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Steps to Claim Compensation for Cosmetic Surgery Gone Wrong

Undergoing cosmetic surgery often carries hopes of positive change, but when things go wrong, it can be deeply distressing. If your cosmetic procedure didn't meet the expected standards due to negligence, you have the right to claim compensation. This guide outlines the steps to understand this process, providing clarity and support as you seek the justice and resolution you deserve.

Understanding cosmetic surgery negligence

When cosmetic surgery leads to unexpected and negative results, it's essential to differentiate between dissatisfaction and negligence. Cosmetic surgery negligence occurs when the care provided by medical professionals falls below the accepted standards, leading to harm or injury.

Defining negligence in cosmetic procedures

Negligence in cosmetic procedures might manifest in various forms, including but not limited to:

  • Poor surgical performance: this includes mistakes during the surgery itself or failing to provide adequate post-operative care.

  • Insufficient pre-operative advice: failing to inform patients about the risks involved or not ensuring they understand the potential outcomes.

  • Inadequate follow-up care: lack of proper aftercare can lead to complications, infections, or delayed recovery.

Distinguishing dissatisfaction from negligence

Cosmetic surgery, like any medical procedure, cannot guarantee perfect results. Negligence is specifically concerned with substandard care that no competent medical professional would reasonably provide.

Common examples of negligent cosmetic surgery

Some common instances that might constitute negligent cosmetic surgery include:

  • Inappropriate procedure performed.

  • Excessive or inappropriate scarring.

  • Asymmetry or disfigurement.

  • Nerve damage.

Initial steps post-negligent cosmetic surgery

If you suspect that your cosmetic surgery experience might be a case of negligence, take quick action. These initial steps can ensure your health and safety and strengthen your position should you decide to make a claim for compensation.

1. Seek immediate medical attention

Prioritise your health above all. If you're experiencing severe symptoms or complications after your cosmetic procedure, seek medical attention immediately. This is important not only for your well-being but also for documenting your condition as a result of the plastic surgery itself.

2. Document the issues

Once your immediate health concerns are addressed, start documenting the issues you’re experiencing. This can include:

  • Taking clear, dated photographs of any visible complications, such as infections, scarring, or other physical signs.

  • Writing down a detailed account of your experience, symptoms, and any communication with healthcare professionals.

  • Keeping a diary of your recovery process, noting any pain, discomfort, or emotional distress.

3. Keep records of expenses and communications

Collect and organise any documents related to your cosmetic procedure and the aftermath. This includes:

  • Medical records and bills.

  • Receipts for any additional treatments or medications required due to the complications.

  • Correspondence with the clinic or healthcare professionals involved in your cosmetic surgery.

  • Travel expenses and any other costs incurred due to the negligent treatment.

Consulting with a specialist solicitor

Seeking the expertise of a solicitor who specialises in cosmetic surgery claims is a pivotal step in your journey towards securing compensation. These professionals understand the intricacies of medical negligence law and can provide the guidance and support necessary to navigate this complex area.

1. Choosing the right solicitor

Select a solicitor or a law firm with a proven track record in handling cosmetic surgery claims. Their experience and understanding of the medical aspects, coupled with their legal expertise, are invaluable. A specialist solicitor will:

  • Evaluate the details of your case with precision.

  • Provide a realistic assessment of the potential outcomes.

  • Guide you through the legal process, ensuring you understand each step.

2. Initial consultation

During your initial consultation, your solicitor will:

  • Discuss the specifics of your case, reviewing the documentation and evidence you've gathered.

  • Advise on the strengths and weaknesses of your claim.

  • Explain the legal process, including timelines, procedures, and what to expect moving forward.

This consultation is an opportunity for you to assess the solicitor's approach and decide if they are the right fit for you.

3. Guiding you through the cosmetic surgery claims process

A specialist solicitor will meticulously handle each aspect of your claim. Their role involves:

  • Gathering additional evidence, possibly including expert medical opinions to support your claim.

  • Corresponding with the other party or their insurance company.

  • Negotiating a settlement or representing you in court if necessary.

Gathering evidence for your claim

Building a strong foundation for your cosmetic surgery claim hinges on gathering comprehensive and compelling evidence. This evidence not only substantiates your claim but also quantifies the extent of your physical, emotional, and financial damages. Here’s how to approach this critical step:

1. Medical records and reports

Your medical records are paramount in illustrating the before and after state of your health and appearance. This includes:

  • Detailed records of your initial cosmetic surgery.

  • Post-operative notes, especially if they indicate complications or deviations from the expected outcome.

  • Records of any subsequent treatments or consultations related to the complications of the initial procedure.

2. Expert medical opinions

An independent medical assessment by a separate cosmetic surgeon might be necessary to provide an expert opinion on your condition. A medical expert in the field of cosmetic surgery can:

  • Verify whether the standard of care you received was below what is reasonably expected.

  • Provide insights into how the negligence has impacted your health and life.

  • Offer prognostic information, detailing any long-term effects and future care needs.

3. Photographic evidence

Photographs serve as a powerful visual record of the issues you’ve experienced. Ensure that:

  • Photos are dated and taken over time to show the progression or lack of improvement in your condition.

  • You capture different angles and lighting conditions to provide a comprehensive view of the complications.

4. Documentation of financial losses and additional costs

Negligent cosmetic surgery can result in various additional expenses. Keep a detailed record of:

  • Further medical treatments, medications, or therapies.

  • Travel costs to and from medical appointments.

  • Lost income if you’ve been unable to work due to your condition.

  • Any other costs directly related to the issues you’ve experienced.

5. Personal diary or journal

Maintaining a diary can provide a narrative and chronological account of your experience. This might include:

  • Daily entries detailing physical pain, emotional distress, and the impact on your daily life

  • Notes on conversations with healthcare providers, your solicitor, and how the condition affects your relationships and quality of life

Understanding the cosmetic surgery claims process

Navigating the cosmetic surgery claims process can be complex, but understanding each step can demystify the journey and set clear expectations. Here's an overview of the typical stages involved in pursuing a claim for cosmetic surgery negligence:

1. Initial consultation and case review

The process begins with an in-depth consultation with your solicitor, where you'll discuss the details of your case. Your solicitor will review the evidence, assess the viability of your claim, and advise you on the best course of action.

2. Gathering and reviewing evidence

As discussed in the previous section, gathering comprehensive evidence is key. Your solicitor will review this evidence, possibly consult with medical experts, and prepare a case that clearly demonstrates negligence and its impact on your life.

3. Issuing the claim

Once your solicitor has compiled all necessary documentation and evidence, they will formally issue a claim against the practitioner or clinic responsible for the negligent cosmetic surgery. This involves preparing legal documents that outline the details of your claim and the compensation you're seeking.

4. Response from the defendant

After the claim is issued, the defendant (the practitioner or clinic) will have a period to respond. They might accept liability and offer a settlement, or they could dispute the claim, in which case your solicitor will prepare for the next steps.

5. Negotiations and settlement

Many cosmetic surgery claims are settled before reaching court. Your solicitor will negotiate with the defendant or their insurance company to reach a fair settlement that adequately covers your damages and losses.

6. Court proceedings (if necessary)

If a settlement cannot be reached, your claim may proceed to court. Your solicitor will represent you, presenting the evidence and arguing your case before a judge. While court proceedings can be longer and more complex, your solicitor will guide you through every step, ensuring you're well-prepared and represented.

7. Resolution and compensation

The final step is the resolution of your claim, whether through a settlement agreement or a court verdict. Once resolved, you'll receive the agreed-upon compensation, which should reflect the physical, emotional, and financial impact the negligent cosmetic surgery has had on your life.

Calculating compensation and reaching resolution

Understanding how compensation is calculated and the process of reaching a resolution is crucial in setting realistic expectations for your cosmetic surgery claim.

Calculating cosmetic surgery compensation

The compensation you receive aims to cover the full extent of the physical, emotional, and financial impact of the negligent cosmetic surgery. It generally falls into two categories:

  1. General damages: this covers the pain, suffering, and loss of amenity resulting from the negligence. It accounts for the physical pain and emotional distress you've experienced, as well as the impact on your quality of life.

  2. Special damages: this compensates for any financial losses incurred as a result of the negligence. It includes medical expenses for corrective treatment, lost earnings, travel costs to medical appointments, and any other related expenses.

Your solicitor will work with you to ensure every aspect of your claim is quantified, including future losses or care needs if your injury has long-term implications.

Reaching a resolution

The journey to resolution varies based on the complexity of your case and the defendant's response. Here's what you can generally expect:

  • Negotiation: most cases are settled through negotiation, where your solicitor and the defendant's representatives discuss the claim and agree on a fair compensation amount. Your solicitor's expertise is crucial here, ensuring that the settlement reflects the full extent of your damages.

  • Court Proceedings: if a settlement cannot be reached, your case may go to court. Although this is less common, it's a structured process where both sides present their evidence, and a judge makes a final decision on the compensation amount.

  • Receiving Compensation: once a settlement is agreed upon, or a court verdict is reached, the compensation is usually paid in a lump sum. Your solicitor will ensure that the process is finalised smoothly and that you receive the full amount you're entitled to.

Throughout the negotiation or court process, your solicitor will be your advocate, striving to achieve the best possible outcome for you. Their expertise not only in law but in understanding the nuances of cosmetic surgery negligence is invaluable in bringing your case to a successful conclusion. The final resolution should provide a sense of closure and aid in your recovery and rehabilitation from the ordeal of negligent cosmetic surgery.

Contact us

Our expert team of specialists have dealt with all kinds of cosmetic surgery negligence claims and have successfully claimed compensation for a wide variety of cases including breast surgery, facelift, nose jobs, dental surgery, liposuction, dermal fillers and more.

Only once starting the claims process can we begin working on your behalf. To find out if you have a claim for compensation, call us on 0808 256 1267 or complete our online enquiry form to request a call back.

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Mike Saul


Michael Saul is a partner at Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors, where he brings his extensive specialist legal expertise and passion for helping people to the forefront of his work. With a proven track record of success in cosmetic surgery negligence cases, Michael has dedicated his career to providing clients with the highest level of representation and achieving favourable outcomes.

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