A Guide to Claiming Faulty Defibrillator or Pacemaker Compensation

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a faulty defibrillator injury we can help.

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

Introduction

Faulty defibrillator and faulty pacemaker claims are among the most serious defective product claims that personal injury solicitors handle.

As with any defective medical product, a claim can be made for injuries resulting from a faulty defibrillator, including an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD).

Although the great majority of defibrillators and pacemakers work correctly, there have been a number of product recalls in recent years resulting from defects that cause batteries to deplete and defects that fail to correctly regulate a patient's heartbeat.

Surgeon in theatre

Do I have a faulty defibrillator or pacemaker claim?

It should be possible to make a faulty defibrillator or pacemaker claim if you were injured:

  • in the last three years and,
  • someone else was at fault.

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

To confirm whether you are eligible to claim speak to a faulty defibrillator or pacemaker claim expert on 0800 612 7456.

A short call 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.

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 faulty defibrillator or pacemaker claim on their own behalf.

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

What if there is no evidence?

Evidence can take the form of eyewitness accounts, CCTV footage, photographs etc. It will be difficult to win a faulty defibrillator or pacemaker claim with no evidence at all. You may feel that there is no evidence but a solictor may well be able to assist in collating evidence that you, as a claimant, were unaware of.

Check my claim

How much compensation can I claim for faulty defibrillator or pacemaker?

The amount of money you could claim for your faulty defibrillator or pacemaker 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 faulty defibrillator or pacemaker 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 faulty defibrillator or pacemaker? (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 faulty defibrillator or pacemaker 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 faulty defibrillator or pacemaker will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your faulty defibrillator or pacemaker 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 faulty defibrillator or pacemaker 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.

Can I claim for an existing faulty defibrillator or pacemaker that has got worse?

Yes, it is possible to pursue a claim in the event that a pre-existing medical condition, illness or injury is made worse or aggravated by an accident or someone else's negligence.

Calculate my claim

How long do I have to make a faulty defibrillator or pacemaker claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the faulty defibrillator or pacemaker to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your faulty defibrillator or pacemaker claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a faulty defibrillator or pacemaker after 3 years?

For adults, the general rule is no, you cannot start a claim more than three years after a faulty defibrillator or pacemaker.

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 faulty defibrillator or pacemaker claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Will I still be able to claim for a faulty defibrillator or pacemaker 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 faulty defibrillator or pacemaker 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.

What should you do if you think that you or a family member has been affected by a faulty pacemaker?

The first step is to ensure that the person affected sees a doctor. The doctor can investigate the matter and confirm if there is a defect or potential defect, and will arrange treatment for any injuries that have arisen due to the fault.

If the affected person has been injured as the result of the defect, and the manufacture of the defibrillator is found to have been negligent, a claim can be made. This will likely require an independent medical exam, which the solicitor handling your claim can arrange.

Who is responsible for defibrillator failure compensation?

The manufacturer, distributors, and medical facilities can all be held accountable, depending on the nature of the fault.

A medical negligence claim could be made if the medical team responsible for the installation and monitoring of the pacemaker were negligent, failing to install the item correctly, or installing a defibrillator they should have been aware was faulty.

No win, no fee - the facts

With a no win, no fee agreement (referred to as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA') you can make a faulty defibrillator or pacemaker claim without having to pay upfront legal fees. If your faulty defibrillator or pacemaker 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 making a faulty defibrillator or pacemaker injury compensation claim.

What do I pay if I win my faulty defibrillator or pacemaker 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%. Your solicitor will agree a success fee with you before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my faulty defibrillator or pacemaker claim?

If your faulty defibrillator or pacemaker claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees whatsoever.

Read more about No win, no fee

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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Faulty Defibrillator Or Pacemaker 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