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Contaminated blood claim FAQs

Time limits apply to most legal claims. Generally, this is three years from the date you were injured. However, there are some important exceptions and determining a time limit is a complex matter. It’s essential you seek legal advice immediately if you are interested in pursuing a contaminated blood compensation claim.

Due to the nature of this specific case, the delayed effects and symptoms, the claim may be able to proceed despite exceeding the time limit. When deciding whether to proceed or not, the court will consider the interests of the claimant and defendant to reach a decision.

Your claim can be funded in several ways. Your solicitor will explain each of these to you in detail, provide you with a list of available options and discuss the best way to fund your claim. Some of these may include:

  • A Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) – Most claims are likely to be funded by a CFA – also known as a “No Win, No Fee” agreement. If your case succeeds, then most of your legal costs will be paid by your opponent. However, we are entitled to up to 25% of the compensation. A CFA is not guaranteed and is subject to a preliminary assessment.
  • Legal Expenses Insurance – You may be able to fund your case using a policy of legal expenses insurance you might have on your home contents policy or another insurance policy. We can help you contact your insurer to arrange use of this policy.
  • Other options – You can also pay our fees as a private client. This could be a significant investment and is unlikely to be a realistic option for most clients. Legal Aid is not available for this claim.

You could receive compensation in two areas. Firstly, there may be general damages awarded for “pain, suffering and loss of amenity.” Secondly, there could be special damages, which cover actual financial losses and expenses caused by infection (including loved ones) due to Hepatitis C. This can include treatment and care.

In the UK, compensation from General Damages is modest. Figures are fixed by judges on a tariff basis. Large compensation claims often involve complex special damage claims for losses calculated many years into the future.

Each claim is unique, and the amount of compensation you may receive if your claim is successful depends on your own circumstances. However, any successful claim will involve you receiving compensation for your own losses.

Claim length can vary and depend on various factors. The largest contributor to claim length depends on how far the defendants choose to fight the claims. They may settle things outright or continue to trial. They may even settle somewhere in the middle.

Claims relating to general damages are often simpler than those with complex special damages. Others may require expert evidence in several areas.

There are matters of medicine, science, and history, and if fought all the way will require expert input at different junctures. Defendant documents would also need careful review, alongside any ongoing work in the Infected Blood Inquiry.

Generally, most cases go to trial within 12 to 15 months, but in complex group trials (such as this) that timetable may need to be extended.

It’s best to assume it may take several years to conclude your claim, though the defendants may settle early. At all times, we will keep you updated and work quickly for you.

Few cases actually get as far as trial. In group claims it’s often unnecessary for every claimant to give evidence at trial, as ‘lead cases’ are often selected to stand as representatives for the group.

However, there’s always a chance that you will have to go to court once you decide to commence litigation. We can guide you through the process if this becomes necessary. There are several things that can be done to help you feel more comfortable should you have to go to court.

Under the Data Protection Act 2018 and the Access to Health Records Act 1990, patients have the right to copies of their own medical records. The records holder could be your GP, hospital, or another healthcare provider.

Depending on who holds the records you wish to see, to request a copy you can:

  • Write a letter.
  • Use GP online services.
  • Use the Trust’s online contact form, if applicable. Search ‘[trust name] and subject access request’ to see if it is available.

You can also view your GP records online using the NHS App.

Find out more about how to obtain your medical records.

If a loved one died, a claim can still be brought on behalf of their estate. We are able to take initial enquiries from any close family member. However, once we start to investigate the claim, and at the point we accept formal instructions to act, these will need to come from the individual who has the legal right to take steps on behalf of the relative’s estate.

This is often known as the Personal Representative. They are often, but not always, the next of kin and the executors named in the will. If no will was made an appropriate person can still apply to be an “administrator” of the estate, but this process will require some paperwork.

In the meantime, if have any questions regarding whether you hold the legal authority to bring a claim on behalf of your loved one’s estate, we recommend you contact your local probate registry.