Blood clots are fairly common and easy to treat if diagnosed quickly. Anyone can develop a blood clot, but certain risk factors such as smoking and surgery make them more likely to form. If left untreated, a blood clot can move to the brain, heart or lungs and cause life-threatening complications.
Some severe conditions caused by a blood clot include deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism and heart attack. In the UK, pulmonary embolism is responsible for more than 25,000 preventable deaths each year.
The most common symptoms associated with a blood clot include swelling and pain in the affected area, shortness of breath, dizziness and difficulty speaking. It is essential that your healthcare provider diagnoses and treats your blood clot before it causes a severe injury.
If you or a loved one suffered due to a blood clot that was not diagnosed or treated properly, you might be eligible to make a blood clot claim. If your claim is successful, you might receive compensation for your pain, suffering and related financial losses.
To find out if you have a valid blood clot injury claim, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with a legal adviser. If your case has merit, they will offer you a no win no fee agreement, which means that you will not have to pay anything if your claim is unsuccessful.
Can I make a blood clot claim?
If you or a loved one suffered a blood clot injury that you believe was due to negligent treatment, you might be able to make a claim. The most straightforward way to find out if you are eligible for compensation is to seek legal advice.
Blood clot claims can be complex as it is not always easy to discriminate between a legitimate error and medical negligence. As a general rule, you should be eligible for blood clot compensation if:
- The care you received was below the medical standard accepted in the field
- You suffered a blood clot injury as a result
- This caused you significant financial and personal losses
- You became aware of the blood clot in the last three years
You do not have to worry about proving that you received substandard care. Your solicitor will consult with a medicolegal expert in the field and determine whether your blood clot injury was due to negligence, based on your medical records and witness statements.
You could make a blood clot negligence claim against the NHS or a private healthcare provider. Furthermore, you should be eligible for compensation even if you received medical treatment abroad.
Some common scenarios that may lead to a blood clot claim include:
- A healthcare professional did not properly assess your risk of developing blood clots
- You were not provided with surgical stockings during your hospital stay
- Failure to diagnose a blood clot after a long-haul flight or drive
- You did not receive appropriate treatment for a condition that makes your blood more likely to clot
- Your DVT or embolism was not diagnosed or treated in time
- You were unnecessarily administered clot-busting drugs, which caused a stroke
- You did not receive clot-busting medication after developing a pulmonary embolism
What are blood clots?
A blood clot is a mass of blood that has changed from liquid to a gel-like mass or substance. This happens when the blood comes into contact with specific substances in the skin or blood vessels, typically after an injury, to stop the bleeding and prevent infection from entering the body.
A series of chemical reactions lead to the formation and dissolving of a blood clot:
- When a blood vessel is damaged, it releases triggers that cause tiny cells in the blood called platelets to stick to the injured area and form a plug to stop the bleeding.
- Another major component of the blood clot called fibrin tangles up with even more platelets, causing the clot to become more durable.
- At this point, other proteins in the blood cause the reaction to end, so the clot does not spread further than it needs to.
- As the damaged area starts to heal, the fibrin strands dissolve, and the platelets return to the blood.
Sometimes, however, a blood clot may develop where it should not or may not dissolve on its own. It could develop anywhere in a vein or artery and remain in one spot or move to a vital organ, posing serious health threats.
When a blood clot or thrombus forms in a blood vessel and remains there, this is called a thrombosis. If the clot or parts of it detach and travel to other parts of the body, it is called an embolism.
Arterial thrombosis can block the blood flow to an organ, often resulting in a heart attack or stroke. A venous thrombosis leads to the congestion of the affected body part by restricting the return of blood to the heart. There are two types of venous thromboembolism:
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
When a blood clot forms in a deep vein, it may stop the blood flow and cause pain and swelling in the area. DVT usually develops in the lower legs or thighs but may also form in the arms or pelvis and is easily diagnosed with ultrasound.
Pulmonary embolism (PE)
PE occurs when a blood clot that formed elsewhere in the body travels to the lungs. This will decrease the amount of oxygen in the blood, causing respiratory problems. A pulmonary embolism can be life-threatening and requires emergency medical attention.
It is essential to recognise the symptoms of a blood clot, which may differ depending on the affected area:
- Arms or legs: pain, discomfort, tenderness, swelling, itchiness, warmth and skin changes
- Heart or lungs: severe chest pain, sudden shortness of breath, rapid or irregular heart rate, coughing up blood
- Brain: weakness of the face or limbs, difficulty speaking, dizziness, vision problems, sudden and severe headache
- Abdomen: vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea, severe abdominal pain
There are several methods available for diagnosing a blood clot, including blood tests, ultrasound, CT scans and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). If you feel your blood clot injury could have been prevented, call 0800 678 1410 to speak to a legal adviser.
What causes blood clots?
Blood clotting is triggered whenever the blood comes into contact with certain substances in the skin or blood vessels. This is a normal process when you suffer an injury such as a cut or laceration and is essential to stop the bleeding.
Anything that prevents blood from flowing or clotting properly can lead to the formation of a blood clot. If the clot forms without an injury or does not dissolve as it should, it can block blood flow and cause severe complications.
High cholesterol is a common factor that can contribute to the formation of blood clots. High cholesterol often leads to the formation of fatty deposits in the blood vessels, making it difficult for the blood to flow. If these deposits break, they can form a blood clot and cause a heart attack or stroke.
Other conditions and risk factors that may cause a blood clot to form include:
- A poor diet rich in saturated or trans fats
- Being overweight or obese, especially if your BMI is 30 or higher
- Prolonged sitting or bed rest and lack of exercise
- Smoking and drinking too much alcohol
- Age, with an increased risk for people over 60
- Having suffered an injury or surgery
- Pregnancy, due to increased pressure in the veins in the legs and pelvis
- Using birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy
- Some types of cancer and cancer treatment
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Atherosclerosis, peripheral artery disease and COVID-19
- A personal or family history of DVT or PE
- Genetic factors that may cause the blood to clot more easily
If you have any risk factors for developing blood clots, it is important to take adequate preventive measures. Blood clots can leave scars and other damage that can cause long-term health problems. A blood clot injury can sometimes be fatal.
Almost half the people who get a DVT experience swelling, pain, skin colour changes and ulcers that last for a long time. A pulmonary embolism can lead to pulmonary hypertension, which can cause shortness of breath, tiredness and chest pain.
In the UK and worldwide, venous thromboembolism is a leading cause of death and disability. VTE is the number one cause of preventable deaths in hospitals, and one in four people die from complications related to blood clots.
If your life or the life of a loved one was affected by a blood clot injury, you might be able to make a blood clot negligence claim. To find out if you are eligible for compensation, enter your details into our online claim form or call 0800 678 1410 to speak to a legal adviser.
How will I know if medical negligence caused my blood clot?
There are many risk factors and circumstances which might cause you to develop a blood clot. Even if your doctor treats you with a reasonable standard of care, it may not always be possible for them to detect or prevent a blood clot.
If you have symptoms of a blood clot injury, your doctor should ask you about your medical history and your family’s medical history. They should also consider any medication you take and other risk factors such as pregnancy, smoking or obesity.
To prevent DVT in case of surgery, your doctor should:
- Prescribe blood thinners if you are at risk for developing blood clots
- Avoid using a tourniquet
- Use anti-embolism stockings or an intermittent pneumatic compression device
- Take the necessary blood tests to diagnose a possible blood clot
- Advise you on getting up and walking as soon as possible after your surgery
Not all injuries caused by blood clots are due to negligent treatment. To establish negligence, your solicitor must be able to prove:
A duty of care
Everybody has a duty to act in a way that will not endanger the well-being of others. For medical staff, this duty extends to behaving as a skilful and competent professional with the same level of training would in the same circumstances.
A breach of duty
If your healthcare provider failed to do something within their duty, such as prescribing blood thinners after surgery, they breached their duty of care towards you. Not every mistake a doctor might make is considered negligence. Bodies like the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) offer extensive guidelines about the standard of care a doctor should provide. Acting contrarily to the NICE recommendations is likely to be seen as a breach of duty.
A breach of duty is not enough to make a negligence claim unless it directly caused you a blood clot injury. Furthermore, it’s unlikely you can make a blood clot negligence claim if you were aware of any risks or if your injury was inevitable.
To have a valid blood clot claim, you need evidence of the damages you suffered due to your doctor’s negligent treatment. This includes your medical records, expert assessments, notes about how the injury affected your life and proof of related financial expenses.
Your solicitor will contact a medicolegal expert to review your medical records and determine whether your blood clot injury was due to negligence. They will also assess the extent of your injuries and any long-term or permanent effects for which you could claim compensation.
What evidence will I need to make a blood clot claim?
Blood clots can form for a variety of different reasons and are usually easy to treat when diagnosed promptly. When left untreated, however, they can cause more severe conditions such as pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis and may even be fatal.
If you think your blood clot injury was due to medical negligence, you might want to claim compensation for your pain and suffering. A free consultation with an experienced solicitor is enough to find out if your claim has merit.
Once a solicitor takes on your case, they will help you gather all the evidence you need to build your blood clot negligence claim, which may include:
- The detailed medical records of any interventions or treatments you received
- Professional evaluation reports with independent experts in the field
- The names and wards of the medical professionals that treated you
- Photographs of any visible injuries
- Official reports or statements from healthcare professionals attesting to your poor treatment
- Eyewitness accounts from friends and family
- Your notes about when and how you became aware of a blood clot and how it affected your life
- Evidence of any related financial losses and expenses
Your solicitor will get in touch with the defendant and inform them of your allegations of negligence. If they admit liability, you can start negotiating a compensation award. If they deny responsibility for your blood clot injury or you cannot settle, your solicitor will issue court proceedings.
Blood clot claims rarely go to court, and more than 95% of all claims settle without a trial. In the unlikely event that you must argue your case before a judge, they will consider all the available evidence, assign liability and decide on a compensation award they believe is fair.
How much compensation can I claim for a blood clot injury?
A blood clot injury can lead to severe health problems that might permanently affect your daily and personal life. If a medical professional caused your complications by acting negligently, you might be entitled to make a blood clot claim.
The purpose of a compensation award is to put you in a similar financial position you had before the negligence occurred. Your solicitor will consider all the ways in which the blood clot affected your life to calculate a fair settlement for your damages.
Every blood clot injury claim is unique and can result in distinct compensation, depending on the long-term health complications, psychological trauma and related economic losses. In every personal injury claim, you can recover two types of damages that will determine how much compensation you will receive:
Special damages is compensation for the expenses you incurred and can be assigned a specific monetary value, including:
- The cost of medical treatments, past and future
- Transportation costs to medical appointments
- Lost earnings if you had to take time off work
- Loss of earning capacity, if you cannot return to work
- The cost of care and assistance
- Hospitalisation and rehabilitation costs
General damages represent the type of personal damages that cannot easily be assigned a monetary value, such as:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Psychological and emotional trauma
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Reduced quality of life
- Reduced life expectancy
- Loss of prospects and enjoyment of life
- Physical and mental impairment
When it comes to general damages, it can be laborious to calculate fair compensation for your losses. Often, the courts and solicitors refer to other similar blood clot claims and the guidelines published by the Judicial College. If your claim is successful, you could receive:
- Up to £74,000 for severe leg swelling, pain and reduced mobility due to DVT
- £83,550 to £109,570 for loss of one leg below the knee caused by a misdiagnosed blood clot
- £191,950 to £240,590 for loss of one or both legs above the knee
- £8,640 to £24,990 for partial amputation of a finger
- £205,580 to £264,650 for a blood clot that caused a severe brain injury
- Up to £48,080 for pulmonary embolism causing long-term breathing difficulties
- Up to £18,240 for pulmonary embolism causing minor breathing difficulties
- £4,380 for mental anguish caused by fear of impending death or a reduction in life expectancy
- £5,500 to £17,900 for moderate psychiatric damage
How long do I have to make a blood clot negligence claim?
Typically, the time limit to start a blood clot claim is three years from either:
- Suffering a blood clot injury
- The date you realised you got a blood clot as a result of negligence
The last date you can claim compensation for a blood clot injury is known as the claim limitation date. After this date, the court will not accept your case even if it has merit. Depending on the extent and reason for a delay, a judge may waive the rules on time limits, but these are exceptions and should not be relied upon.
If you want to make a blood clot negligence claim, the sooner you speak to a solicitor, the better. This will make it easier to collect evidence and build a strong case to help you win compensation. As this could take many months, most solicitors will not accept your claim if you have less than half a year to start legal proceedings.
The three-year time limit does not apply to everyone who wants to claim blood clot compensation. For example:
- If the victim is a child, a litigation friend could claim on their behalf at any point before they turn 18 years of age. Afterwards, they are considered legally capable of making a claim themselves and can do so until their 21st birthday.
- There is no time limit to claim compensation for an adult who is considered a protected party. A protected party is anyone over 18 who lacks the mental capacity to conduct legal proceedings due to:
- PTSD or other stress disorders
- A neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease
- A mental health condition like schizophrenia or major depression
- An intellectual disability such as Down syndrome or autism
- Being in a coma
- A severe brain injury or stroke
- The victim has three years to make a blood clot claim if they recover their intellectual ability.
- In wrongful death cases, a close family member could claim blood clot compensation within three years after their loved one passed away or after an autopsy established the cause of their death. You could claim a statutory bereavement award of £15,120, funeral expenses, loss of service and financial dependency.
- If you suffered a blood clot injury while receiving medical treatment in another country, you may still be eligible to claim compensation. You should contact an experienced solicitor as soon as possible, as some countries may have very short time limits to start a claim.
To start your claim, you can call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back for a free consultation with one of the best no win no fee solicitors. They can let you know if your blood clot claim has merit and what limitation date might apply to your case.