Pressure sores compensation

Pressure sores compensation

For finding answers and getting justice

If you or a family member are receiving medical treatment, you have a right to trust that the professionals providing care are doing everything they can to make sure you’re safe and well. However, when standards are allowed to drop, it can lead to painful issues such as pressure sores. If this has happened to you as a result of medical negligence, you may be able to make a compensation claim.

Pressure sores can lead to serious health implications, which is why it's so important that anyone affected should be able to access compensation for their pain and suffering. Making a claim can aid your recovery and can also offer an opportunity for your healthcare provider to learn from their mistakes.

We understand that pressure sore compensation claims can be a complex topic to navigate - which is where Switalskis comes in. Our dedicated team of legal experts specialise in pressure sore negligence cases and we'll provide you with the understanding, empathy and guidance you'll need during this difficult period.

Whether you need advice on your eligibility for a compensation claim, information on the overall pressure sore claims process, or just someone to listen to your concerns, we’re here for you. Reach out to us today and let us stand beside you in this fight for justice.

Start your pressure sores compensation claim with Switalskis by giving us a call on 0800 1380 458, or contact us through the website

How Switalskis can help you

At Switalskis, our aim is to offer our clients the very best legal expertise, coupled with a deep understanding of the emotional stress that medical negligence can cause. We pride ourselves on our ability to support and guide you through the process of making a pressure sores compensation claim. By working with us, we'll act as more than just legal representatives, but as trusted partners navigating a challenging journey alongside you.

Our team consists of experienced solicitors who specialise in medical negligence claims, and several of our lawyers hold prestigious accreditations from the Law Society and the patients’ charity, Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) . We’re also recognised as being among the top clinical negligence teams in England by The Legal 500 UK, the foremost legal guide for clients.

Here's how Switalskis will help you with your pressure sore negligence claim:

  • We’ll thoroughly assess your case, gathering the necessary medical evidence and expert opinions to establish the extent of negligence involved.
  • We’ll communicate all of the necessary details into clear, understandable language, making the sometimes complex pressure sores claims process as transparent as possible for you.
  • We’ll spend time understanding your unique circumstances, listening carefully to your concerns and offering bespoke advice to suit your individual needs.
  • We’ll make sure that those responsible for pressure sore negligence are held to account, ensuring that lessons are learned so that hopefully these mistakes are not repeated in future.

With Switalskis, you have more than just a solicitor. You have a dedicated team committed to fighting for your rights, upholding your dignity, and striving to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your loved ones.

Read what our clients had to say about the help they received from Switalskis

What are pressure sores?

A pressure sore, also known as a bedsore or pressure ulcer, is an area of damaged skin and tissue that typically develops when prolonged pressure or friction is applied to a particular part of the body. These sores can range from mild skin discolouration and minor irritation to severe, deep wounds that expose the underlying muscle or bone.

Pressure sores most commonly occur in areas where your bones are close to your skin, such as your ankles, back, elbows, heels and hips. People who are bedridden, use a wheelchair, or are unable to change position without help are most at risk of developing these sores.

There is an established pressure sore grading scale that shows how these sores can develop in terms of severity:

  • Stage 1: the skin appears red and feels warm to the touch. In people with darker skin, the patch may appear blue or purple, or look ashen or shiny.
  • Stage 2: the affected area shows evidence of skin loss, which may appear as an abrasion, blister or shallow crater in the skin.
  • Stage 3: the sore develops into a deep wound, exposing some fat and taking on a crater-like appearance.
  • Stage 4: the sore is very deep, reaching into muscle or bone and causing extensive damage. Infection in the sore can also affect other parts of the body at this stage.

Pressure sores can be a significant cause of discomfort and can lead to serious health consequences such as cellulitis, bone and joint infections, or even if not treated promptly and correctly. The prevention and management of pressure sores are vital aspects of care, particularly in a healthcare setting. This is why it's so important to understand your right to make a pressure sore claim if something goes wrong.

What are the causes of pressure sores?

Pressure sores are mainly caused by three factors: pressure, friction and shear.

  • Pressure: when pressure is applied to the skin over a long period, it can reduce blood flow to the area. Without enough blood, the skin can become damaged and may eventually die. This is most common in areas where your bones are close to your skin, such as your heels, hips, elbows and the base of your spine.
  • Friction: this happens when the skin rubs against clothing or bedding. It can make fragile skin more vulnerable to injury, especially if the skin is also damp.
  • Shear: this happens when two surfaces move in the opposite direction. For example, if you're reclining in a bed, your skin may stick to the sheets while your bones slide down with the bed, pulling on and damaging your skin.

Certain conditions and circumstances can increase the risk of developing pressure sores even further, including:

  • Staying immobile for a long time: this can be due to a variety of reasons, such as health conditions that need bed rest or the use of a wheelchair, or being hospitalised in intensive care.
  • Medical conditions affecting blood flow: conditions such as diabetes or vascular diseases can affect circulation, increasing the risk of damage to your tissues.
  • Malnutrition: proper nutrition is vital for maintaining skin health and facilitating wound healing. If your diet lacks key nutrients, you'll become more vulnerable to pressure sores.
  • Old age: the skin of older adults is generally thinner, less elastic and more fragile, making it more susceptible to damage.
  • Lack of sensory perception: conditions such as spinal cord injuries can prevent you from properly feeling pain or discomfort, meaning you might not notice a pressure sore developing until it’s already progressed far enough to cause serious damage.

In a healthcare setting, these risks should be assessed and managed proactively by the healthcare professionals responsible for your care. Failure to do so can be classed as medical negligence and could form the basis for a compensation claim for pressure sores.

In what settings can pressure sores occur?

Pressure sores can develop in any setting where people are kept immobile for an extended period. These sores commonly develop in environments where individuals have limited mobility due to injury, illness or age, such as:

  • Hospitals: pressure sores can form when patients are bedridden or unable to move for long periods of time, such as in intensive care units or after surgery. Hospitals should have steps in place to make sure patients are regularly repositioned, and that any early signs of pressure sores are spotted. If these protocols are not followed, the hospital could be liable for the resulting harm.
  • Nursing homes and residential care: these facilities care for many people at high risk for pressure sores, including the elderly and those with mobility issues. Like hospitals, they’re expected to have preventative measures in place and trained staff who can recognise and address the early signs of pressure ulcers.
  • Home care: individuals who are bedridden or wheelchair-bound at home are also at risk. Home carers, whether they are professionals or family members, should be educated on how to prevent and spot pressure sores.
  • Rehabilitation centres: patients in rehabilitation after an accident or surgery may be less mobile than usual, putting them at risk of developing pressure sores.

In most cases, pressure sores should be seen as preventable. Whether in a healthcare facility or at home, appropriate care and diligence in moving and repositioning the patient can significantly reduce the risk of these painful and potentially dangerous injuries.

When can I make a pressure sore compensation claim?

Pressure sore negligence claims can be made if you or a loved one have suffered from pressure sores as a direct result of insufficient care, neglect or a breach of a medical professional's duty of care. You need to be able to show that the standard of care you received fell below the necessary standard and that this failure led directly to you developing a pressure sore.

Negligence can take many forms, including:

  • Inadequate risk assessment: healthcare providers have a duty to identify patients at risk of developing pressure sores. If they fail to assess a patient's risk properly, they might not implement the necessary preventative measures and this could be considered to be negligent.
  • Failure to put the right preventative measures in place: once a patient has been identified as being at risk, steps must be taken to prevent pressure sores from forming. This includes regular repositioning, maintaining good skin hygiene and using tools such as a pressure-relieving mattress to help protect the patient.
  • Poor response to early signs: if early signs of pressure sores are ignored or not noticed due to inadequate monitoring and this causes the condition to get worse, this may be seen as medical negligence.
  • Inadequate treatment: if pressure sores develop, they need to be treated promptly and effectively to prevent them from worsening. Inadequate or delayed treatment can lead to a deterioration in the patient's condition, causing unnecessary suffering and possibly leading to more serious complications.

These circumstances could all potentially be grounds for a compensation claim. However, every case is unique and it's vital to speak to a legal expert to understand your rights and potential course of action when claiming pressure sores compensation.

What is the process for making a pressure sore claim?

Making a pressure sore compensation claim may seem complicated and daunting, but with Switalskis at your side, the process becomes manageable and much less stressful. Here's a general overview of the steps involved:

Step 1: Initial consultation

Reach out to Switalskis for a free, no obligation initial consultation. During this meeting, we’ll listen to your story, understand your concerns and explain whether we think you have a strong case. If we decide to proceed, we can then discuss the next steps and the available funding options.

Step 2: Establishing your claim

We’ll gather all the relevant information we need to build your case. This will include applying for all of your medical records, including your GP records. We’ll ask you for photographs, receipts and any other documents that may support your claim. We will take a detailed witness statement to tell your version of events. We may arrange for you to be assessed by an independent medical expert to provide an unbiased view of your injuries and future prognosis. The aim will be to prove that the negligence was responsible for your injury and consider the potential value of the claim.

Step 3: Notifying the defendant

Once we have supportive evidence, we’ll send a letter of claim to the doctor and/or hospital involved. This will outline details of the claim and state allegations regarding the negligent treatment.

Step 4: Defendant response

The defendant will then have four months to investigate the allegations made against them and respond to the letter of claim in a letter of response. This letter will include whether the defendant accepts they are at fault, which is called an admission of liability. If they do not accept fault, they will state this in the letter and this is called a denial of liability. We will advise you of the next steps at this stage.

Step 5: Settlement and compensation

If the defendant or practice has admitted fault, negotiations can start. Our clinical negligence solicitors will negotiate on your behalf, using our expertise and experience to secure the highest possible compensation amount for you. At this stage, we will discuss how much compensation you may receive. This will be calculated to cover the pain and suffering caused by the pressure sores, as well as any financial losses or expenses you’ve experienced as a result.

Step 6: Court proceedings (where necessary)

Most claims will be settled through negotiation, without needing to go to court. In the rare instances where the case does go to trial, you can trust us to represent you throughout the process.

Throughout this process, our goal is to make the claim as straightforward as possible for you, providing support, guidance and reassurance at every turn. So, don't hesitate to start your journey towards receiving the justice you deserve - contact our pressure sores claims specialists today.

What are the time limits for making a pressure sore claim?

Timing is important when it comes to making a pressure sore claim. By law in England and Wales, you typically have three years from the date when the medical negligence happened to bring a claim, or from when you first became aware that negligence may have caused the pressure sores. This is known as the limitation period.

For instance, if a loved one developed pressure sores due to negligent care in a hospital, and you became aware of this negligence on that day, the three-year time limit would start from that date. However, for many pressure sore claims, the negligence may only be discovered at a later date, in which case the three-year period would begin from the day you made that discovery.

There are some exceptions to this rule:

  • Children: if the person who suffered the negligence is under 18 at the time, the three-year period doesn’t start until their 18th birthday. This means they have until they turn 21 to start legal proceedings.
  • Mental capacity: if the person who suffered the negligence lacks mental capacity to make their own decisions, there may be no time limit to make a claim on their behalf.
  • Fatal cases: if you’re claiming on behalf of a deceased family member who passed away due to complications arising from pressure sore negligence, the claim must be made within three years of the date of death, or the date of knowledge that negligent treatment caused their death.

How much compensation for pressure sores?

The compensation amount you could receive for pressure sores varies greatly. It depends on a number of factors, including how severe the pressure sore was, its impact on your life, and the extent of the medical negligence that caused the problems. As such, compensation amounts are not predetermined and are instead based on your unique circumstances.

When calculating compensation for pressure sore claims, the total is generally split into two categories:

  • General damages are awarded for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity suffered by patients developing pressure sores. This aims to compensate for the physical pain and emotional distress, as well as any lifestyle changes that you had to make as a result of the sores. For instance, if your pressure sores have restricted your mobility, or left you unable to get involved in activities you once enjoyed, this would be factored into the medical negligence claim.
  • Special damages cover the medical expenses and financial losses you've experienced due to the pressure sores. This could include loss of earnings if you've had to take time off work, the cost of medical treatments, care and assistance, any additional transportation costs, and other out-of-pocket expenses related to your condition.

To give an estimate of how much compensation you could potentially receive, we need to fully understand the details of your case. By speaking to an experienced medical negligence solicitor at Switalskis, we can organise a free initial advice session and provide a personalised estimate based on your individual circumstances.

How are pressure sore claims funded?

Potential costs are among the biggest concerns our clients have about claiming pressure sore compensation. At Switalskis, we're committed to making the process as accessible as possible by offering various funding options to meet your needs:

  • No win, no fee agreement: also known as a conditional fee agreement (CFA), this is the most common way to fund a pressure sore claim. Under a no win, no fee agreement, you won’t need to pay anything if your claim is unsuccessful. Our costs are written off. If you win your case, a percentage of your compensation will be used to cover our fees. This option allows you to pursue your claim without any financial risk, and we’ll discuss all of the potential costs with you upfront to avoid any surprises.
  • Legal expenses insurance: we will begin an insurance policy to cover you for the out-of-pocket costs we experience during the investigation. We have our own insurance provider that we use. However, you may have legal expenses cover as part of your home or car insurance policy, which can also be used to fund your claim. We’ll assist you in understanding your policy and liaising with your insurer.
  • Legal aid: in very rare cases, Legal Aid may be available for clinical negligence claims, although it’s usually reserved for specific situations. Our team can guide you on whether you might be eligible.

Remember, your first consultation with our clinical negligence solicitors is free and without obligation. We'll discuss the funding options available to you and help you choose the best one for your situation.

Contact us today and let's start your journey towards recovery together. Call us today on 0800 1380 458, or get in touch via our form.

Our medical negligence specialists

Photo of Suzanne Munroe
Suzanne MunroeDirector and Solicitor
Photo of Sarah Walker
Sarah WalkerDirector and Solicitor
Photo of Charlotte Reeves
Charlotte ReevesDirector and Solicitor
Photo of Kay Barnes
Kay BarnesDirector and Solicitor
Photo of David Thomas
David ThomasDirector and Chartered Legal Executive
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Why Switalskis?

Enduring the effects of a pressure sore can be both physically painful and emotionally taxing. In such challenging times, you need a dedicated ally to guide you through these complex and often distressing experiences. Switalskis is here to help.

Clarity in complexity

Pressure sore compensation claims can be intricate, but with us, understanding the process won’t be difficult. We’re committed to transforming complex legal jargon into transparent, understandable language. We’re here to answer your questions, demystify the complicated, and ensure you’re well-informed at every step of the journey.

Empathy at every step

We value your individual circumstances and dedicate ourselves to understanding your unique situation. We listen to your concerns, acknowledge your feelings, and provide compassionate advice that's specifically tailored to your needs. To us, you're more than just a client - you're someone facing a challenging time, and we stand by you with unwavering support.

Expertise you can trust

When grappling with something as significant as a pressure sore compensation claim, it's essential to feel confident in your legal representation. With Switalskis, you benefit from decades of experience and a proven track record in pressure sore claims. Our commitment to your rights and our focus on securing the best possible outcome for you and your loved ones is unwavering.

Championing your rights

Our team is impassioned to defend your rights and make sure your voice is heard. Guiding you through every phase of the claim process, we ensure that you're not only informed but also empowered to make decisions that are right for you. With Switalskis by your side, you never have to face this journey alone.

FAQs about pressure sores

Who is most at risk of pressure sores?

Some individuals will be more likely to develop pressure sores than others due to their specific circumstances, health conditions, or the environment they are in. The most common risk factors include:

  • Immobility: the main risk factor for pressure sores is a prolonged period of immobility. This can occur due to a variety of reasons such as paralysis, severe illness or recovery from surgery. Those who are bedridden or have a limited ability to change position without assistance are particularly at risk.
  • Age: the elderly are more prone to developing pressure sores. The patient's skin becomes thinner and less elastic, which means it is more susceptible to damage. Elderly people may also have other underlying health conditions that increase the risk.
  • Weight loss: rapid weight loss, often associated with illnesses such as cancer, can lead to a loss of fat and muscle that help cushion bones against pressure, increasing the risk of bed sores.
  • Medical conditions affecting blood flow: conditions that affect blood circulation, such as diabetes and vascular disease, can lead to an increased risk of tissue damage and pressure sores.
  • Incontinence: those who struggle with incontinence are at a greater risk, because moisture can irritate the skin and make it more prone to damage.
  • Nutritional deficiencies: poor nutrition and dehydration can affect the health of your skin and other tissues, making them more vulnerable to damage.
  • Reduced mental awareness: people with reduced mental awareness due to conditions like Alzheimer's disease may not be aware of the need to change position regularly.

In any care setting, healthcare professionals should be aware of these risks and take appropriate action to protect these patients from serious pressure sores. If they fail to do so, the individuals may have grounds to claim compensation.

What are the potential complications of pressure sores?

Pressure sores, if left untreated or not managed correctly, can lead to serious and sometimes life-threatening complications. Here are some of the most common complications associated with serious pressure sores:

  • Infections: one of the most serious complications of pressure sores is the risk of infection. Because pressure sores can open the skin, they provide an easy entry point for bacteria. Infections can develop in the skin, in the bone, or in the bloodstream (sepsis - see below).
  • Cellulitis: this common, potentially serious bacterial skin infection can cause severe inflammation and redness, and when it spreads it can lead to life-threatening complications.
  • Abscess: an abscess is a pocket of pus that can form in a pressure sore. Abscesses need to be drained, often requiring surgical intervention.
  • Osteomyelitis: if an infection spreads to the bones, it can result in osteomyelitis. This infection can be hard to treat and may need surgery to remove parts of the bone that have died.
  • Sepsis: Sepsis is a life-threatening condition, also known as blood poisoning, that can happen when bacteria from a severe pressure sore enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body.
  • Necrotising fasciitis: also known as flesh-eating disease, this severe bacterial infection can destroy skin, fat and the tissue covering the muscles.
  • Long-term pain: chronic and severe pain can be a complication in people with deep pressure sores.
  • Emotional and mental health impacts: the discomfort and distress of living with pressure sores can significantly impact a person's quality of life, leading to mental health conditions like depression or anxiety.

The sooner a pressure sore is detected and managed, the better the outcomes. If you’ve experienced harmful complications as a result of mistakes made in the treatment of your pressure sore, contact Switalskis to enquire about claiming compensation.

We can support you in the following medical negligence situations

Find out how Switalskis can help you

Suffering a pressure sore is a highly distressing experience with potentially significant longer-term consequences. If you develop bed sores as a result of mistakes made by medical professionals, the expert medical negligence solicitors at Switalskis are here to help you claim the compensation you deserve on a no win, no fee basis.

Call Switalskis today on 0800 1380 458 , or contact us through our website to find out more about pressure sore negligence claims and how we can help you with them.

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