A Guide On How To Make Anaesthetic Negligence Compensation Claims

Anaesthetics play a significant role in the medical process. When you undergo a procedure, you may need an anaesthetic to numb feeling in one area of the body or put you in a controlled state of unconsciousness. If it is applied incorrectly, there could be serious consequences. Our guide to anaesthetic negligence explains when it is possible to claim compensation for a negligent medical error.

You may not be sure what medical negligence means or when a claim is possible. By reading through this guide, you will learn about medical negligence claims, how long you have to start a case and how you could receive compensation for both the harm you suffer and the financial costs that come from it.

We also explain why working with a solicitor from our panel maximises your chances of a successful settlement.

Our helpful advisors are on hand to offer a free initial consultation and help you learn if a solicitor could take on your case. You can contact us at any time, on any day, through any of these routes:

  • Calling 020 3870 4868.
  • Asking about your claim online so we can call you back.
  • Chatting to an advisor through the live support option below.

A patient lying on a hospital bed.

Select A Section

  1. What Is Anaesthetic Negligence?
  2. Are There Different Types Of Anaesthetic Negligence?
  3. What Is Anaesthetic Awareness?
  4. What Is The Time Limit To Claim For Anaesthetic Negligence?
  5. How Much Anaesthetic Negligence Compensation Could You Claim?
  6. How A No Win No Fee Medical Negligence Solicitor Could Help You Claim

What Is Anaesthetic Negligence?

Anaesthetic medicine is extremely helpful but must be administered with great care because of the potential risks. If you’re given anaesthetic medicine, it will normally be applied by a trained professional called an anaesthetist.

Medical professionals owe you a duty of care. This means they must make sure that their care always meets the professional standards expected of them. An anaesthetist could, for example, refer to the guidelines set out by a regulatory body called the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCOA).

You can make a medical negligence claim if you can show that:

  • A medical professional owed you a duty of care.
  • They failed to meet the professional standards expected of them and breached their duty. For example, they administered far too much anaesthetic. 
  • As a direct result of this breach, you suffered harm that would have been avoided if the care provided was of the correct standard.

A case will rely on you being able to prove anaesthetic negligence by meeting the above criteria. Learn whether a solicitor from our panel could help you pursue a medical negligence compensation claim by calling for a free case evaluation.

Are There Different Types Of Anaesthetic Negligence?

There are two types of anaesthetic treatment:

  • Local anaesthesia is applied to a particular part of the body to numb feeling in that area. They tend to be used during minor procedures. Regional anaesthesia is a local anaesthetic applied to a larger area.
  • General anaesthesia renders a patient unconscious in a controlled setting. This is used for more serious operations or lengthy procedures.

The below examples highlight cases where negligent treatment leads to harm that could have easily been prevented:

  • An anaesthetist does not consult with a patient or check the patient’s medical history before a surgical procedure. They miss that the patient has an allergy and give them medication that causes a severe allergic reaction.
  • During childbirth, an anaesthetist applies an epidural in the wrong position. This causes permanent nerve damage, leading to the mother suffering partial paralysis.
  • The anaesthetist makes a calculation error when measuring out the medicine. It leads to an overdose that causes the patient to go into a coma and suffer brain damage.

Whether you suffered paralysis, a serious injury or an illness, you have the right to claim if negligence occurred. Call today to learn about anaesthetic negligence claims and you can discover your potential options.

Two surgeons wearing surgical scrubs and performing an operation.

What Is Anaesthetic Awareness?

One scenario we did not cover in the last section is accidental awareness. Anaesthesia awareness means that you become conscious when you shouldn’t have been. This might even occur in the middle of you undergoing surgery. This might happen because:

  • There is a medication error, such as the anaesthetist not using enough anaesthetic. As patients are often given muscle relaxants, they may not be able to speak or physically indicate that they are still aware.
  • The equipment that delivers the anaesthetic malfunctions and takes some time to fix.
  • The patient is more resistant to anaesthesia than others. An anaesthetist could look at a patient’s medical history to identify anything that might cause increased resistance.

How Could Anaesthetic Awareness Impact Patients?

For people who experience anaesthetic awareness, psychological trauma can unfortunately be the result in some cases. More serious complications from an operation gone wrong because of an anaesthetic error could include Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or severe anxiety.

Waking up during an operation could also cause someone to experience excruciating pain if the anaesthetic fails to work.

If there was negligence involved when you experienced accidental awareness, you may have the right to claim compensation. Please call us and chat with a friendly advisor if you want to know more about anaesthetic awareness claims.

What Is The Time Limit To Claim For Anaesthetic Negligence?

You have up to three years to start a medical negligence claim. This time limit, set out by The Limitation Act 1980, typically allows you three years from when the negligent treatment happened.

However, you might only learn you suffered harm because of a healthcare provider breaching their duty of care later on. Therefore, some cases might call for the limitation period to cover the three years after the date you gained that knowledge.

Other cases might call for an entirely different arrangement. For example, if a minor under the age of 18 is affected by anaesthetic negligence, they cannot start a claim. An adult litigation friend, who is appointed by the courts, could make a claim on their behalf while they are under 18. However, if no claim is made by a litigation friend, they have from their 18th to their 21st birthday to claim.

Someone without the mental capacity to claim can also get assistance from a litigation friend. Should they recover without having already had a claim started for them, they have three years from the recovery date to begin.

Call our free helpline to learn more about time limits for medical negligence cases and how long you have to make a claim.

An hourglass with sand pouring through it, representing the medical negligence claim time limit.

How Much Anaesthetic Negligence Compensation Could You Claim?

The amount of anaesthetic negligence compensation awarded depends on factors including:

  • The severity of symptoms.
  • How long treatment and recovery, if any, takes.
  • The impact on your quality of life.

Compensation can come under up to two heads of loss. One is general damages, which accounts for physical pain or psychological damage suffered due to substandard treatment.

The table you can see below uses figures from the Judicial College Guidelines, a document consisting of guideline compensation brackets that those calculating a medical negligence claim payout might refer to during their deliberations.

Multiple Cases Of Serious Harm Plus Financial Costs Or LossesSevereUp to £1,000,000+A payout that accounts for numerous cases of serious injury, illness or psychological harm. It also covers financial losses such as medical bills, care fees or lost earnings.
ParalysisTetraplegia£396,140 to £493,000The upper and lower body are paralysed. Presence and extent of physical harm are among the factors affecting the award.
Paraplegia£267,340 to £346,890 Lower body paralysis. Different factors contribute to the award level - for example, life expectancy or the presence of depression.
BrainModerately Severe£267,340 to £344,150A brain injury that leaves the affected person very seriously disabled. They rely on constant care and depend substantially on others.
Moderate (i)£183,190 to £267,340The affected person has no prospect of employment. They suffer, among other things, a moderate to severe drop in intellect.
BackSevere (i)£111,150 to £196,450The most severe cases involving spinal cord injuries and nerve damage. Severe pain and disability will ensue.
General Psychiatric DamageSevere£66,920 to £141,240A poor prognosis is one of the marked issues the affected person has with multiple factors. Another factor is the extent to which the issue can be treated.
Moderate£7,150 to £23,270Despite significant problems with handling life, education and work, among other factors, the prognosis is more positive than in severe cases.
PTSDModerately Severe£28,250 to £73,050Some recovery is possible with professional help. However, significant disability is also likely for the foreseeable future.
Moderate£9,980 to £28,250The affected person largely recovers and does not experience grossly disabling continuing effects.

Please note that the top entry in the table does not feature in the JCG.

Compensation For The Financial Impact Of Medical Negligence

It’s reasonable to assume that a medical negligence compensation payout is meant to cover the avoidable harm you sustained. However, in many cases, the biggest slice of a payout addresses the financial impact.

Special damages is a potential second head of loss that can compensate you for out of pocket expenses occurring because of medical negligence, including:

  • Medical bills.
  • Travel expenses.
  • Domestic care fees.
  • A loss of earnings caused by you being unable to work.

Keep a clear record of any financial losses through documents including payslips, receipts or invoices, as it could have an impact on how much compensation you can claim. Just call the number above if you want to know more about medical negligence compensation and what you could be compensated for.

How A No Win No Fee Medical Negligence Solicitor Could Help You Claim

Should you speak to one of our advisors and learn that you have reasonable grounds to claim, you could have the option to pursue an anaesthetic negligence claim.

Our panel’s medical negligence experts have years of combined experience in giving these cases the best possible chance of success. They offer their services under a type of No Win No Fee deal called a Conditional Fee Agreement, which means you:

  • Do not have to pay upfront legal fees.
  • Won’t have to cover any solicitor charges at all if the claim fails.
  • Will only pay a legally capped percentage of your compensation, known as a success fee, to the solicitor if the claim succeeds.

An anaesthetic negligence claim solicitor sitting at a desk and writing. A statue of the scales of justice sits in the foreground.

Talk To Our Team

You can find out more about making a No Win No Fee claim by contacting us today. Alongside offering guidance, an advisor can discuss your case and provide an assessment. If you have a valid claim, you could then be connected to one of our panel’s medical negligence solicitors for further expert support.

Talking to us is completely free. There’s nothing to lose by getting in touch, and there may be a significant amount to gain. So either:

  • Phone us on 020 3870 4868.
  • Send a query about your claim online and leave some contact information.
  • Talk to an advisor using the live chat option on your screen now.

Find Out More About Surgical Negligence Claims

Here are some more of our guides:

These sites are home to further useful information:

We hope this guide has helped. We look forward to hearing from you to help with any queries you might have on how to make an anaesthetic negligence claim.