Clinical Trials Compensation Claims

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

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a clinical trial 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 clinical trials compensation:


It is likely you will be able to claim compensation if you have taken part in a clinical trial that:

  1. resulted in the worsening or development of illness or injury, and
  2. the injury was due to the negligence of another party, and
  3. that party owed you a duty of care

The body responsible for the trial should have insurance in place to cover the cost of compensation claims.

A breach of the duty owed to patients taking part in a clinical trial can amount to clinical negligence, or may relate to defective medication or defective medical products.

Clinical trials

What are clinical trials?

Clinical trials are research studies on humans. They are designed to answer specific questions on how the human body may respond or react to new medicines, drugs, treatments, medical devices and food.

A clinical trial is undertaken when there is a new drug or medication which has reached the final stages of testing and is about to be taken to the market.

The main aim of clinical trials is to ensure that new drugs and medicines are safe for use, and to see if there are any side effects.

Before the clinical trial can take place, the Medicine Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) must authorise the trial. Once the clinical trial has taken place with satisfactory results, the product can be granted a license.

Who takes part in clinical trials?

People usually volunteer for clinical trials.

Volunteers can be healthy or sick, and the trial often requests for volunteers within certain age groups and who fit certain criteria, such as within a certain weight bracket, or smokers and non-smokers.

Some potential claimants are concerned that they are not entitled to compensation because they volunteered. This is not the case.

A compensation claim may be made if a party that owed you a duty of care breached that duty and caused you injury that was reasonably foreseeable.

If you are unsure whether the circumstances of your claim will pass this test, contact a solicitor on 0800 376 1001 for more information.

Clinical trial phases

The four main phases involved in clinical trials are:

  1. The first phase tests the safety of the drug. Usually the drug is first tested on healthy volunteers to monitor for negative side effects. It will also assess the correct dosage of the drug.
  2. The drug is then tested on ill patients to see if the health of the patient improves. Ill patients will usually have the illness that the drug is aiming to cure or improve.
  3. Phase three tests larger groups of ill patients and compares the new drug with those currently in use to assess the effectiveness, and see which one works better.
  4. The final phase takes place once the drug has received a license, and is intended to look in to long-term risks and side effects, as well as the long-term benefits.

Do I have a clinical trials 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 a clinical trials 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 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.

How much compensation can I claim for clinical trials?

The amount of money you could claim for your clinical trials 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 clinical trials 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 clinical trials? (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 clinical trials 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 clinical trials will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

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

Can I see the complete judicial college tables?

The table above (excerpted from the Judicial College Tables) shows the most common clinical trials claims. To see the complete list see: Judicial College Injury Tables.

Calculate my clinical trials compensation

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a clinical trials 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 clinical trials claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a clinical trial injury claim take?

The length of time needed to secure compensation for a clinical trials can vary considerably.

A simple uncontested medical negligence claim could be completed in 12 to 24 months. However, if court proceedings are needed a compensation claim a number of years. Normally a medical negligence claim will take 12 to 36 months. See: How long will my claim take?

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your clinical trials 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.

Will I get financial advice?

Your solicitor will be able to advise you on whether to accept a financial settlement for your clinical trials claim. If you require tax planning or trust advice, the solicitor will recommend and work closely with a financial adviser.

No win, no fee

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

Our no win, no fee promise

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is no financial risk in making a clinical trials claim, even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

What do I pay if I win my clinical trials claim?

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

What do I pay if I do not win my clinical trials claim?

If your clinical trials claim is not successful then you won't have to pay your solicitor any fees. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

Can I get Legal Aid?

Legal aid is no longer available when making a personal injury claim, but a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win, No Fee) can reduce the financial risks of making a claim.

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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Clinical trials 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