Infected Wound Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by an infected wound, we can help.
If your injuries were caused by someone else's actions or negligence, 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 personal injury solicitor.
Your solicitor will ask you about what happened, and they will collect evidence to prove what caused your injuries. 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 personal injury compensation claim on a No Win No Fee basis.
In this article
Although inflammation around a wound may be a good sign, slowing blood circulation and allowing healing white blood cells to flood the area to fight bacteria, medical staff should recognise the difference between normal inflammation and signs of infection.
These include swelling and pain at the wound site and it may feel hot. Some patients - including the elderly and those with diabetes - may not display obvious symptoms, therefore nursing staff may need to be extra vigilant.
Where the wound infection is deep, X-rays or an ultrasound scan may be needed to detect fluid in the wound and assess any tissue damage. A tissue biopsy may also be needed.
Do I have an injury claim?
It should be possible to make an injury claim if your injury occurred:
- in the last 3 years, and;
- someone else was to blame, and;
- that person owed you a duty of care.
Do I have a claim? - Common questions
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 injury claim on their own behalf.
Can I claim if the infected wound made an existing injury worse?
Yes, although demonstrating this can be more difficult, so legal and medical advice should be sought as early as possible.
How does a wound become infected?
If a wound is not treated by thorough cleaning and the appropriate dressing to keep the wound clean, micro-organisms introduced under the skin may multiply and cause infection.
Streptococcus A, a bacterium which occurs naturally on the skin, may be serious if it becomes invasive and is often the cause of abscesses and infected surgical wounds.
When dressings are not changed regularly the wound may not stay clean - and its healing process may not be monitored.
Some infections, such as MRSA, are resistant to antibiotics and may be acquired in hospital, through cross-contamination. This may occur when healthcare professionals neglect to carry out good hygiene practices, by not washing hands between patients or using anti-bacterial gel to minimise the risks.
Diagnosing an infected wound
Determining the type of infection is usually done through swab tests or fine needle aspiration of any fluid in the wound. Laboratory tests will diagnose whether a wound has a bacterial or fungal infection, and which organisms are the cause. This will ensure the patient receives the correct treatment to combat the infection.
Failure to test for infected wounds and diagnose the micro-organism causing an infected wound may mean the infection spreads to other organs potentially causing sepsis (blood poisoning), which may be life-threatening.
Claiming compensation for an infected wound
It may be possible to claim for compensation if a patient's mismanagement of care has caused a wound to become infected, or an infection to worsen resulting in further pain, suffering or medical complications.
A healthcare professional may be deemed to have been negligent of his patient's care if:
- His misinterpretation of symptoms or inadequate examination caused him to fail to diagnose and treat an infection.
- He did not take action in response to any change in condition that may have resulted from the wound's severity.
- There were medication or documentation errors that led to an infection of either the wound or surrounding tissue.
- There was no treatment plan or documentation in place to ensure adequate wound care
- The wound was not regularly assessed at appropriate intervals to monitor its healing
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.
Will I have to pay tax on my infected wound compensation?
If you receive financial compensation following an infected wound injury, specific legislation ensures that you do not have to pay tax on it. This is the case no matter whether the compensation is received as a lump sum or as staggered payments.
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:
How long does an infected wound claim take?
The length of time needed to win compensation for an infected wound can vary significantly.
A straightforward liability accepted injury claim might be concluded in a couple of months. However, if liability is denied the process might take longer. Typically, an injury claim takes between 4 and 9 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.
No win, no fee
'No win, no fee' means that if your injury claim is not successful, you won't have to pay your solicitor any money. Known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA', no win, no fee is a contract entered into between you and your solicitor.
No win, no fee promise
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is absolutely no financial risk in making an injury claim, even if you don't win your 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, only after your compensation is awarded. 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 injury claim?
If your injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees at all. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
How do personal injury solicitors get paid?
If your infected wound claim is successful, the defendant, or their insurer, will pay the compensation and your solicitors fees.
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 injury 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.
Can I claim if I feel I was partly responsible for my accident?
Yes. You may still be able to claim compensation even if your actions may have contributed to the accident.
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.
How long do I have to make an injury claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the injury to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for an injury after 3 years?
Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.
However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.
If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.
There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim injury compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether an injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
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.