A Guide to Claiming Defective Medical Products Compensation

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a defective medical products drugs or medicine we can help.

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

Introduction

Defective medical products, drugs or medicine can significantly delay the treatment of existing medical issues and cause serious illness or injury.

Compensation claims of this nature, however, can be complex and identifying the manufacturer, supplier or medical professional responsible for your condition can be daunting without legal support.

Read this article to find out more about the main issues regarding defective medical product and medicine claims.

Alternatively, you can call Quittance on 0800 612 7456 to find out if you could have a medical negligence or defective product claim.

Do I have a defective medical products claim?

As a basic rule, you will be eligible to make a defective medical products claim if your injury happened:

  • in the last three years and;
  • someone else was to blame.

However, if these two points don't apply, a claim may still be possible.

To get impartial advice on whether you have a claim, you can speak to a legally trained adviser on 0800 612 7456.

A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.

Alternatively you can try our Online Claim Checker.

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 a defective medical products claim on their own behalf.

Read more about claiming injury compensation on behalf of a child.

Do I need a final diagnosis to make a defective medical products claim?

If you have been injured and are awaiting the results, you should still seek legal advice as soon as possible. The sooner you start a defective medical products claim after an accident, the more likely your claim is to succeed.

What if I don't know who was to blame?

You should contact a solicitor as soon as possible to discuss your options. Specialist lawyers have years of experience identifying the responsible party in cases where liability is uncertain.

Check my claim

How much compensation can I claim for defective medical products?

The amount of money you could claim for your defective medical products 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 defective medical products 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 defective medical products? (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 defective medical products 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 defective medical products will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your defective medical products 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.

Find out what your defective medical products claim could be worth now

Assessing a claim's value at the outset can be complicated, particularly if you have multiple injuries.

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.

Calculate my claim

How long do I have to make a defective medical products claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the defective medical products to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your defective medical products claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a defective medical products after 3 years?

For adults, the general rule is no, you cannot start a claim more than three years after a defective medical products.

However, if you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a defective medical products claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Will I still be able to claim for a defective medical products 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 defective medical products 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.

Defective medical product claims

The term 'medical product' is a general term for medical devices or products that are used to serve a medical or cosmetic purpose, such as a hip replacement joint or silicone breast implant.

If a medical product is found to be defective in any way, the patient is likely to be able to make a compensation claim.

The defective product will usually fall under one or more of the following categories:

Defective manufacture

These products have been manufactured incorrectly, or have been damaged at any point between the production factory and the medical centre where the fitting took place.

The claimant's solicitor must be able to prove that the product was manufactured in a defective way, or else was damaged before being fitted.

Defective design

The product may have been manufactured to the correct standard, but the design or development was flawed.

The claimant's solicitor will need to prove that the manufacturer was aware of the design defect, but did not take adequate steps to ensure it was taken off the market.

Defective or misleading marketing

If a medical product has been marketed inaccurately, or 'defectively', anyone from the manufacturers to the doctor could be found responsible.

If a doctor recommends a product to a patient without offering an alternative or fully explaining the positives and negatives of the choice, the patient may have a claim.

Incorrect application

If the product is not faulty, but has been used or applied to the patient incorrectly, a compensation claim may still be made. These claims will be made against the medical practitioner, rather than the medical product manufacturer or supplier, and are considered to be cases of medical or clinical negligence.

Compensation for defective drugs and medicine

While most drugs and medicines carry some risk of side effects, if you find that a drug or medicine you use significantly worsens an existing medical condition, you may be entitled to compensation.

Companies that produce medical products must have a very high standard of quality in their research, design and manufacturing.

Products must be rigorously tested before they can reach patients. However, injury or exacerbated illness can still occur.

Possible reasons for defective drugs and medicine:

  • The drug is not checked sufficiently for allergic reactions
  • The medicine interacts dangerously with other medications
  • The medication stops other medications from working
  • There is a flaw in the manufacturing process
  • Contamination with other dangerous substances or infectious diseases has occurred during manufacture

Defective drugs and medicines pose a particularly high risk to a person's health as they are often used when the patient is already in a poor state of health, making them especially vulnerable to further illness.

The duty of care to protect users, that is imposed on parties involved in every stage of the development, manufacture, supply and administering of medication, is therefore very high.

No win, no fee, no risk

No win, no fee means that your solicitor will not charge you any legal fees if your defective medical products claim is unsuccessful. 'No win, no fee' is also called 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 a defective medical products claim, even if you don't win your claim.

What do I pay if I win my defective medical products 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%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my defective medical products claim?

If your defective medical products claim is not successful then you will not have to pay any fees.

Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

Please note, 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.

How can Quittance help?

Our highly experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury 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:

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Defective Medical Products 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.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

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*

Road accident claims

4 to 9 months

Work accident claims

6 to 9 months

Medical negligence claims

12 to 36 months

Industrial disease claims

12 to 18 months

Public place or occupiers’ liability claims

6 to 9 months

MIB claims (uninsured drivers)

3 to 4 months**

CICA claims (criminal assault)

12 to 18 months**

*RTA and other claims processed through the Ministry of Justice portal can settle faster.
**Official Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) Government agency and Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) figures.

Read more about how long personal injury claims take.

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.

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