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What is sepsis?

Anyone can contract sepsis. It occurs when an infection you already have, for instance in the lungs, urinary tract, on the skin, from a wound or during pregnancy, starts spreading via the bloodstream or causes your immune system to overreact. 

The spread of infection then starts damaging the tissues and organs. It's also known as septicaemia or blood poisoning. If it's not treated or treated too late, sepsis can quickly lead to life-changing organ failure and even death.

Most infections don't result in sepsis but any type of infection can trigger it and it's a difficult condition to identify and certain groups of people are vulnerable to it.

Can people make sepsis claims for compensation?

Yes, under certain circumstances, you may be able to make a claim for sepsis compensation. They usually include instances of medical negligence. This is where by an act or omission, a medical professional causes you harm or makes an existing condition worse.

What are the common circumstances in sepsis medical negligence claims?

Eligibility for sepsis medical negligence claims usually include the following scenarios:

  • Failure to diagnose the condition.
  • Misdiagnosis of sepsis as something else, resulting in the wrong treatment being given.
  • Misprescribing the wrong type of medication for any reason
  • Causing it to develop because of late or delayed treatment.
  • Causing it to develop through poor care or hygiene standards
  • Causing a postoperative infection through surgical error.

Sepsis can also occur as a result of infection in penetrative wounds. Where people have been in an accident not their fault and contracted it as a result, they may have grounds to make sepsis claims

Such wounds or burns can occur in any accident situation that involves physical injury. For instance, in a road traffic accident, as a driver, passenger, motorcyclist, pedestrian or cyclist

Similarly, it's possible to develop sepsis after a bad slip, trip or falling injury or an accident injury at work.

Did you know?

According to the Royal College of Nursing, around 123,000 people contract a sepsis infection in England every year.

Around 37,000 deaths are annually associated with the condition in England, placing sepsis infection survival chances at approximately 70%.

Source: Royal College of Nursing - ‘What is Sepsis?' updated February 2021

If your case of sepsis was caused by someone else's negligence, then we may be able to help you make a no win no fee claim for sepsis compensation. We work with a national panel of law firms that include specialist sepsis solicitors who'll support you throughout your sepsis compensation claim.

Contact us for free, impartial advice on  or fill in our secure online form to arrange a call back from us at a time that suits you. We'll never rush or pressure you into making a claim - we're here to help you understand whether you could make a sepsis compensation claim and to answer the many questions you'll likely have.

Can people make sepsis claims for loved ones who contracted it and died of the infection?

It's a tragic situation and we understand that nothing can replace the loss you've suffered. However, as a family member, you may be able to claim for fatal sepsis compensation. For more information, please read our detailed page about compensation after a fatality that wasn't the victim's fault.

Sometimes a loved one may suffer a severe case of sepsis that results in irreparable physical harm - such as brain damage.  If this means they are unable to seek sepsis compensation themselves, then you can do it on their behalf. Find out more about becoming a ‘litigation friend'.

What are the common causes of sepsis infection?

Any type of infection that gets out of control and into the bloodstream can result in sepsis. The common conditions or injuries that can trigger it include:

What are the symptoms of sepsis infection?

Most importantly, if you think that you or a loved one may be suffering or at risk of sepsis infection, seek immediate emergency medical help. Dial 999 for an ambulance or get straight to your nearest Accident & Emergency department.

Sepsis can be hard to diagnose as it can have many symptoms which can differ between children and adults. The symptoms are often similar to other conditions like influenza or a chest infection. If in doubt, seek immediate medical assistance. 

Spotting sepsis symptoms in a baby or young child

If your baby or youngster exhibits one or some of the following symptoms, then dial 999 or get to your nearest A&E department:

  • Unnaturally pale, blue or blotchy tongue, lips or skin.
  • A skin rash that doesn't fade when you roll a glass over it. This could also mean meningitis is present.
  • Rapid breathing, breathlessness or any type of breathing difficulty.
  • High-pitched, weak crying that you don't recognise as normal.
  • A lack of awareness or response, being off their food or continued vomiting.
  • Being difficult to wake or sleepier than usual.
  • Has swelling, inflammation or redness around a wound.
  • Has a very high or very low temperature with signs of shivering.

Spotting sepsis symptoms in an older child or adult

Again, dial 999 or get to A&E if you or a loved one is suffering one or some of the following symptoms:

  • Unnaturally pale, blue or blotchy tongue, lips or skin.
  • A skin rash that doesn't fade when you roll a glass over it. 
  • Rapid breathing, breathlessness or any type of breathing difficulty.
  • A lack of awareness, confusion or slurred speech. 
  • Continued vomiting and unable to keep food down.
  • Has swelling, inflammation or redness around a wound.
  • Has a very high or low temperature, signs of shivering.

If you've suffered a sepsis infection caused in an incident that was someone else's fault - or believe you may have received negligent medical care - then contact us for confidential advice on . You may be eligible to make a claim for sepsis compensation

Who is at risk from sepsis infection?

Anyone can develop a sepsis infection but some people are more vulnerable than others. People at risk include:

  • Infants under one year old as well as those born prematurely or where the mother suffered an infection during pregnancy.
  • The elderly over 75 years of age.
  • People with diabetes or a weakened immune system (for instance those who've had an organ transplant or who are undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer).
  • People recovering from serious illness or recent surgery.
  • Women who have just given birth, miscarried, had an abortion or suffered an infection during pregnancy.

What are the after-effects of a sepsis infection?

In extreme circumstances where sepsis has caused multiple organ failure, the septic shock to the body is fatal. 

Where patients respond to treatment, recovery can take a long time and involve many side-effects. This is called post-sepsis syndrome and can include: 

  • Lasting damage to major organs like the brain, lungs, heart and liver. 
  • Deep and pervasive fatigue.
  • Nightmares and difficulty sleeping, possibly with severe insomnia.
  • Loss of appetite, mood changes, anxiety or depression.
  • Flashbacks and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • A vulnerability to other illnesses or infections.

It's not just the infection itself that can turn your life upside down - so can post-sepsis syndrome. It can limit your ability to work and do all those normal family and social things you used to take for granted.

If your sepsis infection was caused by someone else's negligence then you may be eligible to make a sepsis compensation claim. Contact us for free, impartial advice and talk us through your experience on . Alternatively, fill in our secure online form to arrange a call back from us at a time that suits you.

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Can people make medical negligence sepsis claims against the NHS?

Yes - if you've suffered from sepsis negligence while using the NHS in the last three years, then we may be able to help you make a claim for sepsis compensation.

Our medical negligence solicitors are experienced at handling medical negligence NHS claims and can take you through the process step by step, keeping things as simple and stress-free as possible. To find out how a compensation claim works, visit our information about the claims process.

Do sepsis medical negligence claims deprive the NHS of money?

No they don't. When people make sepsis medical negligence claims against the NHS, they are dealt with by an organisation called NHS Resolution. It's an government-backed insurance body that handles all medical negligence cases brought by patients against NHS Trusts.

Each NHS Trust in the UK pays an annual premium to NHS Resolution so that there is always a pot of money available to settle any medical negligence cases brought against them.

We know it can be difficult to cope with the seen and unseen effects of an injury that wasn't your fault, so that's why our Legal Support Advisors (LSAs) are fully trained to help you through an emotional and important part of the recovery process.

How we approach sensitive calls

We know it can be difficult to cope with the seen and unseen effects of an injury that wasn't your fault, so that's why our Legal Support Advisors (LSAs) are fully trained to help you through an emotional and important part of the recovery process.

What's usually included in sepsis claims for compensation?

No two sepsis claims are the same because injury, medical treatment and circumstances vary widely. That means successful sepsis settlements vary too. We look at sepsis medical negligence claims on an individual basis so we can decide the most suitable firm of sepsis solicitors for your claim.

Because of this, we can't tell you exactly how much given sepsis settlements might be worth before the claim begins.

Our solicitors do their utmost to make sure you get the full sepsis claims amount you're owed. Your solicitor will take everything caused by your infection into consideration when putting together your medical negligence claim for sepsis.

For example, they'll tally up:

  • Medical treatment costs and any conversions you need at home or to drive.
  • Any care you've received, even if given for free by a family member.
  • Lost earnings due to time off work as well as the impact on your future earning ability.
  • The effect your injury has had on your social life and hobbies.
  • The wider effects on your family.

No sepsis claims compensation can take away what you've been through. But it really can help you get your life back on track and make sure you're not placed under financial pressure.

Sepsis claims: how do I begin one?

If you're unsure whether you could make a medical negligence claim for sepsis, contact us free on . Our legally trained advisors will listen carefully to what you've been through and will let you know if you may be eligible to make a claim.

We're here to help you and offer advice. We'll never rush or pressure you into claiming - it's always your decision. If you do decide you'd like to proceed, we can connect you with one of our specialist sepsis claims lawyers. We take the strain out of finding the right no win no fee solicitor so that you can focus on getting your life back to normal.

Your sepsis claims solicitor will be your point of contact throughout the claim. We carefully monitor service standards so rest assured you'll receive the best possible legal care for sepsis settlements. They'll always keep you in the picture and will always be on hand to answer any questions about sepsis claims you may have.

Frequently asked questions...

Every case we work with is different, which makes it hard for us to say how long your compensation claim might take.

In simpler cases, where fault is clear and undeniable the claim may be settled quickly. However, if you’ve suffered a serious or life-changing injury, then your compensation claim may take longer because we need to understand the full impact of your injury and make sure your costs are covered.

Our solicitors will stay in touch and keep you informed every step of the way, so that you always know what stage your claim is at.

Yes you can - all the solicitors we work with, including our own legal firm National Accident Law - are able to handle injury compensation claims under no win no fee terms. This means that if your claim fails, you pay nothing and ensures that making a claim is risk-free.

Yes, of course. Our helpline, our own law firm, the law firms we work with around the country and all insurers are operating as pretty much as normal with many people working securely from home. There may be some minor delays - for example if your ankle injury compensation claim needs a court hearing. However, much of the work is carried out by phone, email and using the government’s internet claims system anyway, so things are as close to business as usual as they can be.

Contact us first and we’ll check your grounds to claim and then connect you with one of our specialist solicitors if you want to proceed.

No. National Accident Helpline is a brand that belongs to the personal injury legal practice National Accident Law. We’re regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), the independent professional ethics body that licenses all solicitors in England and Wales. Our SRA number is 655606.

Claims management companies (CMCs) are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). CMCs do not have their own legal practices. 

We process personal injury claims as part of National Accident Law. We also work with a national network of specialist personal injury legal firms who we vet very carefully to provide you with the best possible customer experience.

With us, you’re in safe and highly-capable hands.

What are the time limits for making sepsis claims?

To qualify for making any no win no fee sepsis compensation claim, you must have suffered an infection within the last three years. The infection must also have been all or partially the fault of someone else - for instance a negligent medical professional.

  • If you were 18 or over when the infection occurred, you have three years to make sepsis claims from when symptoms became apparent or the date of diagnosis. 
  • If you were under 18 at the time and no claim was made, you have three years from your 18th until your 21st birthday to claim.

There are exceptions to the three-year limitation, for instance if the victim experienced such a severe infection they can't make the claim themselves. This also applies if they lack the psychological capability to do so, either as a result of the sepsis infection or a pre-existing disability.

If you've got any questions about making a no win no fee sepsis compensation claim, contact us for free and impartial advice on . We'll listen to what you've been through and let you know if we think you could make a no win no fee claim

Alternatively, try our eligibility verifier which asks some simple questions about your experience and will let you know whether we think you may be able to make a sepsis compensation claim.

What are the average sepsis claims amounts?

It's difficult to estimate what sepsis claims may be worth before a firm of sepsis solicitors has thoroughly investigated what has happened. A sepsis infection can cause serious collateral damage to the brain and other vital organs

The Judicial College is the government department in the Ministry of Justice responsible for setting the guideline general damages amounts for all personal injury types. Included are the types of harm caused by sepsis infections

General damages cover pain, suffering and loss of everyday amenity. Sepsis solicitors also calculate special damages. These are the financial losses you've experienced as a direct result of your injury. They are awarded in addition to general damages. 

Because sepsis claims - such as sepsis medical negligence claims - can involve serious and long term consequences, compensation for general damages can be significant. 

For instance, general damages for very severe brain damage range from £264,650 to £379,100. In sepsis medical negligence claims involving serious impairment of bladder control, general damages alone range from £60,050 to £75,010.

It's likely that you'll also have suffered financial losses, for instance while unable to work during your recovery. Sepsis claims will also include these if your claim succeeds. The specialist firm of sepsis solicitors we connect you with will value your claim in detail and explain everything to you clearly and in plain English.

Recovering from a serious infection like sepsis can be expensive, and we know how important it is for you to get support to cover the costs.

We don't think it's fair for you to be left under financial pressure when someone else was responsible for what happened. This is especially true after you've suffered such a traumatic and potentially life-threatening health issue like this. 

Speak to us for free, impartial advice onor fill in our secure online form. We'll be happy to answer your sepsis claims questions and can help you understand whether you could make a claim.

If you'd like to find out more about all the different legal stages of a compensation claim, please visit our claims process page.

How do people pay for sepsis claims?

You do this with a no win no fee arrangement, also known as a conditional fee agreement. It's the contract between you and your no win no fee sepsis claims solicitor.

There are no upfront costs or hidden charges but if you win the claim, you'll be asked to pay any costs and expenses, not paid for by the other side, out of your compensation. This is likely to happen in most cases, as the other side is only required to make a contribution to your legal fees.

These costs will only be deducted when your compensation is paid, and may include: 

  • A ‘success fee' which compensates the solicitor for the risk they take, as if your claim is unsuccessful they won't be paid at all.
  • Any other legal costs or expenses not recovered from the other side, such as the costs of any legal expense insurance.

When you start your sepsis compensation claim, your solicitor will take out legal insurance protection on your behalf. This is sometimes called ATE (After The Event) insurance. If your claim is unsuccessful, then the other party's costs will be paid out of this insurance. 

If you don't receive any compensation, then you won't have to pay for the ATE insurance. If your claim is successful, then it'll be paid out of your compensation as part of the fees.

Your solicitor will discuss this with you at the start, so you'll know what to expect when your claim settles. If you don't win your no win no fee claim, you pay nothing to anyone.

When you're looking for a personal injury company to help you make your claim, you might be worried about the credibility of the solicitors you'll work with. With us, you're in safe, trusted and proven hands.

We work with a national panel of no win no fee personal injury solicitors who we select carefully based on their skills. This ensures you get the legal representation you need for the best chance of making a successful sepsis compensation claim.

To find out whether you could claim, or for advice and answers to your questions, contact us free on to talk to one of our friendly, legally-trained advisors in total confidence. 

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Compassionate and stress-free claims handling.
Compensation on a No Win No Fee basis means you'll never be out of pocket.
We've handled over 40,000 medical claims.
Trusted, friendly and confidential support when you really need it.

James Ilic a Senior Litigator at our own legal practice, National Accident Law

Sepsis claims usually involve one form or other of medical negligence. It's a very traumatic health complication for the victim and their loved ones that can have life-changing results, both physically and financially.

Compassion and attention to the details is really important. The lawyer's job is to build and fight the claim so that you and your family can start rebuilding your life.

James Ilic

Senior Litigator, National Accident Law