Irritable Bowel Syndrome Compensation Claims

If you have been affected by IBS, 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

Introduction

Around one in five adults in the UK develops the signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) at some stage in their life. Around twice as many women are affected as men.

Symptoms can range from mild and manageable to debilitating, and calculations for injury compensation will reflect the impact IBS has had on a specific individual's life.

The condition can develop as a 'secondary injury' following food poisoning on holiday, or as a side-effect of medication.

In some cases, proving that the syndrome was caused by the negligence of another party can be a challenge. A specialist solicitor will assist with gathering the necessary medical reports and other evidence to support your claim.

Doctor discharging patient

Diagnosing the condition

Irritable bowel syndrome is a common disorder of the gut. It is classified as a "functional" disorder. This means that the function of the gut is disrupted, even though all parts of the gut and bowel look normal.

The four key symptoms of IBS are:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea

IBS is a syndrome rather than a disease. As such, it may come and go at intervals, causing pain and discomfort over a long period.

The long-term prognosis, and associated treatment and care costs, of the condition should be accounted for when making a claim.

Common IBS injury claims

IBS may occur whenever there is a change in the activity of the gut. The precise cause is not known. However, one or more of the following factors may play a part:

  • Infection and bacteria in the gut. About one in six cases of IBS appear to follow a bout of food poisoning including campylobacter, e-coli, salmonella and cryptosporidium.
  • Stress and emotional upset, such as post-accident anxiety. The onset of symptoms coincides with a stressful life event in about half of all IBS cases.
  • Treatment for other conditions of the gut, including side-effects of prescription medication

When calculating damages for irritable bowel syndrome, the Courts do not take into account the nature of the incident that caused the changes to the gut. Compensation awards are calculated solely by reference to the severity of the illness and the impact it has on the claimant's life.

However, for the purposes of bringing a compensation claim, the cause of the accident does matter. The injury lawyer must prove that the defendant negligently caused the accident or food poisoning and that the IBS arose as a result.

Diagnosis and treatment

There is no single test for IBS. Diagnosis usually takes place at the hospital and involves a process of ruling out other potential gut conditions. Doctors might perform a variety of tests including colonoscopy, abdominal CT scans and blood tests.

IBS is a long-term condition. The syndrome may take years to resolve itself, or it may never resolve. Patients may gain relief by making changes to their diet and lifestyle, including eliminating stressors and food intolerances.

As an initial step, the injury lawyer will arrange for an independent gut specialist to perform a medical examination. The doctor will examine the claimant's medical records, assess their symptoms and give an estimate of the likely duration of the IBS. The medical report will form the basis of the irritable bowel syndrome compensation claim.

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.
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Injury claim eligibility - 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.

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

Can I make an irritable bowel syndrome claim right up to the three-year limit?

Technically, yes. However, in practice, not always. Many solicitors will not take on an irritable bowel syndrome claim that only has a few months (sometimes even a year) left before the time limit expires. The panel of solicitors will take a claim on as late as possible where it is felt that the claim could be successful.

Do I need a diagnosis before I can make an irritable bowel syndrome 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 an irritable bowel syndrome claim after an accident, the more likely your claim is to succeed.

I developed IBS after medical treatment

Occasionally, IBS may arise as a result of negligent medical treatment. Clinical negligence claims often involve:

  • Negligent treatment during colonoscopy or ERCP procedures
  • Delay in diagnosing the condition
  • Side effects following the prescription of medication for other diseases
  • Surgical error.

Medical negligence is a complex area of personal injury law. For a claim to succeed, the injury lawyer must prove, on a balance of probabilities (more than a 50% likelihood), that

  • The doctor's actions or omissions were negligent, that is, no other doctor would have made the medical error; and
  • The negligence caused or materially contributed to the IBS.

The fate of a claim typically turns on the evidence of eminent clinicians who will review the doctor's professional conduct. The injury lawyer will gather evidence from the responsible health trust or GP practice to build the strongest case possible and pursue the maximum compensation settlement.

How much compensation can I claim for an injury?

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

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 an injury? (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

Irritable bowel syndrome compensation amounts

The following irritable bowel syndrome payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Fifteenth Edition by the Judicial College.

These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.

Example Amount
Digestive system
Serious non-penetrating injury with ongoing sympto £13,380 to £22,130
Moderate non-traumatic injury £3,150 to £7,600
Severe damage with ongoing symptoms £34,280 to £49,350
Penetrating wounds, lacerations or serious pressure £5,280 to £10,040
Serious non-traumatic injury £7,600 to £15,200
Minor non-traumatic injury £730 to £3,150

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 irritable bowel syndrome compensation?

If you receive financial compensation following an irritable bowel syndrome 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 much can I claim?

How long does an IBS claim take?

How long it can take to secure compensation for IBS can vary considerably.

A straightforward liability accepted injury claim can settle in a few weeks. If liability is denied, a compensation claim can take significantly longer. Usually, an injury claim will take 4 to 9 months. For more information on how long your claim could take, 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.

Read more:

Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

No win, no fee - the facts

'No win, no fee' means that if your injury claim is unsuccessful, you won't have to pay your solicitor any money. Known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA', no win, no fee is a legal contract between you and a solicitor.

No win, no fee - our guarantee

If you have been injured and someone else was to blame (even partially), 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%. 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 won't have to pay your solicitor any fees. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

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:

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Injury 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:

Claiming on behalf of another person.

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.

Read more:

Claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

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.

Calculate your claim limitation date

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.

Read more:

Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

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.

Read more:

How to I get an interim compensation payment?

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

Author:
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor