A Guide to Claiming Hospital Malnutrition Compensation

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by hospital malnutrition we can help.

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

Introduction

The number of people who leave hospitals in England suffering from malnutrition has increased by 85% in the last ten years, according to figures published by the British Medical Journal. This number continues to rise.

Hospitals have a duty of care to all their patients, and must ensure that patients get enough to eat and drink. This duty is not always fulfilled. In many cases it is the most vulnerable who are being failed by healthcare professionals, including children and the elderly.

What is malnutrition?

The NHS defines malnutrition as ‘poor nutrition'. The NHS also refers to ‘under nutrition' - when a person does not get enough nutrients, and ‘over nutrition' - when a person gets more nutrients than they need.

What are the consequences of malnutrition in hospitals?

Patients who are already suffering from poor health become even more vulnerable when they suffer from malnutrition while at hospital.

Solicitors have assisted with clinical negligence claims for the effects of malnutrition, including:

  • Significant weight loss, which can impede recovery from illness, and result in the patient acquiring other conditions or infections
  • Fatigue and general lack of energy, which can prevent the patient from engaging with treatment for the original condition
  • Weak muscles, which can restrict a patient's mobility
  • Poor or low mood, which can have many mental and physical implications, and can generally impede recovery

Why does malnutrition in hospitals occur?

Research suggests that hospital staff are often overworked and there are sometimes not enough nurses and auxiliaries to care for all patients. In addition, nurses are often burdened with administrative tasks and are not able to ensure that everyone in their care has enough to eat and drink.

Older people are sometimes provided with meals that they cannot physically reach, and the food is taken away uneaten. Others do not get enough time to finish their meals before they are removed.

Do I have a hospital malnutrition 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 hospital malnutrition 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.

How much compensation can I claim for hospital malnutrition?

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

Your hospital malnutrition 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.

Hospital malnutrition compensation calculator

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a hospital malnutrition 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 hospital malnutrition claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a hospital malnutrition claim take?

The length of time needed to get compensation for hospital malnutrition can vary considerably.

A straightforward liability accepted medical negligence claim could be completed in 12 to 24 months. If the cases is particularly complex, a claim can take a number of years. Typically, a medical negligence claim takes 12 to 36 months. Read more:

How long will my claim take?

Will I still be able to claim for a hospital malnutrition 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 hospital malnutrition 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 advice on treatment options?

As part of the hospital malnutrition claims process, your solicitor can arrange a thorough and independent needs assessment. The assessment may offer advice on treatment, access to treatments and therapies not always available on the NHS and co-ordination with rehabilitation providers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists etc

Hospital malnutrition compensation claims advice

The panel of solicitors provide a no-obligation consultation to explore your options. Call us on 0800 612 7456 for more information.

For general answers to questions relating to claims work, for example "What do I pay if I do not win ", see our FAQs.

No win, no fee

Under a no win, no fee agreement (known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA') you can make a hospital malnutrition claim without the worry of upfront legal fees. If your hospital malnutrition claim is unsuccessful you won't have to pay any money to your solicitor.

Our no win, no fee promise

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 hospital malnutrition injury.

What do I pay if I win my hospital malnutrition 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%. Your solicitor will agree a success fee with you before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my hospital malnutrition claim?

If your hospital malnutrition 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.

Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

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.

Is there a penalty if I withdraw?

Under a No Win, No Fee Agreement (CFA), fees may apply if a claimant refuses to cooperate, or abandons their claim after the legal work has started, or if the claim is fraudulent.

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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Hospital malnutrition 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