated?
By a doctor
One of the key steps in treating DVT, avoiding further complications, is getting a correct diagnosis. A person suffering with the above symptoms should visit their GP as soon as possible. It is then the GP's job to decide on the cause of the symptoms.
If Deep Vein Thrombosis is suspected, the patient should be referred to hospital for a D-dimer test, a Doppler ultrasound test or a Venogram. These can all help detect blood clots in the veins.
If detected, anti-coagulant medication, such as warfarin, may be prescribed to thin the blood and prevent further clotting.
GPs should also be actively involved in assessing a person's risk of developing DVT. A person it at higher risk if they are:
- A smoker
- Flying long haul (over 4 hours)
- On the contraceptive pill
- Suffering from a condition that makes their blood clot more readily
In these instances, appropriate monitoring and measures should be taken to avoid Deep Vein Thrombosis developing.
Any failure by the GP - whether an inadequate risk assessment, a misdiagnosis or a failure to prescribe correct medication in time - is a legitimate basis for a compensation claim based on negligence.
In a hospital
Hospitals have a duty to prevent patients developing DVT whilst in their care.
Surgery and some medical treatments can increase a person's risk of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis, so adequate checks should be made to reduce this risk where possible. Procedures should also be in place to identify and treat DVT as early as possible if the condition does manifest.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommend a comprehensive list of medical checks and preventative actions that should be taken within 24 hours of admission. This includes:
- Carrying out sufficient medical tests
- Regarding surgical patients with trauma as being at increased risk of DVT
- Taking into account other general risk factors e.g. age, weight etc.
- Giving the patient anti-clotting medication before and after surgery
- Ensuring the patient wears compression stockings
- Providing a mechanical pump to be used on the legs after an operation
If a hospital, or its staff, fail to act according in preventing Deep Vein Thrombosis and further complications, they can also be liable for unnecessary personal injury and suffering based on negligence.
How can medical negligence by proven?
In order to win compensation, it must be proved that a doctor, hospital or its medical staff acted negligently.
First it must be shown that the treatment received by the Claimant was sub-standard, for example a doctor misdiagnosed swelling in the leg or a hospital did not carry out an adequate risk assessment pre-surgery.
Secondly, it must be proved that the Claimant suffered as a direct result of the sub-standard treatment - for example, proving that a pulmonary embolism was the direct result of a delay in diagnosis of DVT.
No Win, No Fee agreements with DVT injury compensation claims
A No Win, No Fee compensation claim effectively begins with a Claimant agreeing to a CFA (or Conditional Fee Agreement) with their preferred injury lawyer.
The CFA explains the work delivered by your solicitor and, most significantly, a "success fee". This is the percentage that will be deducted from your compensation award once your case is successful.
You will be able to prioritise your rest and recovery, knowing that there is absolutely nothing to pay at the outset. There are absolutely no hidden charges when using a Quittance personal injury solicitor.
What to do next?
A Compensation Claim Report (CCR) gives detailed answers to the key questions about claiming compensation asked by people who have sustained a blood clot injury.
Get a Compensation Claim Report and make a better informed decision about whether to start a claim.
Speak to a solicitor about your DVT claim
If you would like to know more about the claims process, our network of solicitors offer a no-obligation phone consultation.
Call us on 0800 612 7456 to speak to an expert, or start your claim online.