MRSA Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by MRSA we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered MRSA and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.
In our guide to claiming
Although cases of MRSA infection have reduced in recent years, there are still hundreds of cases of MRSA bloodstream infections recorded by NHS trusts every year.
Proof that an individual was infected by MRSA is not enough make a successful claim. It must also be demonstrated that the person was exposed to infection as a result of clinical negligence on the part of the hospital; demonstrating this negligence will depend on the facts of the case.
What is MRSA?
Meticillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium. The term is used to refer to a bacterial infection that mainly affects people who are already unwell or debilitated, or who have a weak or compromised immune system.
As its name suggests, bacteria causing the illness are resistant to Meticillin (Methicillin), a particular group of antibiotics commonly used to treat Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) infections.
S. aureus is carried by 1 in 3 people - usually harmlessly - but may become a problem when people are having healthcare treatment and the skin is broken, for example during surgery or by using a drip to give fluids or drugs. This allows the bacteria to get into the bloodstream where they multiply.
Once in the bloodstream MRSA may lead to serious infections in the lung (pneumonia), bone (osteomyelitis), heart valve (endocarditis), or blood poisoning (septicaemia).
The symptoms of MRSA infection vary depending on which part of the body is infected, but there is often redness and swelling at the site of infection.
MRSA prevention and hospital negligence
MRSA is contracted through contact with a carrier. It is most commonly passed on via the hands - and via contaminated hospital equipment.
The NHS and other healthcare providers have introduced strict guidelines to prevent MRSA infections being introduced and containing them when they are.
These include the pre-screening of patients going into hospitals for planned procedures for MRSA and treating any "carriers" before they enter hospital.
Healthcare staff are required to observe strict hygiene practices - using alcohol based gels for hand cleaning; proper disposal of paper hospital gowns; regular sanitising of medical equipment and surfaces - all help to prevent the spread of MRSA.
Anyone developing MRSA symptoms requires urgent medical intervention. As well as treatment, a patient must be immediately isolated from other patients.
Can I claim if I caught MRSA through a hospital?
MRSA is an extremely serious infection and in some incidences can prove fatal. Hospitals and their staff have a duty of care to do everything possible to protect the health of patients.
Anyone contracting MRSA in a hospital, nursing home or other healthcare environment may have done so through the healthcare provider failing to follow strict infection control procedures.
However, as MRSA is an infection it is impossible to eradicate it entirely. For a successful claim against a healthcare provider it has to be demonstrated that it was negligent in its care of the patient.
Negligence may be proved if:
- A patient subsequently contracted MRSA having been screened as MRSA negative before admission.
- There are delays in diagnosis and treatment of an MRSA infection
- There was inappropriate treatment for the infection and other conditions, including open wounds.
- It can be proved that medical hygiene procedures were not followed correctly.
If a healthcare provider is found negligent then a claimant may be entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering caused by the MRSA infection and for any long term physical or psychological effects.
How did your injury occur?
The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:
No win, no fee
With a no win, no fee agreement, your solicitor agrees that you will have no legal fees to pay whatsoever if your claim is not successful.
Our no win, no fee promise
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 a MRSA injury compensation claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my MRSA 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%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my MRSA claim?
If your MRSA claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal 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. mrsa 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.
How can Quittance help?
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, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.
Call us FREE 0800 376 1001 or arrange a callback:
if you can claim
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 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.
How long do I have to make a MRSA claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the MRSA to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your MRSA claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for a MRSA 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 MRSA compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a MRSA claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the 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.
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.
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.
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.