By Brett Williams. Last updated August 11th 2021. If you were injured during an acupuncture treatment due to the negligence of a practitioner, you could seek compensation for the harm and suffering you were caused. Acupuncture practitioners and clinics have a duty of care towards the people they treat. If they fail in this duty, acupuncturists could be held liable for injuries anyone sustains. As such, you could make acupuncture negligence injury claims against negligent parties might be possible.
To find out whether you have a valid acupuncture negligence claim, and who could be held responsible for the harm you were caused, please speak to one of our advisers today on 0800 073 8801.
If you would like more information on the claims process, how to prove liability for injuries you suffered, and the amount of acupuncture negligence compensation you may be awarded, please continue reading our guide by clicking on the sections below.
Select A Section
- A Guide To Acupuncture Negligence Injury Claims
- What Are Acupuncture Treatment Injuries?
- Acupuncture Regulation And Safety Standards
- Statistics & Effectiveness Of Acupuncture In The UK
- Common Side Effects Of Negligent Acupuncture Treatment
- Uncommon Side Effects Of Negligent Acupuncture Treatment
- Other Injuries Caused By Negligent Acupuncture Treatment
- Acupuncture Negligence Injury Claims Compensation Calculator – Updated August 2021
- Special Damages For Harm Caused By Acupuncture Treatment
- No Win No Fee Acupuncture Negligence Injury Claims
- How Accident Claims UK Could Help You
- Start Your Acupuncture Negligence Injury Claims
- Supporting Resources And References
Acupuncture treatments are often recommended by the NHS, with over two million patients receiving this type of therapy in the UK every year. The majority of these treatments are successful and patients benefit from receiving them. However, around ten per cent of acupuncture treatments are not as successful, leaving people with some kind of negative side effect with others suffering a reaction.
The sort of side effect or reaction to acupuncture you may experience could include temporary bruising, or you may suffer permanent tissue damage.
Acupuncture practitioners are self-regulating which, in short, means they are not obliged to hold any qualifications. They do not have to be licensed either, although a practising acupuncturist should register with the local authority in some parts of the country.
Our guide on how to make an acupuncture negligence claim against a negligent practitioner provides information on the claims process, what evidence is required to support a claim, and how long you have to file a claim. We also cover the following:
- The sort of injury you could sustain if an acupuncture treatment goes wrong or you have a reaction
- The safety standards that acupuncture practitioners should abide by
- What side effects are commonly associated with this type of treatment and those which are less common
- The amount of acupuncture negligence compensation you could be awarded
- The sort of losses and damages you could include in a claim against a negligent party
- How a No Win No Fee solicitor could assist you so an acceptable level of acupuncture negligence compensation is awarded
To find out how we can be of assistance in making an acupuncture negligence claim, please speak to a member of our claims team today.
Acupuncture treatments derive from Ancient China where they were used to treat many ailments people suffered from. The treatment involves extremely fine needles which are inserted into specific sites of the body, whether as a preventative or therapeutic therapy.
Today, many GP practices, as well as hospices and pain clinics throughout the UK, carry out acupuncture treatments on patients in their care. It is often referred to as complementary and alternative medicine – CAM. Anyone needing acupuncture treatment would first be diagnosed as suffering from a medical condition that merits this type of therapy.
When acupuncture needles are inserted into specific areas of the body, sensory nerves just under the skin and in muscles are stimulated. This, in turn, causes the body to produce pain-relieving endorphins which are believed to be responsible for the beneficial effects a patient experiences when undergoing an acupuncture treatment.
When a course of acupuncture treatments is carried out, a patient typically benefits from long-lasting pain relief. The treatments are based on a belief that ‘life force’, known as Qi, flows through a person’s body through channels which are known as ‘meridians’. Acupuncturists who practise the traditional method believe that when the ‘life force’ fails to flow freely, it can lead to illness and that acupuncture treatments restore the flow which in turn means that people start to enjoy good health once again.
Studies carried out by the World Health Organisation (WHO) show that patients who undergo acupuncture may experience slight, adverse side effects which are not permanent. The most common being feeling a slight pain when an acupuncture needle is inserted into the body.
Other side effects of a mild nature include the following:
- A slight amount of bleeding or haematoma
However, some patients who undergo acupuncture may require some form of medical treatment following a procedure. In extremely rare cases, receiving acupuncture may lead to a more serious health issue that could be life-threatening. This is typically due to complications but as previously stated, the study shows this to be extremely rare.
If you underwent an acupuncture treatment, and you experienced a reaction or developed side effects, please speak to a member of our team today.
There are two main groups in the health care sector that use acupuncture with the main one being professional traditional acupuncture practitioners. These acupuncturists are highly trained in accordance with recommendations as laid out by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Governments around the world now recognise that acupuncture offers many benefits and as such, have set in place licensing laws that acupuncture practitioners must abide by.
The second group sees conventional medical professionals which include physiotherapists, doctors and nurses all of whom use acupuncture techniques alongside traditional medicines and therapies.
It is worth noting that both groups are governed by professional bodies, with the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) being the leading one for traditional acupuncture practices in the UK. Their aim being as follows:
- To protect and safeguard the public by making sure a high level of education, discipline, ethics, and safe practice is adhered to by all of its members
All BAcC-registered practitioners are trained in anatomy, pharmacology, physiology and pathology to ensure that acupuncturists are qualified to carry out needling.
When it comes to doctors and physiotherapists, the British Medical Acupuncture Society (BMASS), and the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP) oversee registered acupuncture practitioners.
There are more than a million acupuncturists who practise these techniques throughout the world. Much research and many studies have been carried out, with more than 10,000 clinical trials into acupuncture having been published over time. In Britain, the NHS has a positive approach to patients being treated by acupuncturists once a health condition has been diagnosed.
Fact Sheets published on The British Acupuncture Council website provide valuable insight into the effectiveness of acupuncture treatments. The National Institute for Health Care Excellence also explains the effectiveness of acupuncture techniques, which are known to be beneficial in treating the following conditions:
- Lower back pain
- Headaches associated with tension
If you suffered any sort of side effect or had a reaction to an acupuncture treatment you received, there is a possibility that you could seek compensation for the harm and damage you were caused through the negligence of a practitioner. To find out how we can be of assistance, please speak to a member of our team today.
Acupuncture is relatively risk-free providing treatments are performed by a trained and licensed practitioner, bearing in mind this is not a statutory requirement in the UK. In short, anyone can practise acupuncture although most reputable practitioners will register with their local authority.
If you received acupuncture treatment, you may experience the following side effects:
- A degree of bruising
- Minor pain and discomfort at the sites where needles have been inserted
- Light bleeding
Should the treatment have been performed incorrectly, the following may occur:
- Needles pushed too deeply into the skin, injuring lungs, or organs
- Infection if needles used are not correctly sterilised which could lead to life-threatening health issues
It is also worth noting that not all people may be given acupuncture, especially if they suffer from the following health conditions which could result in complications:
- Bleeding disorders – anyone with a bleeding disorder or who are taking medication such as blood thinners, may experience healing issues at the sites where needles are inserted
- Pregnant women should always consult with a doctor before undergoing any sort of alternative therapy. The reason being that certain acupuncture techniques could trigger a premature delivery or early labour
- People who suffer from heart issues, or who have pacemakers could be at risk if they undergo certain acupuncture techniques that involve applying electrical pulses. The same is true if an amount of heat is applied to sites where needles are inserted as a way of stimulating nerve responses
Should you have suffered any harm while undergoing acupuncture therapy due to the negligence of a practitioner, you could seek compensation. To find out whether you have a valid personal injury claim, please call one of our advisers today.
Should the practitioner lack the necessary training to carry out an acupuncture procedure, you are at risk of being harmed. The damage caused by which you could seek compensation could include the following:
- Arachnoid and spinal dura mater damage
- Subarachnoid haemorrhage
- Thoracic organs and tissue damage
- Abdominal organs and tissue damage
- Damage to neck
- Damage to eyes
Spinal Injuries Caused By Acupuncture
Spinal cord injuries caused by broken acupuncture needles are extremely rare. However, should this happen during a treatment it could lead to a patient suffering from urinary retention. The damage would be found when an X-ray is taken showing where the needle had punctured through the spinal cord. The treatment to correct the damage would involve surgery.
In extremely rare cases, a patient undergoing an acupuncture treatment that is incorrectly carried out may suffer a punctured lung. The damage to a lung is due to an acupuncture needle being inserted too deeply into the body. The result is that an injured person may struggle to breathe and as such, they must be treated as a matter of urgency. Failure to receive the correct emergency treatment from a medical professional could have devastating consequences for a patient whose lung was punctured due to the negligence of an acupuncturist.
Negligent Acupuncture Causing Nerve Damage
Damage can be done to peripheral nerves should an acupuncturist be negligent when carrying out a treatment. There have been reports of peripheral motor nerve injuries that resulted in motor dysfunction.
The amounts provided in the table below are based on the Judicial College Guidelines which courts, solicitors and insurance providers use when calculating how much an injured party may receive in general damages. General damages are intended to compensate you for physical pain, psychological suffering and loss of amenity.
Injury - severity Compensation
Head - minor £2,070 to £11,980
Psychological damage - less severe £1,440 to £5,500
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - severe £56,180 to £94,470
PTSD - moderately Severe £21,730 to £56,180
PTSD - less Severe £3,710 to £7,680
Lung - serious £11,820 to £16,860
Collapsed lung £2,060 to £5,000
On top of the general damages, you may receive in a successful acupuncture negligence claim, you would also be awarded ‘special damages’. These are awarded to compensate you for any out of pocket expenses you incurred because of the injury.
For a more accurate idea on how much acupuncture negligence compensation you may be awarded, please get in touch with one of our advisers today.
As previously touched upon, you could also claim special damages when you make an acupuncture negligence claim for the harm you were caused during treatment. These are awarded to compensate you for all the expenses and other costs you paid out as a direct result of having been injured by a negligent practitioner. You could claim back the following provided you can support the expenditure with receipts and other relevant documentation:
- Travel costs
- Medical costs
- Care costs
- Loss of earnings and future income
- All other expenses related to the harm you were caused
For more advice and information on the sort of special damages you could include in an acupuncture negligence claim, please speak to one of our advisers today.
Once a solicitor has established you have a strong claim against a negligent acupuncturist, you would be offered No Win No Fee terms. In short, the solicitor would accept working on your claim without asking you for any advance or ongoing payments. Signing a No Win No Fee agreement means a solicitor would begin acting on your behalf straight away and you would only have to pay for their services once you are awarded acupuncture negligence compensation.
The amount payable to a No Win No Fee lawyer is referred to as a ‘success fee’, which is an agreed percentage set out in the contract you signed with them. It is deducted from the amount you are awarded.
Should you not win your claim against a negligent acupuncturist, the success fee would not be payable because you entered into the Conditional Fee Agreement with the solicitor who acted on your behalf.
To find out more about No Win No Fee Agreements and how we could arrange to represent you on this basis once we have determined your claim against a negligent acupuncturist is valid, please call a member of our claims team today.
There are various options available should you wish to pursue a negligence claim against an acupuncturist. You may choose to represent yourself. However, personal injury claims of this nature tend to be complex, especially when it comes to proving liability. Should the claim be disputed by the other party and their insurers, the challenge can prove even more daunting.
You may also choose to have a solicitor represent you who does not offer No Win No Fee terms. This would mean paying a retainer and ongoing fees as your case progresses and there may be no guarantee that you win your case against the negligent party.
Another option is to contact one of our advisers who would assess whether you have enough evidence of negligence on the part of an acupuncturist. Should this be the case, you would be offered No Win No Fee terms by one of our solicitors.
Other advantages we would offer when acting on your behalf include the following:
- We would arrange for an independent consultant/specialist to examine your injuries. The medical report they produce would be invaluable evidence when it comes to calculating the level of acupuncture negligence compensation you receive
- We would keep you up to date of everything as your claim progresses and would let you know at the earliest opportunity the level of compensation you may be awarded
- Should you require ongoing treatment, we would ensure the cost of this is included in your claim
- If your claim is complex and therefore a final settlement takes longer to reach, we would negotiate that you receive interim payments to avoid any financial hardship
To find out more about how we can be of assistance, please speak to a member of our team today.
If you feel you are ready to pursue an acupuncture negligence claim for the harm you were caused, you can contact a member of our team in the following ways:
We are here to take your call 24/7.
FAQs on acupuncture negligence injury claims
Can you claim for negligent acupuncture?
If you suffer avoidable injuries or an adverse effect caused by negligent acupuncture, you could be entitled to claim compensation. Negligence that could lead to a claim includes not using clean needles, failing to explain the risks or being treated by an untrained practitioner.
I signed a waiver, does that mean I can’t claim compensation?
A waiver or authorisation form does not prevent you from claiming for negligence. The waiver might explain the potential risks that come with your treatment but if the practitioner is negligent, and you suffer as a result, you could still be eligible to seek damages.
What are the time limits for claiming personal injury compensation?
Generally, you will have 3-years to claim from the date of your acupuncture. However, if your injuries weren’t immediately obvious, your 3-years will begin from your date of knowledge.
Is negligent acupuncture medical negligence?
Generally, problems caused by acupuncture won’t lead to a medical negligence claim. That’s because it is not regulated in the UK and therefore carried out by non-medical professionals. You could still make a personal injury claim for any suffering caused by negligence though.
If you would like to know more about how the NHS supports acupuncture treatments, please click on the link provided below:
For more information regarding personal injury claims, please follow the link below:
For more information about No Win No Fee Agreements if a case goes to court, please click on the link provided below:
For more information on acupuncture treatments supported by the NHS, please follow the link below:
If you would like more information on acupuncture advice offered by the World Health Organisation, please click on the link below:
Thanks for visiting today and learning about acupuncture negligence injury claims.
Guide by HW
Edited by REB