The Claims Process Explained
Many people we speak to who feel they are entitled to compensation following cosmetic surgery negligence are put off by what they perceive to be the long and complicated process they would have to go through before getting the compensation they deserve.
We can understand why that would be the case. However, we wanted to provide more information and transparency about the claims process to hopefully alleviate some of that concern for those considering making a claim.
What we must prove
Preparing a case often involves taking detailed statements and obtaining full copies of your medical records. To do this in a thorough manner may take some time to do.
However, this is all part of the process we follow to ensure that you have the best possible chance of success.
When you bring a claim for cosmetic surgery negligence, as the claimant it is required for you to prove two different points:
- That the surgeon failed to carry out their responsibilities - this is known as ‘fault’. Fault means that the care your surgeon gave you during your procedure was below standard for what could be expected of a reasonably competent and skilful specialist and that you were not treated in a way that you could reasonably have expected.
- That this fault by the surgeon has caused the suffering you’re now enduring. This is characterised as ‘avoidable harm’ or ‘causation’. ‘Avoidable harm’ simply means that it needs to be proved that the surgery caused you harm.
If we decide to pursue the case, the first thing we will do is apply for the patient’s clinical records.
We will then carry out an in-depth review of the records, to make sure we understand as much as possible about the circumstances surrounding the claim and give ourselves the best chance of success.
From there, we will then instruct an independent, specialist plastic surgeon to meet with the patient and prepare a report. This gives us the chance to get an impartial opinion from an industry professional who can ascertain the level of negligence suffered and provide insight into what went wrong.
If the surgeon’s report supports our case, we will consider getting a psychologist’s report to give us more information as to the psychological and emotional damage suffered by the victim.
It is at this point we will consider how much compensation we think the client is entitled to, and may then take steps to make an offer to the negligent surgeon.
We will also send a detailed Letter of Claim to the surgeon and their insurers.
Letters of Claim
A Letter of Claim - sometimes known as a Letter Before Claim or a Letter Before Action - gives official notice that court proceedings may be brought against the recipient.
The insurers of the doctor or clinic should get involved at this point. Once they have received the Letter of Claim, they have four months to respond. If the claim remains unresolved at the end of that four-month period, which is called the ‘protocol period’, then we will begin court proceedings.
What does the compensation include?
It is important to note that if there is a successful result, the financial outcome should include compensation for the difference your surgery has made to your quality of life, as well as the physical and emotional difficulties you have suffered.
In addition, we can help you recover any financial costs you have incurred including loss of income due to the consequences of the clinical negligence as well as surgery to correct the botched cosmetic procedure.