If a clinical trial injury has set you back, we'll help you move forward

If you've been adversely affected as a participant in a clinical trial, you may have grounds for a claim. Compensation can cover any unforeseen injuries or conditions that arise from trial participation, particularly when risks were not fully disclosed.

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a clinical trial injury, we can help. You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a specialist clinical negligence solicitor.

In this article


    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 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

    See also:

    Clinical negligence claims

    Defective medication or defective medical product claims

    What are clinical trials?

    Clinical trials are research studies on humans. They are designed to answer specific questions on how the human 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:

    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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 qualify for clinical trial injury compensation?

    To claim compensation for medical negligence, your solicitor must prove that:

    • a medical professional breached their duty of care towards you, and
    • this breach caused you to suffer harm or injury

    Use our injury claim calculator to find out if you can claim. Alternatively, you can speak to a claims advisor on 0800 376 1001 and find out if you have a claim in minutes.

    How long do I have to claim clinical trial injury compensation?

    For a clinical trial claim, you usually have 3 years to make a claim from the date you became aware that the harm you suffered was caused by substandard treatment (date of knowledge).

    The 3 year limitation period does not apply to minors (under 18s). A parent, guardian or litigation friend can start a claim on a child's behalf up to their 18th birthday and the child has until their 21st birthday to claim for themselves.

    Get an impartial opinion

    To get impartial advice on whether you have a claim, speak to an 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.

    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 a clinical trials?

    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.

    Clinical trials 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 December 2023 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 and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

    How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?

    Special damages

    Special damages is compensation awarded to cover any financial losses and expenses you incur as a result of your clinical trial injury or negligent medical treatment. These damages aim to put you back in the financial position you would have been in, had your injury not occurred.

    Special damages will also cover your medical treatment expenses, that might include corrective treatment and psychological support.

    Read more:

    A complete list of recoverable losses in a personal injury claim

    Clinical negligence claims

    Clinical trials injuries may be categorised as clinical negligence. Click on the icon below for more information.

    Injury FAQs

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    No win, no fee clinical trials compensation claims

    With no win, no fee, you can claim clinical trials 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

    How we can help you with your medical negligence claim

    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.

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    If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee medical negligence claim, we are open:

    Mon-Fri 8am-9pm, Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 9:30am-5pm

    Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:

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