Premature Hospital Discharge Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by medical negligence, we can help.
If your injuries were caused by the negligence of a doctor, nurse, midwife or other medical professional, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
Claiming injury compensation with a solicitor
You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a specialist clinical negligence solicitor.
Your solicitor will ask you about what happened, and they will collect evidence to prove the negligence happened. Your solicitor will also work out how much money you can claim, based on your injuries, lost earnings and other expenses.
We can help you make a medical negligence claim on a No Win No Fee basis.
In this article
Being sent home too early from hospital can have significant health repercussions. In some cases, it may amount to a medical negligence claim.
Premature discharge from hospital lead to unnecessarily prolonged illness, it can also lead to other more serious complications.
If you have suffered as a result of a hospital discharge which is considered unreasonably early, or exposed you to unreasonable risk, you may be entitled to seek compensation. Proving that your condition or worsening condition was the result of hospital negligence is crucial to making a successful claim.
Understanding premature discharge from hospital
The growing hospital readmission rate in the UK is a indicator that many patients may be sent home from hospital prematurely.
Figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show that, in 2013, there were more than a million emergency readmissions in England alone. This was a 27 percent increase from the previous year.
According to the HSCIC, the most common injuries or illnesses that prompt readmission include hip fractures, strokes and hysterectomies.
These relapses have largely been attributed to inadequate discharge and follow-up arrangements.
Dangerous discharge from hospital
Premature discharge can also include dangerous discharge. 'Dangerous discharge' describes when patients are not only signed out to leave early, but also are required to leave abruptly without appropriate steps being taken to ensure their safety.
There have been cases of patients being discharged in the middle of night and without any controls in place to ensure they can get home safely or have appropriate care set up when they do arrive home.
Proving an untimely discharge
For a patient who has suffered as a result of premature discharge, whether this means a hospital readmission or not, the first step in making a successful claim is proving that the discharge was indeed premature that additional suffering was caused as a direct result of the discharge.
Hospitals must have strict procedures in place to ensure that a patient is genuinely ready to leave.
Due to the high demand for beds and shrinking budgets, decisions that are inappropriate or unsafe are sometimes made. These decisions to discharge may amount to clinical negligence.
Not every one of these inappropriate decisions will be deemed negligent. The questions that will be asked to determine negligence may include:
- Did the hospital staff's actions fall under the accepted standard of medical care
- Would another similar-skilled medical practitioner or hospital have discharged the patient given their condition?
Failings that could be considered to amount to negligence include:
- Failure to make any follow-up appointments
- Failure to diagnose or properly treat
- Failure to conduct proper medical tests
- Failure to ensure the patient was medically stable
During the claims process, a medical expert will be able to provide detailed information on how you were harmed as a result of premature discharge.
Your solicitor will be able to answer any questions you have regarding this at the outset of your claim. To speak to a specialist solicitor about your potential claim, call us on 0800 376 1001, or request a callback.
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.
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.
What can I claim for after an injury? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
What is the average injury compensation for an 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 an injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your injury 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.
Calculate my injury compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an 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 injury claim could be worth now:
- Instant accurate calculation
- Checks your right to claim
- Confirms No Win, No Fee eligibility
How long does a premature hospital discharge negligence claim take?
How long it can take to process a premature hospital discharge negligence claim can vary significantly.
A simple uncontested medical negligence claim could be completed in 12 to 24 months. However, if the case goes to court or there is a complex ongoing injury the process might take a number of years. On average a medical negligence claim takes between 12 and 36 months. For more information, see: How long will my claim take?
How else can a solicitor help me?
Your solicitor will handle your injury claim from the initial FREE case evaluation, through to the financial settlement.
Your solicitor will work with other specialists to provide caring and sensitive support and 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 have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. Solicitors settle the vast majority of claims out of court.
Less than 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 decided by a judge or magistrate, not a jury.
Even if the claim does go to court, it is very unlikely you will have to attend.
How does no win, no fee work?
No Win, No Fee is an agreement with your solicitor (known as a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA) that means that you can make an injury claim with:
- no upfront legal fees
- no solicitor's fees payable if your claim is not successful
- a success fee payable only if your claim is successful
No Win, No Fee is the most common way to make a compensation claim.
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 making an injury compensation claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my injury claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, once 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 injury claim?
If your injury 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.
Why do most solicitors charge 25%?
25% success fees are charged by most law firms as this is the maximum fee that the Ministry of Justice allows them to charge. premature hospital discharge claims can take a solicitor hundreds of hours work and they receive nothing if the case is lost. The success fee will be subject to your individual circumstances and the actual fee may vary. Call us for more information.
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.
How we can help you
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
- 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday
Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:
- Find out
if you can claim
- No obligation
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.
Will I have to visit a solicitor's office to start a claim?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. Personal injury claims are handled by email, post and phone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
I need the money now - what are my options?
If you are unable to work and have bills to pay, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is an advance on your compensation payment. Any amount you receive in interim payments would be deducted from your final compensation payment.
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.