A Guide to Claiming Epilepsy Compensation
Updated: Sep 2, 2019
This guide considers what you need to know about making a successful epilepsy compensation claim.
One in every 103 people in the UK has epilepsy. Every day 87 people are diagnosed with the condition. If you have epilepsy that you think was triggered by an accident that was not your fault, you may have grounds to make a compensation claim.
If your epilepsy was misdiagnosed or mistreated, you may be able to make a medical negligence claim. Quittance's panel of solicitors have assisted with epilepsy claims, and will be able to advise you on the best way to proceed with your individual case.
Do I have an epilepsy 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 epilepsy 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.
What if a child was injured?
The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.
A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start an epilepsy claim on their own behalf.
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.
The amount of money you could claim for your epilepsy 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 epilepsy 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 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 are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
See a list of what you can claim for:
Examples of special damages include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
Find out what your claim could be worth now
Assessing a claim's value at the outset can be complicated.
If you would like a FREE claim estimate with no obligation to start a claim, call 0800 612 7456.
Alternatively, our compensation calculator will give you an instant estimate of what your claim is worth.
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your epilepsy case 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.
Who can make an epilepsy claim?
Epilepsy as a result of injury
If a person has been diagnosed with epilepsy as a result of an injury that was not their fault, they may be able to make a claim. The claimant must be able to prove that the accident was the fault of a third party, such as an employer or an individual, in order to make the claim against them.
Epilepsy medical negligence
If an individual has been misdiagnosed or mistreated for an existing epilepsy condition, they may be able to make a medical negligence claim. The claimant will need to prove that the medical professional failed to correctly diagnose or treat the epilepsy condition when another doctor would reasonably have made a correct diagnosis. It must also be shown that this mistreatment or misdiagnosis resulted in further suffering.
What can be claimed for?
The Courts recognise that epilepsy is a condition that can negatively affect an individuals quality of life. Seizures and convulsions can lead to further injuries, and can continue to occur for the rest of a persons life. People with the condition may be prohibited from certain activities like driving.
Depending on the severity of seizures or fits experienced due to epilepsy, there are two different types of epilepsy accident claim as defined by the Judicial College. Although these terms may no longer be used by medical professionals, they are still recognised by the Courts for the purposes of calculating epilepsy compensation:
Grand mal epilepsy accident claims
Grand mal epileptic seizures are the most severe types of seizure an accident can cause. They are also known as tonic-closure seizures.
Petit mal epilepsy accident claims
These are lesser types of seizures, also known as absence seizures such as staring spells or absence of mind which happen over short periods less than 15 seconds.
Epilepsy compensation for the impact on a person's job and lifestyle
People who have been diagnosed with epilepsy due to medical negligence or injury could claim for the effect on their quality of life. People with epilepsy can find that the condition affects their ability to continue with regular activities such as driving or going to the cinema.
Certain activities, like going to night clubs or music festivals, that a person previously enjoyed, can bring on seizures due to strobe lighting. SCUBA diving may be prohibited due to the risk of having a seizure under water.
A claimant can also claim for the impact the condition has on their ability to work. Certain jobs like driving trains, lorries or operating machinery are prohibited for people with epilepsy, due to the risk of them having a seizure at the wheel.
General and special damages for epilepsy
Part of the total amount of compensation a claimant is entitled to is calculated depending on the type of epilepsy and whether the condition is expected to be permanent or temporary. This portion is called 'general damages'.
A claimant also will receive compensation, in the form of 'special damages', for the impact epilepsy has had on their life. The effect the condition has on a person's quality of life will depend on to what extent epilepsy restricts the persons ability to perform their job, or enjoy hobbies and other interests.
How did your injury occur?
The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:
If you are thinking of making a work accident or injury claim, there are some key points to be aware of:
In a road accident
If you are thinking of making a road accident claim, there are some key points to be aware of:
In a public place (e.g. supermarket, pavement)
If you have been injured in a public place, there are some key points you need to be aware of:
According to the latest figures published in 2019, there were over 17,000 clinical negligence claims in the year 2016-17. This increase is largely down to an overstretched NHS.
If you are thinking of making a medical negligence claim, there are some key points to be aware of:
Other claim types
Find details on another type of claim:
No win, no fee
No win, no fee means that your solicitor will not charge you anything if your epilepsy claim is unsuccessful. 'No win, no fee' is also known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA'.
Our no win, no fee promise
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is no financial risk in making an epilepsy claim, even if you don't win your claim.
What do I pay if I win my epilepsy 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%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my epilepsy claim?
If your epilepsy claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees at all.
How can Quittance help?
Our highly experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning medical negligence claims. Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you.
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:Call me back
No Win, No Fee
to start a claim
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.
How long will my claim take?
The length of time needed to secure compensation can vary considerably.
For example, straightforward car accident claims can settle in a matter of weeks, whereas complex medical negligence cases can take years.
Injury claims can also take longer if it is not clear who is responsible for your injury, or if liability is denied by the defendant.
Taken from average case times, this table sets out approximately how long personal injury claims take to settle:
Personal injury claim type
Estimated claim duration*
4 to 9 months
6 to 9 months
12 to 36 months
12 to 18 months
6 to 9 months
3 to 4 months**
12 to 18 months**
**Official Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) Government agency and Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) figures.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by Quittance’s 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.
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.
Can I get an interim compensation payment?
If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim interim compensation payments.
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.
About the author
Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.
Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert