Compensation for Pressure Sores?

Pressure Sores

22 August 2021

Pressure sores or bedsores are a painful and energy-draining illness that can cause serious issues. They develop within a very short space of time and whilst they are most commonly associated with older people, they present a risk to anyone who finds themselves immobile for a lengthy period of time. The onus for making sure that the risk of developing pressure sores is kept to a minimum is the responsibility of the primary caregiver. If they fail to put an appropriate plan of monitoring in place for a patient or do not access any possible risk appropriately then the patient, whether you or a loved one may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

A guide to pressure sore compensation claims

Unfortunately, pressure sores are more commonplace than many people realise, often resulting in pressure sore compensation claims. It is estimated that every year several thousand people, both in private nursing care facilities and hospitals, suffer from them. When you consider the fact that the majority of pressure sores are preventable with the right care, this is a shocking number. If you are one of this number, then you may be entitled to pursue pressure sore compensation claims for your injuries.

Pressure Sore Points on the Body

Whilst the process of making a pressure sore compensation claim might seem daunting this guide will offer you plenty of details on how to make a claim as well as providing you with plenty of information about pressure sore and bedsores, their cases and the issues they can bring. We will talk you through every aspect of making a pressure sore compensation claim, but if there is something that we have not covered then we’re happy to provide you with the answers. We want to help you claim and get you the compensation you deserve.

What is a pressure sore?

Pressure sores or bedsores are damage caused to the skin and the underlying tissue as a result of surface pressure over a prolonged period of time. They can happen to anybody but are far more likely to occur when a person is confined to bed, or is infirm and spends long periods of time in a chair or a wheelchair without being moved.

They can affect any part of the body as a result of pressure however it is more common for them to occur on those parts of the body that are bonier; heels, elbows, the base of the spine and the hips. Whilst they might develop gradually it is also possible for them to appear in just a few hours.

What causes pressure sores?

Pressure sores are caused when someone spends a long period of time in one position without moving or being moved, this can cause a build-up of pressure on certain areas of the body which can result in a pressure sore.

Pressure sores are formed as a result of a reduced supply of blood to the skin which is caused by the pressure of being in the same position for a prolonged period. The reduced blood flow can cause the skin to break down and leads to open sores, which range in severity from red areas on the surface of the skin to a much more serious form of tissue damage that can penetrate into the muscle and bone.

Top 10 places that pressure sores can form

Pressure sores can form on any part of the body however they are more likely to form in certain areas:

  • Back of the head
  • The ears
  • Shoulder
  • Elbow
  • Lower back
  • Buttocks
  • Lower Trochanter
  • Inner knee
  • Hip
  • Heel

These are all areas of the body that can spend a lot of time in contact with another surface when a person is immobile, for example following a hospital procedure, or when they are infirm and are not able to move around as much.

The list is not limited to these places on the body. If you have suffered pressure sores as a result of negligence then you may have grounds to make pressure sore compensation claims.

How long does it take to get pressure sores?

Anyone who is immobile for a lengthy period of time is at risk of developing pressure sores, the length of time that it can take for the to develop can however vary drastically from one person to another. Depending on the pressure that is exerted pressure sores can develop in as little as just a couple of hours, NHS statistics advise that a grade 4 pressure sore can develop in just 1 to 2 hours.

There are several factors that can affect the speed at which a pressure sore can occur, and these include but are not limited to:

Age – people over 70 are less mobile and therefore more likely to develop pressure sores

Inability to move – Whether confined to bed following an operation or the inability to move some parts or all of the body due to paralysis

Incontinence – either urinary or bowel

Poor Diet – it is important to eat a balanced diet which contains protein, a good balance of vitamins and minerals

Of course, there are many other things that can affect how likely someone is to get pressure sores. If you or a loved one have suffered from pressure sores caused by negligence, then you might have a case for claiming pressure sore compensation.

The Symptoms of Pressure sores

Pressure sores are categorised from category one to category four, with category four being the most severe.

Early symptoms which are usually referred to as a category one pressure ulcer include:

  • Discolouration to part of the skin – those with pale skin usually get red patches and those with darker skin blue or purple patches. These patches do no turn white when pressed
  • Patches of the skin that feel warm to the touch. They might also feel spongy or hard

The patchy area will be itchy and there may be some pain
As a pressure sore progresses the skin, which may not previously have been broken may become damaged. If an open wound or blister forms, it is classified as a grade 2 pressure ulcer. Once it becomes a deep wound that reaches down into the deeper layers of the skin it is a category 3 pressure ulcer. A category 4 pressure ulcer is very deep and can reach as far as the muscle or bone.

We have many years of experience dealing with pressure ulcer legal cases, so if you have suffered a pressure sore as a result of negligence, we could help. Whether you are looking to pursue a grade 2 pressure sore compensation claim or a grade 4 pressure sore compensation claim, don’t hesitate to get in touch about pressure sore compensation claims.

Are pressure sores hospital negligence?

We are asked, are a lot are pressure sores caused by hospital negligence? The answer is that pressure sores can occur as a result of hospital negligence, anyone who is in hospital and recovering from an illness or surgery should be given a risk assessment. This will allow medical staff to monitor the patient’s skin and use any preventative measures that are appropriate to reduce the risk of pressure sores forming. These measures should usually include regular repositioning of the patient to prevent the build-up of pressure on any point of the body.

In the majority of cases, the first signs of pressure sores in hospital developing should be easy to pick up if a regular routine of moving a patient has been put in place. However, for some patients, these first signs can come on so quickly that they may not be spotted immediately

Risk assessments should be carried out for patients who are confined to wheelchairs for the same reasons. For advice on what to do if you suffer pressure sores as a result of third-party negligence, please continue our guide to pressure sore compensation claims.

What you should do If you suffer pressure sores due to negligence?
If you, a family member or a loved one have suffered pressure sores as a result of negligence, then you may want to make a claim for compensation. We understand that getting better might be your first priority, but it is a good idea to try and gather as much information as you can to support your claim as early as you can. If you then decide to start a claim later on you will possess the information you need. You should aim to gather as many of the following details as possible:

Details of those people involved – It is a good idea to make sure that you have a note of anyone that was involved in your care, and a brief account of any responsibilities they had whilst you were in their care.

Photographic evidence – You should try to make sure that you have photographic evidence of your pressure sores, if possible with the date and time stamps, these might be vital as evidence in your claim for pressure sore compensation.

Documentation and receipts – Make sure that you keep any paperwork or receipts that documents and money that you have been required to pay out for any treatments or medication that you have needed in regards to your pressure sores, or any travel costs that you have spent whilst travelling to get that treatment.

Any queries you might have concerning the types of information you might need to help with your bedsore compensation claim then contact us, we’re always happy to help you work out what information will be useful to you when you make your claim.

How to start a pressure sore compensation claims

Starting the process for a pressure sore compensation claim is simple. We have a panel of experienced experts, with many years of claims experience behind them who will be happy to talk you through every stage of the process. We begin the claims process with a totally free, no-obligation, assessment. During this, we would ask you a number of questions about your pressure sore negligence claims, your injuries and how you are recovering. This will enable us to gain the facts we need to move forward with your case.

If you are required to have a medical to strengthen your claim, we could arrange one local to you. For more information on how we could assist pressure sore compensation claims, please get in touch today or continue reading.

Can I sue the hospital for pressure sores?

If you have suffered pressure sores as a result of medical negligence, whether you were a patient in a HSE hospital (or NHS in Northern Ireland) or a private one, then you may be entitled to claim compensation for the distress you have suffered, we can help you make this claim. We have many years of experience in dealing with claims both against the HSE/NHS and private practices.

If your pressure sores were the result of medical negligence caused by the failure to carry out a basic risk assessment for pressure sores and put an appropriate plan of action in place, then we will talk you through the pressure sore compensation options that are available to you as part of our no-obligation consultation. Suing hospital for pressure sores compensation might seem daunting but we will be on hand to explain the process to you at every stage of the claim.

Can I claim compensation against a care home for pressure sores?

If you were in a care home when you developed pressure sores as a result of medical negligence, then you should be entitled to claim compensation. Care homes have a duty of care to their residence, and this means carrying out the appropriate risk assessments for all residents who are bedridden or confined to a wheelchair in respect of the risks of developing pressure sores, from spotting the first signs to grade 4 pressure sore safeguarding.

If the appropriate measures were not put in place and you developed bed sores in a care home because of this negligence, we’re on hand to help with pressure sore compensation claims.

What can be claimed for in pressure sore compensation claims?

For the most part, bedsore claims can contain the following types of pressure sore compensation:

General damages – compensation under this part of your claim will cover you for any suffering and trauma caused as a result of struggling with pressure sores.

Care claim – During the recovery period, it is likely that you will need help at home. In this case, the person who helps to care for you should be able to make a care claim.

Loss of earnings – Not only will loss of earnings take into consideration any actual earnings that have been lost but also the potential of future earnings as well.

Travel Expenses – These might be those extra costs you accumulate as a result of needing to get to medical appointments either for treatments or check-ups in respect of your claim, or they might be out-of-pocket travel expenses. You should be fine to claim for all of these.

Medical expenses – Being diagnosed and then treated for pressure sores can be both traumatic and debilitating, you may incur medical expenses as a result of your diagnosis. These might be modifications that you’ve had to have carried out to your vehicle or even your home. They might also include the costs of any prescriptions you need for medications, such as pain medication and bills for physiotherapy, to help get you back on your feet.

If you are not sure what costs you can claim for as part of the pressure sore compensation claim, then please get in touch with us. A member of our experienced team will always be on hand to answer any questions that you might have regarding your claim if you’re not too sure what can be included. We are always here to answer any questions you might have about your claim and the care that you receive.

How much compensation for pressure sores/ bed sores?

Compensation payouts are awarded on an individual case basis therefore we will not be able to put an accurate figure on how much compensation for pressure sores you might achieve. We would advise you to be wary of anyone promising a certain amount of money for a pressure sore compensation claim, as this is unlikely to be accurate, and may lead to disappointment.

However, we can give you an idea of the average payout that is awarded for pressure sore compensation claims if you would like, free of charge. If you do have any questions at all regarding either this part of your claim or any other aspect of it we would be happy to talk to you about it.

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