Claim compensation for pressure sores
If you or a family member have suffered bed sores due to negligence at a hospital or care home, we can help you make a pressure sore compensation claim.
How Much Could You Claim?

Pressure Sore Claims

Becoming ill or too weak to care for yourself can be devastating. Suffering further injuries whilst under the care of others can be all the more overwhelming. Pressure sores, or bed sores as they are also known, are caused by a patient being left in one position for an extended time. That restricts blood flow, damages tissue and increases the risk of infection.

These sores are preventable, and as such, we believe that any victim of pressure sores caused by negligence should achieve the maximum amount of compensation for the injuries they have suffered.

Medical negligence solicitors have extensive experience in achieving the highest compensation rates whilst working with empathy, patience and diligence to ensure your case progresses without causing further discomfort. Friendly legal advisers are ready to discuss your case at no cost to determine how likely you are to achieve a successful outcome.

To find out more about making a pressure sore claim, call free on 0800 032 3660 or use our online form to request a call back.

What are pressure sores?

Pressure sores develop when a patient remains in one position for a long time without being moved. Sometimes referred to as bed sores, they result from lengthy periods of excessive pressure on various body parts. As blood flow is restricted to these areas of the skin, the tissue becomes significantly damaged and can lead to excruciating pain and infection.

As a patient sweats, the chances of worsening symptoms increase, so health workers must maintain vigilant care routines to eliminate the onset of sores and relieve symptoms as soon as possible once they appear.

The symptoms of pressure sores can be excruciating and uncomfortable and are usually readily visible. Areas affected by pressure sores are typically darker in colour and resemble bruises or blistered skin.

The damage caused to the tissue in the skin can quickly lead to broken skin, which can become infected and even more painful. Since most patients with pressure sores are elderly, their fragile skin is less likely to heal quickly, and blood supply is slower, meaning that wounds are often more severe.

According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), over 700,000 people suffer from pressure sores in the UK, and around 180,000 new cases develop each year.

Are pressure sores preventable?

Pressure sores are preventable in almost all cases, and as such, we recognise the emotional impact that can accompany the physical symptoms of suffering these injuries.

To prevent bed sores, nurses or care workers must complete a Waterlow score assessment to determine the potential risk of pressure sores developing. Whenever there is such a risk, nurses and care workers should move patients regularly. That helps to relieve the pressure placed on one area and allows for better blood flow throughout the body. All medical staff should be trained in assessing vulnerabilities and risks as well as recognising the symptoms of pressure sores.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides a number of recommendations on how healthcare professionals should identify and minimise the risk of patients getting pressure sores. These include the following:

  • Reposition and move a patient at regular intervals
  • Carry out thorough and individual skin assessments to check for specific areas of weakness
  • Use specialist pressure redistribution equipment such as mattresses and cushions
  • Recognise early signs and symptoms to prevent exacerbating symptoms and a worsening condition

If your healthcare provider has failed to take all reasonable measures to prevent pressure ulcers, you might be able to make a bed sore claim for compensation.

The stages of bed sores

Pressure sores are typically graded based on the extent of tissue damage. If you have developed sores due to negligence, their severity will determine how much compensation you deserve. Medical professionals categorise them into four different grades:

  • Grade 1 pressure sores. This is the earliest stage and the least severe. In stage 1, the skin is intact, but there may be persistent redness. When you press the affected area, it does not turn white, indicating that the skin is under pressure. Other symptoms may include burning, itching or pain.
  • Grade 2 pressure sores. In this stage, the skin is no longer intact. There is partial-thickness skin loss, which may appear as an open sore or a blister. The damage is limited to the outermost layer of skin (epidermis) and sometimes the dermis (the layer beneath the epidermis). The area may be warm and swollen and ooze clear fluid or pus.
  • Grade 3 pressure sores. Stage 3 sores involve full-thickness skin loss, extending through the epidermis and dermis into the fat layer. It forms a deep crater-like wound that may show signs of infection like heat, drainage, pus or foul smell.
  • Grade 4 pressure sores. This is the most severe stage. It involves full-thickness skin loss and extensive tissue damage, including muscle, bone, or even supporting structures such as tendons and ligaments. These wounds are often deep craters where the skin has turned black and needs immediate medical care.

You could make a pressure sore claim for any degree of bed sores that you developed due to medical negligence.

How are pressure sores treated?

The treatment of pressure sores, also known as pressure ulcers or bedsores, depends on the stage of the sore and the overall health of the patient. The campaign group Stop The Pressure recommends a simple five-step process for preventing and treating pressure ulcers. Using the acronym SSKIN, they recommend the following steps:

  • S – Surface. Making sure patients are provided with the proper support.
  • S – Skin Inspection. Regular inspections help to detect pressure sores early on.
  • K – Keep patients moving. Sores are less likely to develop if patients are regularly put into different positions.
  • I – Incontinence and Moisture. Patients should be kept clean and dry.
  • N – Nutrition and Hydration. Patients should receive plenty of fluids and have the correct diet.

Once pressure sores form, they can be painful, and pain management is an essential aspect of treatment. Medications, wound care techniques, and changes in positioning can help manage pain. Physical therapy can also be beneficial to maintain and improve mobility for patients with sores. In severe cases, surgical interventions like skin grafts or flap surgery may be necessary to close the wound.

NHS Improving Quality (NHS IQ) estimates that the cost to the NHS for treating pressure ulcers is more than £3.8 million every day.

Can I make a pressure sore claim?

If you have suffered pressure sores in a hospital, care home, respite centre or any area where others were responsible for your wellbeing, you may be eligible to claim bed sore compensation.

To make a successful medical negligence claim, your personal injury lawyer will need to prove that:

  • The staff responsible for your well-being breached their duty of care to you by providing a substandard level of care
  • You developed pressure sores as a direct result of that negligence
  • You suffered pain and other damages as a result within the last three years

This is done through your statement of events, records of the care you received, and evidence that details the severity of your symptoms and the treatment required for your injuries to heal. Your medical and care records should confirm how often your care staff moved you, and this evidence helps to ascertain whether they followed the appropriate health and safety guidelines thoroughly.

Solicitors offer clients a free initial consultation, which allows them to assess your case and get an understanding of the care that you received. Based on this information, they can help you manage your expectations by providing information on the claims process, the strength of your case and how much compensation for pressure sores you could receive.

What evidence do I need to start a medical negligence claim?

You will need relevant evidence to make a successful pressure sore negligence claim. Your solicitor will review any proof you already have and help you gather everything else you need to receive the compensation you deserve. The evidence they could use may include:

  • Medical records that document your condition, treatments, and the development and progression of the sores;
  • Clear pictures of the sores taken from various angles and at different stages of development;
  • Witness statements from family members, other patients, or healthcare staff who saw the progression of your injury;
  • Your notes about how the sores developed and the pain, suffering and discomfort they have caused you;
  • Reports from expert witnesses regarding the standard of care you received and whether it was breached in your case;
  • You should also keep records of all costs and expenses related to your injuries, including prescriptions, physical therapy, and any additional care needs.

If you developed pressure sores due to someone else’s negligence, call 0800 032 3660 for free legal advice. A solicitor will let you know whether you have a valid bed sore claim and help you gather all the evidence you need to receive the compensation owed to you.

Common causes of pressure sore compensation claims

A solicitor could help you claim compensation if you have developed a pressure sore while in a care home or hospital. As most sores are preventable, such an injury is often a sign of negligence. Pressure sores claims can arise due to various causes, such as:

  • Failure to assess the patient’s Waterlow score and needs;
  • Failure to regularly check and reposition a bedridden or immobile patient to relieve pressure on the skin;
  • Negligent wound care, which could include improper cleaning, dressing, or treatment of existing pressure sores;
  • Failure to identify the signs of a bed sore before it develops into an open wound;
  • Failure to prevent the infection of a pressure sore;
  • Failure to use pressure-relieving devices such as cushions and mattresses for patients at risk of developing sores;
  • Malnutrition and dehydration due to lack of adequate food and fluids;
  • Lack of training for medical staff on identifying and treating sores.

These and other examples of negligence could entitle you to claim compensation for pressure sores. It is essential to remember that you could start a claim against the NHS or a private healthcare provider.

All claims against the NHS are covered by their own insurer, NHS Resolution. Each NHS Trust pays a yearly premium to NHS Resolution, so your claim will not affect the funds assigned for patient care and treatment.

Private hospitals and healthcare professionals must also hold valid insurance against personal injuries to patients. If you are eligible to claim compensation, your solicitor will negotiate your settlement with their insurer.

Who is at risk of developing pressure sores?

Pressure sores are usually sustained by those who are too weak, ill or fragile to move freely and regularly, and as such, the most vulnerable include the elderly and infirm. A healthy and fit person can move freely, which allows them to shift their weight and pressure and, therefore, relieve the symptoms. Pressure sores are often associated with:

  • Individuals who are confined to a bed for extended periods, such as those recovering from surgery, stroke, or other illnesses that limit their ability to move;
  • People who spend a lot of time in wheelchairs, especially if they are unable to shift their weight frequently;
  • Those with poor blood circulation, which makes it difficult for the body to deliver essential nutrients to the skin, increasing the risk of sores;
  • Certain medical conditions, like diabetes and vascular diseases, can impact skin health and contribute to pressure sore development;
  • Incontinent patients, as this brings excess moisture to the skin and makes it more susceptible to damage, especially if hygiene is not adequately maintained;
  • People who are significantly underweight or obese can experience increased pressure on bony areas or skin folds;
  • Those who have a poor diet or are dehydrated;
  • Smokers, as smoking can reduce the blood flow to certain parts of the body;
  • Individuals with dementia or cognitive impairments may not be aware of the need to change positions.

If you or a loved one suffered pressure sores due to someone else’s negligence, contact a personal injury solicitor as early as possible by calling 0800 032 3660 for a free consultation. They can help you make a claim and secure compensation for your pain and suffering.

Possible consequences of pressure sore negligence

Negligence in preventing and treating pressure sores can have various consequences for the affected person, such as:

  • Significant physical pain and discomfort;
  • They can become infected and lead to further skin, bone and joint infections;
  • The infection from the sore can spread through the bloodstream and cause sepsis;
  • When pressure sores become severe, they may require extended periods in the hospital for treatment;
  • They can cause tissue loss and leave permanent scars or disfigurement;
  • Pressure sores can limit mobility and independence, leading to a reduced quality of life;
  • They may require surgical repair or the amputation of the affected body part;
  • Patients may experience emotional distress, anxiety and depression as a result of their condition and the pain it causes;
  • Financial losses related to further medical treatments and other out-of-pocket expenses;
  • Patients may lose their trust in healthcare providers and the medical system.

If you can start a pressure sore compensation claim, your solicitor will ensure you receive damages for all the ways in which your condition has affected you, both physically and financially.

Time limits to claim for pressure sores

There are strict time limits to make a claim for pressure sores and other personal injury claims. Under the Limitation Act 1980, you have three years to start legal proceedings from when your injuries were diagnosed. If you do not take action within this timeframe, your case becomes statute-barred and will no longer be valid, even if it has merit.

Several exceptions to this rule may apply to your case:

  • If a child has suffered pressure sores, the three-year claiming limit only begins on their 18th birthday. Before that, a parent or legal guardian could start the claims process on their behalf at any time.
  • If the sufferer lacks the mental capacity to claim, the time limit is suspended. That could be due to Alzheimer’s, dementia, a mental health disease or any other condition that may affect their ability to make decisions about the case. A litigation friend could claim for them at any time.
  • If you lost a loved one due to complications from a pressure sore, you can start a claim within three years of their death.

While three years may seem like a long time, we advise you to begin your bed sore claim as soon as possible. Your injury lawyer will need time to talk to witnesses and gather the evidence they need to start legal proceedings. Many solicitors will not accept a case with less than three months left until the limitation date, so getting in contact as soon as possible will ensure you don’t miss out.

Can I make a claim for pressure sores on behalf of a loved one?

If one of your loved ones has suffered from pressure sores due to medical negligence, you may be able to claim on their behalf. For this, you must apply to the court to be appointed as their litigation friend. Your solicitor will help you file the necessary documents and establish your status as their litigation friend. Before naming you, the court will verify that:

  • You can conduct legal proceedings fairly and competently
  • You have no conflict of interest with the claimant

The court’s primary concern is to ensure you act in the best interests of the person you represent. If approved, you will be appointed as the litigation friend. This system is typically used when the injured person is a child or an adult who lacks their mental capacity, known as a protected party.

You will have several duties and responsibilities if you claim on someone else’s behalf, such as:

  • Sign legal documents and deal with correspondence
  • Make decisions about the case
  • Instruct solicitors and take legal advice
  • Help gather evidence to support your claim
  • Make sure your loved one attends all medical appointments
  • Consider any compensation offers from the other side
  • Pay any fees requested by the court

Your role as a litigation friend ends when the case concludes, whether you secure bed sore compensation or not. If you make a successful claim,  a judge must approve the settlement you secured during a court hearing. They will examine the available evidence to determine whether the compensation amount is fair. In the case of children, the funds awarded will be kept in a court bank account and released to them on their 18th birthday.

How much compensation for pressure sores could I receive?

The amount of pressure sore compensation you could receive if you make a successful claim will depend on your circumstances. Each case is different, and your solicitor will calculate your payout based on your specific losses. In every personal injury claim, you could receive compensation for two types of losses, known as general and special damages.

General damages cover the physical and emotional suffering caused by the injury, and special damages cover all the related financial losses and expenses. Thus, your bed sore claim could include the following:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional and psychological trauma
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Any impact on your hobbies and social life
  • Loss of consortium or companionship
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Medical expenses for prescriptions and private treatment
  • Travel expenses to and from medical appointments and therapy sessions
  • Changes to your home and vehicle if your injuries have led to a disability
  • Lost wages during recovery and loss of earning capacity
  • Care costs if you needed someone to look after you during recovery

Special damages are calculated based on evidence such as receipts, invoices and payslips. The award for subjective losses such as pain and suffering is more difficult to work out. It will be based on the type and severity of your injury and the guidelines offered by the Judicial College. For example, you could receive:

  • Up to £3,950 for a grade 1 sore that causes minor discomfort and heals within a few days
  • Up to £8,950 for grade 2 bed sores that have become an open wound and cause significant pain
  • £8,950 to £49,270 for a grade 3 or 4 pressure sore, depending on severity

Do medical negligence solicitors offer a No Win No Fee service?

If you have a valid claim for pressure sore compensation following negligent medical care, the personal injury lawyers we work with will offer you a conditional fee agreement. No win no fee* medical negligence claims provide various benefits for claimants, such as:

  • You can take legal action regardless of your financial situation and without any risks;
  • You will receive legal representation without paying any upfront fees;
  • Your solicitor only receives a success fee, which is a maximum of 25% of your compensation award, if they win your claim;
  • If your case fails, you do not have to pay them a single penny.

Another advantage of making a no win no fee pressure sore claim is the After the Event (ATE) insurance policy included in your agreement. With ATE, you do not have to worry about legal fees and disbursements incurred during litigation. If you lose, the policy will cover all your expenses, including:

  • Medical reports
  • Expert witness fees
  • Court and counsel fees
  • Travel expenses
  • Costs of printing and copying
  • The defendant’s solicitors and legal costs

Under a conditional fee agreement, you only pay anything if and after you receive compensation. Your deductions include the cost of the ATE premium (if needed) and the success fee paid to your solicitor. There are no hidden charges, and you will keep the rest of your compensation award.

Will my claim for compensation be successful?

Your solicitor will work with focus and determination to reach a successful resolution of your claim as swiftly as possible. They do this by building a thorough case with solid evidence to prove that you have suffered pressure sores because of the action or inaction of another person who owed you a duty of care.

During your initial free consultation, your solicitor will give you experienced advice about the likely outcome of your case and an estimate of the amount of compensation that you could receive. Your injury lawyer will also be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

If your claim is successful, the compensation you receive will depend significantly upon the severity of your symptoms and the impact that they have had on your life. Your solicitors will strive to demonstrate the full effects of the defendant’s actions on your life and will ensure they secure the highest possible award on your behalf.

Your solicitor will offer a no win no fee service, so you can rest assured that you are not under any financial risk when pursuing a claim for the compensation you legally and rightfully deserve.

To find out if you could make a pressure sore claim on a no win no fee basis, call 0800 032 3660 or enter your details into our claim form to request a call back.

* Personal injury claims are offered on a no win, no fee basis. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will receive up to 25% of your compensation as their success fee. Any additional costs, such as legal protection insurance, will be clearly explained to you by your solicitor before you decide to proceed with your claim. Termination fees may apply if you fail to cooperate with your solicitor. This includes deliberately misleading your solicitor, failing to attend scheduled medical or expert examinations, or not appearing at a required court hearing.