Plastic surgeons like every other medical professional have a sworn duty of care to their patients – which is to ensure that patients receive the best possible care and treatment. When their actions go against their professional obligation, resulting in bad cosmetic surgery results, causing you as a patient to suffer harm or complications that would otherwise have been avoided, then you have the legal provisions to sue the plastic surgeon.
What Is Plastic Surgery?
Plastic surgery is a form of surgery that involves the restoration, manipulation or reconstruction of the human body to change or enhance a person’s appearance and ability to function. Most forms of plastic surgery are done to repair some damage for example microsurgery, treatment of burns or craniofacial surgery.
What Is Cosmetic Surgery?
Cosmetic surgery is a type of reconstructive plastic surgery that is done to alter or manipulate the skin or body tissue to enhance or improve the body appearance. Cosmetic surgeries are mostly elective as the areas where the surgery is performed on function properly but are not aesthetically appealing to the individual. Examples include- Breast enlargement, Blepharoplasty (eyelid) surgery, Face Lift, Liposuction, Nose reshaping (rhinoplasty), Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty), etc.
In the UK, it is estimated that about £300 million is being spent every year on cosmetic surgery. In 2019, nearly 27,000 procedures took place with breast augmentation (6900) and breast reduction (4245) the greatest number of cosmetic procedures performed. About 92% of all cosmetic surgeries done in 2019 were performed on women and that number is expected to increase.
Risks Associated With Cosmetic Surgeries
Cosmetic surgeries come with its own degree of risk as is expected for every kind of surgical procedure. However, with the cosmetic surgery industry loosely regulated unlike other medical specialties, persons who elect to go for cosmetic surgeries are more at risk of sustaining harm and complications from cosmetic procedures even with surgeries performed by surgeons with inadequate expertise in the field.
Cosmetic surgery negligence refers to actions or inactions of a Plastic surgeon before, during or after a cosmetic procedure which directly causes avoidable harm, pain, trauma or further complications to the patient.
In other words, it includes all forms of substandard care and negligent treatment that falls below acceptable standards of medical practice leading to minor, moderate or severe damages to the patient.
Forms of Plastic Surgery Negligence Include:
- Failure of the plastic surgeon to warn you or inform you about the risks of the elected procedure
- Using a faulty, damaged or inferior implant during your procedure.
- Post-operative negligence leading to development of infections
- Surgery performed by an unskilled or inexperience plastic /cosmetic surgeon
- Surgeon failing to observe or diagnose existing medical conditions that puts the individual at higher risk of complications
- Failure of the surgeons to dissuade a patient from having an elective surgery because of an underlying health condition
- Incorrect use of cosmetic surgery drugs like Botox
Negligence of a plastic surgeon could lead to various cosmetic surgery complications which can be very devastating and traumatizing physically and emotionally for the patient. Bad cosmetic surgery results may be due to surgeon negligence either before the surgery, during the surgery or during the period of post-operative care.
Negligent Treatment During Cosmetic Surgeries Can Result To;
- Avoidable damage to nerves, blood vessels or other internal organs.
- Adverse reactions to the materials implanted during the surgery
- Poor surgery results such as a lack of symmetry or misshaping.
- Retention of surgical instruments.
- Avoidable and severe scarring.
- Perforated bowel
- Surgical room Infections
Some victims of cosmetic surgery negligence may need further surgeries to correct the adverse impacts of the initial failed or botched procedure but some may have to leave with these effects as some are permanent and irreversible while some are actually fatal.
You are legally entitled to make cosmetic surgery claims if your cosmetic surgery goes wrong causing you to suffer physical, psychological and financial damages.
Proving A Claim For Plastic Surgery Gone Wrong
Proving a claim for cosmetic surgery negligence can be difficult if the case is not handled expertly by competent medical negligence solicitors or if the evidence provided wasn’t strong enough to corroborate the claims made.
Therefore, it is important to establish that Surgeon negligence is the direct cause of the harm, trauma or complications suffered and not any fault of yours, neither caused by any underlying medical condition.
This means that the four parts of negligence has to be proven which are-
- Duty (that the plastic surgeon owed you a duty of care)
- Deviation (that the plastic surgeon breached that duty of care)
- Direct causation (that such breach of duty directly caused you injury or complications)
- Damages (that you suffered further damages, financial losses and other severe impacts as a result of the injury)
What Do I Need To Do To Prove My Claim?
Certain documents will be required of you to prove your claims. These are the evidence that will help strengthen your claims. These include;
- A detailed account of events as they happened (which will include dates of medical appointments, type of cosmetic procedure was done, the surgeon who performed it, why you think it was performed poorly, injuries or complications sustained)
- Medical reports
- Witness statements (if any)
- Evidence of financial losses incurred (your past, current and estimated future loss will be taken into account)
- Images and pictures of damage done
Challenges of Winning a Cosmetic Surgery Negligence Lawsuit Against A Plastic Surgeon
Persons who undergo a cosmetic surgery may not really be happy with the outcome of the surgery but this does not necessarily mean that the surgeon was negligent. This must be noted before making claims.
While you can sue a plastic surgeon for malpractice, cosmetic surgery claims are dicier and sometimes more difficult because a cosmetic surgery is mostly elective and not actually necessary.
Therefore, the jurors tend to believe that you did not need the surgery and since it is elective, you shouldn’t be so forward to put the blame on the surgeon as the patient had chosen to put him or herself in a risky position to improve his or her physical appearance. The jurors therefore give the surgeon a benefit of doubt and may swing the judgment in favor of the cosmetic surgeon.
Juries also most often lower the compensation fees awarded for successful cosmetic surgery claims when compared to other essential or unavoidable medical procedures.
Another challenge of winning a cosmetic surgery negligence case is that the jurors feel that the claimant is also at fault for choosing a poor surgeon to perform the surgery. In other cases, the jurors may give biased judgement in an attempt to punish the claimant for electing to undergo an unnecessary surgery while others feel that the plaintiff is wealthy and wasted funds that could have gone to charity.
In the light of the above, it is very important for the plaintiff to be aware of these and be adequately prepared while making a claim.
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The Process Of Making A Claim Against A Plastic Surgeon
In order to sue a plastic surgeon for plastic surgery gone wrong, you will require the services of a Specialist Cosmetic Surgery negligence claims solicitor who will give you the needed advice to make a claim.
The process involved in making a cosmetic surgery claim is outlined below;
- Contact us– We will assign to you a personal cosmetic claims lawyer who will listen to you, evaluate the information presented and determine if you have a valid claim. Our consultation services are for free.
- Fund your claim– This is necessary to make important investigations and access relevant documents. Our lawyers will let you know of the different funding types available and help you make a decision on which funding type is most suitable for your claim.
- Gather Facts and Evidence– We will assist you access relevant documents and information to substantiate your claims.
- Prove your claim- A “letter of claim” will be sent to the Surgeon’s defense party with the aim of getting them to accept liability. The case is also registered in court so that if we are both unable to reach an agreement, the case will be decided by a judge.
- Negotiations and Payment of Settlement Fee- When the defendant party accepts liability, we will negotiate and agree on a compensation fee and how it will be paid.
Cosmetic Medical Negligence Payouts UK
Payouts for cosmetic negligence claims can range from £1,000 to several hundreds of thousands of pounds. They are not fixed; this is because the circumstances surrounding two medical negligence claims are hardly the same.
According to the NHS LA, the average amount of compensation fee for medical negligence in the UK is £50,000.
However, our Medical Negligence Solicitors will give you an idea of what you can receive in settlement using the medical negligence claims calculator.
The following factors will determine your settlement amount.
- The type of injury suffered
- Severity of the injury
- Site of injury
- Financial losses
- Prognosis for the future (possibility of full recovery or not)
- Cost of further medical treatment or corrective surgeries
- Cost of Rehabilitation
No Win No Fee Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors
We offer our cosmetic surgery claims under a No Win No Fee Agreement which allows you to make claims at no financial risks to you.
You will not pay us a penny for our work for you and even if the case is unsuccessful, you are not required to make any payment. The only fee you will need to pay is the success fee which is calculated as 25% of the total compensation award. This will be deducted and the rest of the compensation fee will be paid to you.
How Hard Is It To Sue A Plastic Surgeon?
It is not difficult to sue a plastic surgeon for acts of negligence; however, the real challenge may lie with being able to prove that the plastic surgeon is guilty. This is because of the elective nature of cosmetic surgeries and the challenge that juries may be biased since the patient chose the surgeon and as such should bear some of the blame.
How Long Do You Have To Sue A Plastic Surgeon?
As a general rule guiding medical negligence claims, you have 3 years to make a claim. This is the same with suing a plastic surgeon. You can sue the plastic surgeon for negligence within three years from the date of negligence or when you became aware of it.
If the individual is dead, the three-year time frame will begin from the date of death.
What Can You Sue A Plastic Surgeon For?
You can sue a plastic surgeon for negligent treatment or substandard care you received before, during or after your surgery during post-operative care. Such acts of negligence for which you can sue a surgeon include- failure to warn you of risks associated with the procedure, using a faulty implant, poor care after surgery leading to development of infections.
What Do You Do If You Are Unhappy With Plastic Surgery?
If you are unhappy with the outcome of the Plastic surgery, you can express your concerns to your Surgeon and make complaints. However, this will not necessarily lead to a compensation.
Therefore, to make a claim if you are unhappy about the results of your surgery, reach out to your medical negligence lawyer who will give you proper legal advice on what you need to know and how to make a claim.
Can You Sue For Botched Surgery?
Of course, you can sue for botched surgery. Medical practitioners are obligated to give quality care to their patients. If you elect to undergo a cosmetic surgery and it turns out bad as a result of surgeon negligence, you can sue the surgeon and make a cosmetic negligence claim.