If an acupuncture injury has set you back, we'll help you move forward

Injuries from acupuncture gone wrong can cause physical and psychological damage. Compensation claims might cover additional medical treatment and emotional distress.

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by an acupuncture injury, we can help. If your injuries were caused by the negligence of a doctor, nurse, midwife or other medical professional, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

You can make a No Win, No Fee compensation claim with the help and support of a specialist clinical negligence solicitor.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a therapy derived from Chinese medicine. During treatment, fine needles are inserted at certain sites in a patient's 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.

See also:

Chronic pain compensation claims

Allergic reaction compensation claims

You are not alone

An estimated 4 million acupuncture sessions are provided annually in the UK (source: bmj.com).

Most of these treatments are completed without incident. However, analysis of the data reported in a survey carried out in 2001, shows that 6.84% of acupuncture sessions resulted in an adverse event, with injuries ranging from tissue damage to seizures.

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.

If you decide to make an acupuncture injury claim, your medical negligence solicitor will take you through every step of the claims process. Your solicitor will be with you until you win your claim and get the compensation you need to move forward.

If you need information on acupuncture safety and side effects, visit: acupuncture (nhs.uk).

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.

How much compensation can I claim for an acupuncture injury?

The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:

  • the seriousness of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.

Acupuncture injury compensation calculator

Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.

Updated May 2024 Compensation Calculator v3.04

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College (judiciary.uk) and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?

Special damages

Special damages are awarded to compensate you for any costs or losses you've incurred or might incur as a result of your accident. These costs might include loss of earnings, or any other out of pocket expenses.

Special damages may also be awarded for medical treatments or procedures that you might need to treat your acupuncture injury, including antibiotics, pain medication and topical treatments.

Read more:

A complete list of recoverable losses in a personal injury claim

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 may be possible to claim compensation.

What happened?

The claims process will vary depending on how your acupuncture injury happened. Click the icons below to learn more:

No win, no fee acupuncture injury compensation claims

With no win, no fee, you can claim acupuncture injury compensation without financial risk. If your claim isn't successful, you pay nothing. If you win, you only pay a pre-agreed percentage of your compensation.

Find out more about how no win, no fee claims work

Get expert advice now

Interested in talking to a medical negligence specialist about your claim?

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Call 0800 376 1001

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Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher