Pressure sores/bedsores are painful and can take a very long time to heal. They generally develop when persistent pressure is applied to the same area of the skin for extended periods of time. This could happen when a person finds it difficult to reposition themselves because of advanced age or some other mobility issue. With proper care, pressure sores can be prevented. However, if proper timely care is not provided, these sores can get infected. In worst-case scenarios, the infected tissue can invade the bone and gangrene can set in, resulting in several associated complications.
If you or a loved one develop pressure sores while you are under the care of a nurse in a hospital or a professional caregiver in a nursing home, you may have the right to pursue a pressure sore claim for compensation.
Legal Issues Associated With Pressure Sores Claims
Pressure sores are primarily caused due to neglect. If this neglect happens when you are under the care of a healthcare professional either at a hospital or at a nursing home, they are liable to compensate you for your pain and suffering.
According to the law, all healthcare professionals have a duty of care towards their patients. This means, healthcare professionals are under a legal obligation to take reasonable precautions to ensure that their patients are safe from any injuries. Allowing pressure sores to develop is an indication of clinical negligence for which the caregiver can be held liable.
For your claim to be successful, you will be required to provide solid evidence that your pressure sores were caused because of negligence.
How To Start A Pressure Sores Compensation Claim
If you think you have grounds for pursuing a pressure sores compensation claim, the first thing you need to go is get in touch with an experienced personal injury solicitor. Making a claim for bedsores is not something you can hope to win easily by yourself without the necessary legal knowledge and experience. In addition to having extensive legal expertise, you will also need to have sufficient medical knowledge to be able to prove that your injuries could have been prevented with sufficient care. Last but not least, you will have to file your claim within 3 years of the injury, which means you might have to start putting together your claim even before your injuries have healed completely.
Contacting Personal Injury Solicitors
Almost all personal injury solicitors offer potential clients a free consultation, typically carried out over the phone. This means you will not pay any fee for the legal advice they give you during your consultation, and you are still free to contact other solicitors if you prefer.
So what happens during this first consultation? During the consultation the solicitor will ask various questions to determine what has happened and why you believe you are owed compensation. They will want to know details such as the level of care you received, what happened before and after your bedsores developed, how severe the pressure ulcers are/were, any medical treatment received and so forth. If the personal injury solicitor concludes from the consultation that you do not have a strong enough case, they may advise you not to go ahead with filing a compensation claim. However, if they find that you have a strong case in your favour with sufficient proof to back your pressure sores claim, they will recommend that you go ahead with your claim. Most personal injury solicitors will offer to file your pressure sores compensation claim on a No Win No Fee basis.
What Is A No Win No Fee Agreement?
A No Win No Fee agreement is a unique type of contract between the solicitor/law firm and their client. The gist of the contract is that the solicitor funds the entire legal process, from the beginning to the end. If your pressure sores claim is successful and you receive compensation, only then will you pay the agreed fee. The exact amount and the mode of payment will be laid out in detail in the No Win No Fee contract. In our case it would be a set percentage which is deducted directly from the compensation. If your claim is unsuccessful and you do not receive any compensation, you will not have to pay anything.
The biggest advantage you get when you use a No Win No Fee agreement is that you benefit from the professional injury solicitor’s expertise without any financial risk.
How Much Compensation Can You Expect To Receive For A Pressure Sores Claim?
There is no one fixed amount that is awarded to all claimants. The court takes several different factors into consideration before calculating how much compensation to award you for pressure sores such as how severe the pressure sores were and how long they have taken or will take to heal.
Various factors considered when claiming pressure sores compensation are:
- Medical expenses – All of your medical expenses should be reimbursed. This includes the cost of any ongoing, long term treatment. The cost of counselling is also covered under medical expenses.
- Travel expenses – The cost of all travel to and from medical appointments for pressure sores treatment will be compensated.
- Cost of home care – This is the cost of hiring a caregiver to care for you at home. You can even claim if the caregiver is a family member, as caring for you may prevent them from seeking other earning opportunities.
- Loss of earnings – If your pressure ulcers prevented you from getting back to work and your pay was cut as a result, the projected lost income will be reimbursed to you. You may also be compensated for any promotions, bonuses or other perks you lost out on because of being absent from work.
- Pain and suffering – This is compensation for all the physical pain and emotional trauma that typically follows any injury.
Your solicitor will also claim reimbursement for the cost of assistive devices or structural changes to your home or vehicle, as well as compensation for loss of amenity.
Once a personal injury solicitor agrees to file your pressure sores compensation claim, they will research precedents and consult with other experts to ensure that they ask for the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to.