Acupuncture Injury Compensation Claims

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by an acupuncture injury we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered an acupuncture injury and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

In our guide to claiming acupuncture injury compensation:


Each year, around 2.3 million acupuncture treatments are carried out in the UK. Most of them are completed without incident. However, research suggests that up to 10% of patients will suffer an acupuncture-related adverse event, with injuries ranging from severe bruising to permanent tissue damage.

Acupuncture is a self-regulating industry, and no formal training or qualifications are necessary for those offering acupuncture services. It is possible that some practitioners are not competent to carry out treatment.

Anyone who suffers an illness or injury after receiving substandard acupuncture treatment may be eligible to make a claim for compensation.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a therapy derived from Chinese medicine. During treatment, fine needles are inserted at certain sites in a patient's body to stimulate nerve endings and encourage the release of pain-relieving endorphins.

While often seen as a form of alternative medicine, acupuncture is widely prescribed by the NHS as a treatment for chronic pain of the lower back. Thousands of private patients also turn to acupuncture each year to address ailments including headaches, toothache, allergic reactions, depression and infertility.

Side effects of acupuncture

When carried out by a skilled practitioner, acupuncture is usually very safe. Adverse side effects tend to be mild and short-lived. These include pain and bruising at the puncture site, drowsiness and feeling sick, dizzy or faint immediately after treatment.

However, serious adverse events can also occur, including:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Abnormal bruising and bleeding
  • Abscesses
  • Blood-borne infections
  • Nerve damage
  • Collapsed lungs caused by needles penetrating the patient's chest.

Serious complications from acupuncture are rare. They usually occur as the result of negligent treatment, carried out by an acupuncture practitioner who has not been properly trained or who does not ensure the proper cleanliness of premises, instruments and equipment.

Regulation of the acupuncture industry

There is no statutory regulation of non-medical acupuncture in the UK. In theory, anyone can offer acupuncture treatment regardless of their level of training or expertise.

However, most practitioners are required to register with their local authority and submit to regular hygiene inspections in order to reduce the risk of infection. There are also a number of acupuncture organisations in the UK which require their members to work according to certain codes of practice. These include The British Medical Acupuncture Society, the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists, and the British Acupuncture Council.

Practitioners are also required to comply with various health and safety legislation regarding needle sterilisation, hand washing and the safe disposal of clinical waste to avoid needlestick injuries.

Making an acupuncture injury claim

A reasonable level of competence is expected from all those offering acupuncture treatments, regardless of whether they are medically qualified. Practitioners are expected to conduct a thorough medical examination to determine suitability for treatment, warn the patient of the risks involved with the procedure and maintain high standards of hygiene at all times.

Where a practitioner fails to meet these standards and causes harm to a patient, it will often be possible for the patient to claim compensation.

Do I have an acupuncture injury claim?

Medical negligence claims differ from personal injury claims as the following will need to be established:

  • there was a breach of duty ("negligence" or "fault"); and
  • the breach of duty was the cause of your injury, damage or loss ("causation" or "avoidable harm").

Breach of Duty

A breach of duty means that the standard of care you received was below the standard that could reasonably be expected of a competent healthcare professional.


To establish causation, it will need to be demonstrated that the injury you suffered resulted from the negligent care rather than the underlying condition.

Get an impartial opinion

To get impartial advice on whether you have a claim, speak to an acupuncture injury claim expert on 0800 376 1001.

A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.

Is compensation always payable?

If an error occurred during treatment and the patient was harmed as a result, this may be referred to as an "undesirable outcome".

Not all treatment that results in an undesirable outcome will result in the payment of compensation.

Sometimes an undesirable outcome is due to a known risk associated with the treatment, or due to a mistake that a doctor could reasonably have made in the circumstances.

How did your injury occur?

The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:

No win, no fee

No win, no fee removes the risk from making an acupuncture injury claim. If you do not win any compensation, you won't have to pay your solicitor any legal fees.

No win, no fee guarantee

If you have been injured through no fault of your own, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making an acupuncture injury compensation claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

What do I pay if I win my acupuncture injury claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, only after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my acupuncture injury claim?

If your acupuncture injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees whatsoever. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

Is there a penalty if I withdraw?

Under a No Win, No Fee Agreement (CFA), fees may apply if a claimant refuses to cooperate, or abandons their claim after the legal work has started, or if the claim is fraudulent.

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning medical negligence claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 376 1001 or arrange a callback:

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Acupuncture injury FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor