A Guide to Claiming Care Home Injury Compensation

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

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

Introduction

Accidents that cause injuries are relatively common among elderly people. Care homes are no exception to these, but the home should take all reasonable precautions to reduce the number of accidents, lessen the extent of injury, and help residents' recovery.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has reported that in some parts of the UK, 30% of over 65 year olds experience a fall every year.That figure rises to 50% for people who are aged 80 or over.

Patient with nurse

Do I have a care home 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.

Causation

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 a care home injury claim expert on 0800 612 7456.

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

You can also find out if you have a claim with our Online Claim Checker.

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 long do I have to start a claim?

If your injury is apparent immediately after medical treatment, you will have 3 years to start a claim.

It may be that the negligent procedure happened more than 3 years ago, but your injury was only diagnosed recently, within the last 3 years. If so, you may still be able to make a claim.

What if your injury was diagnosed months or years after treatment?

You may not be immediately aware of your injury. In some cases, months and even years can pass before symptoms appear.

The law allows you to make a medical negligence claim up to three years after the 'date of knowledge' (when you first learned of the injury).

It is recommended that you start a claim as soon as possible, as medical negligence cases can be complex. Starting your claim sooner will give your solicitor more time to gather medical evidence, assess the extent of your injury and to negotiate interim payments and your final compensation amount.

Typical care home accidents

Fall accidents in care homes

The most common accidents in residential care settings are falls.The fall could be precipitated by a slip or trip accident resulting from a poorly positioned object or a spill. A nursing home patient might require mobility aids, such as crutches, wheelchairs or walking frames.

If these items are out of reach, a fall could result when the patient attempts to get out of a bed or chair.

Lifting

Falls in care homes can also be due to handling mistakes.Staff should be fully trained and supported in providing physical support. However, errors still occur sometimes, and if staff are unable to move or assist in a safe manner, both the patient and care assistant could be injured.

Neglect

Care home professionals are usually trained to ensure the prevention of pressure ulcers and sores.

When proper procedure regarding prevention is not followed, older people can find themselves vulnerable to debilitating pain, infection and further restrictions to mobility. The Waterlow Score is a method used to reduce the risk of pressure sores, protecting elderly patients from neglect in hospital and in the care home.

What should you do if you, or a family member, is injured because of a care home accident?

In the first instance, you should see a doctor, or arrange for your relative to be seen by a doctor. If you are concerned about the injury of a family member, it may help if you can attend the appointment with them.

This would allow you to provide extra support, and to get as much information as possible on the nature of the accident as well as its consequences.

Accidents in care homes that could reasonably have been avoided may amount to a claim. The care home itself is usually liable, though the manufactures of faulty equipment or medication may be responsible depending on the circumstances.

Care home operators should have public liability insurance to provide financial cover in the event of injuries being sustained by residents.

The panel of solicitors are experienced at dealing with care home accident injury compensation claims, and will guide you through the process step by step.

To discuss your options on a confidential basis, call us on?0800 612 7456.

How much compensation can I claim for a care home injury?

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

  • the extent 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 care home injury has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

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

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

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after a care home injury? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

What is the average injury compensation for a care home injury claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following a care home injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your care home injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

See the injury table above for some examples.

Can I claim for an existing care home injury that has got worse?

Yes, it is possible to pursue a claim in the event that a pre-existing medical condition, illness or injury is made worse or aggravated by an accident or someone else's negligence.

Care home injury compensation calculator

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a care home injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your care home injury claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a care home injury claim take?

The length of time needed to get compensation for a care home injury can vary significantly.

For example, a simple uncontested medical negligence claim can settle in 12 to 24 months. If liability is denied, however, the process might take longer. On average a medical negligence claim takes between 12 and 36 months. For more information on how long your claim could take, read:

How long will my claim take?

Will I still be able to claim for a care home injury after the law changes in April 2020?

The law relating to personal injury claims is changing in April 2020.

You will no longer be able to claim no win, no fee compensation using a solicitor for lower value claims (under £5,000).

In addition, compensation for whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries will be reduced.

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your care home injury claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

How did your injury occur?

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

How does no win, no fee work?

'No win, no fee' means that if your care home injury claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay any legal fees whatsoever. Known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA', no win, no fee is a legal agreement entered into between you and a solicitor.

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 claiming compensation for your care home injury.

What do I pay if I win my care home injury claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your claim is settled. 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 care home injury claim?

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

What is Legal Aid available for?

In 2000, the government abolished the right to legal aid in medical negligence cases. Depending on an individual's circumstances, Legal Aid may be available for discrimination cases, criminal cases, family mediation and court or tribunal representation.

Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, 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 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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Care home 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

About the author

Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert