Cosmetic Surgery in the UK is poorly regulated. As the procedures are 98% privately funded, the issues of redress for those who have suffered either a very poor surgical outcome or who have otherwise suffered negligence are always through legal enforcement. The thinking here from the powers that be is that if you can afford the surgery, you can afford the lawyers...There are a great many solicitors out there offering no win no fee agreements, however, you will see our various pages many of these agreements have hidden clauses about irrecoverable costs and insurance premiums. Not us. We have a unique 20% deduction if you win and nothing more. If you lose, then nothing at all. Nobody out there that we know of offers a better deal.
Why Claim for Cosmetic Negligence
Some of the most popular cosmetic procedures include breast enlargement, liposuction, breast reduction, a tummy tuck, or face lifts. There are, for most people all sorts of reasons why you might choose to have cosmetic surgery. You may consider having a cosmetic procedure to improve a feature you’re unhappy with, or it could be that you simply want to look younger when the ageing process has made you feel less comfortable with your appearance. It doesn't matter what the reason is, you are entitled to the highest possible standards of surgical skill and surgical safety. You are also entitled to the best clinical advice available, which should include:
- what are the risks of surgery and recovery - what are the benefits?
- what can go wrong - what can be done to minimise that?
- is this right for me - are there alternatives that give similar results?
Cosmetic surgery can be very exciting, and it can bring a range of benefits by making you feel better about the way you look. For many men and women, it will be a life-changing moment. The trust that patients place in the hands of the cosmetic surgeon is one based on the utmost respect for the process and for the surgeon. However, there is no doubt, in some cases that trust is misplaced. Many of our clients are left with poor outcomes and woefully poor responses post surgery.
When things go wrong, a refund is not sufficient and the promise of corrective surgery is not really appropriate if the quality of surgery has been poor. The only way to ensure that you receive the best solution for your predicament is to hire a professional clinical lawyer who specialises in this area of work.
Will I Win My Cosmetic Negligence Case
Poor surgical outcomes can result even from the best surgical practice, in such circumstances the business models of the surgeons practice usually allow for some degree of refund (the good ones at least) however knowing that this is a poor but non negligent outcome and being able to determine that it is actually poor surgery is the issue. Most patients are simply not able to determine this for themselves, however, they have a nagging doubt that the outcome that they have is what was explained to them as potential "complications". Under these circumstances, again, it is best to seek external help.
In some cases of cosmetic negligence, the results can be horrifying with the entire surgery being little more than "botched surgery". Our Solicitors have brought actions against a great many cosmetic surgeons in the last 20 years and many of them are not actually specialist cosmetic or plastic surgeons at all, they are general surgeons performing plastic surgery and capitalising on the lack of good regulation in this sector.
Of course, there are also a great many surgeons who are perfectly skilled and the poor outcome can be a simple mistake or even the result of medical accident. Instruct a Law Med Solicitor and you will get a specialist medical claims lawyer who is a full member of the Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel. Act now and receive a full no obligation discussion and assessment about your situation - if you qualify you can benefit from a No Win No Fee agreement.
What will I actually claim for in a Cosmetic Claim?
Typically an action for Surgical Negligence (Cosmetic) will have the following elements:
Rectification Costs - This will include, revision surgery and rehabilitation, there is likely to be other damages associated with this including loss of earnings and expenses as well as care and nursing.
Pain Suffering and Loss of Amenity - this will be different in every claim but is likely to be enhanced by issues such as the individuals job, trade or profession effected, so a fashion model is likely to suffer a significant impact but a plumber maybe not so much. Pain is different in every case and so this is really a matter for expert evidence.
Psychiatric / Psychological Damage, these injuries often add more to the claim than the other heads of damage altogether. A persons appearance is linked to their mood and self image, a cosmetic injury may rob someone of their confidence or even change their personality altogether.
Expenses - losses associated with the surgery or the recovery from it.
Isn't bad surgery just a breach of contract?
Can I run my cosmetic surgery claim no win no fee?
Yes! In almost every clinical, cosmetic or plastic claim brought these days a no win no fee agreement is behind it At Law-Med, solicitors who are part of the law society specialist panel can access insurance that typically other solicitors cannot. That means that these claims can benefit from a low "uplift" - the amount that you pay out of your compensation if you win (typically 20%) and usually no insurance charges at all (they are included in that 20% uplift) which means that you will get a larger settlment than you would with a non panel member solicitor or a personal injury lawyer.
How much will I receive for my Claim?
The majority of Cosmetic Negligence actions are claims which settle for in excess of £20,000.00, in some cases the amount of damages (compensation) could be 10 to 30 times that! Everything depends on the degree of injury, the need for restorative surgery, any psychological damage and associated loss of earnings / expenses.
How long will it take?
To some extent that is out of the hands of the solicitor who handles your case. So much depends on how the defendant behaves. If they admit the negligence early and want to conclude the action then it could potentially be over inside of 6 months, however, a defended action either on liability or on the amount in dispute may stretch on for several years. Ultimately an average case duration of 12 - 18 months is typical but you should not rely on that being the case in every action.
Will I have to go to court
In most cases no, the tendency is for even disputed claims to go to mediation rather than court but largely the majority of claims settle. The important thing is to get the claim properly investigated and backed up with medical-legal evidence before it is brought before the defendant - this makes settlement more likely and usually much more rapid
The mistake however, that most Lawyers and Non-Lawyers make is to believe that the matter is one of breach of contract. The issue of breach of contract may well actually exist and in fact may well form part of the claim (in a well pleaded case), however, it is perhaps inappropriate to begin from this starting point. Badly performed surgery, is always an injury, and it is an injury for three very clear reasons. Firstly, you did not consent to being treated thus and therefore there is no legal authority for the damage caused, secondly you will have to undertake corrective surgery from a different cosmetic surgeon (and this is a intrusion), lastly, you may be left with scar tissue and / or other complications that cannot be reversed. Do not instruct any Solicitor in this type of action, unless you are confident that they understand these points.
Will i have to have revision surgery as part of my claim?
In short, no, whilst you are entitled to the costs of revision surgery and in fact other related losses such as future loss of earnings and expenses, you do not actually have to have them, the option is yours, you are entitled to that option. It is not after all, you fault that you face the prospect of revision surgery. Most clients however, do in the long term return to have corrective surgery undertaken, it takes away a large percentage of the problems associated with body image / self image and allows the psychological healing process to get underway, this is hard to envisage at the outset of a cosmetic surgery claim, however, it is the best possible way forward.
What are typical issues in plastic surgery
These actions cover the whole range of surgical and non surgical negligence. Typically though, the issues tend to revolve around the poor outcome associated with either poor aesthetic result or with surgically inferior technique. This can apply in all cases but in particular:
Liposuction and Abdominoplasty
These actions are typically only detectable post 3 - 6 months from surgery, they are initially masked from observation by the swelling and inflammation of the procedure. The violence of a abdominal surgical operation is often underestimated and the potential for significantly poor outcomes is high. In our collective experience the attempts by the original surgeons to correct the procedures often result in further harm. These often manifest as:
- necrotic fat lumps under the skin turning black.
- poor body contouring or contour deformity
- asymmetrical skin appearance
- orange peeling of the skin (underlying scarring)
- scarring above the vpl into the visible area.
- poor closing technique leaving unsightly scars.
- poor expectation management leading to over-surgery
Rhinoplasty and Blephoraplasty
Many operations for cosmetic enhancement or plastic reconstruction revolve around the nose and eyes. These are areas of common injury and they also highlight familial inherited traits. Over time and generations these inherited appearance traits often soften but in many cases, surgery is the preferred option. As they are areas of immediate and obvious inspection, the surgery here has to be very highly advanced. Often though, issues arise:
-nasal collapse (partial or full)
-saddle deformity or supra tip hollowing
-deviation of nose or tip of nose - leading to a "broken" appearance
- stretched appearance to eyelids
- difficulty in blinking / tearing
-susceptibility to infection
Brachioplasty and upper arm / shoulder surgery
An operation increasing in popularity is the brachioplasty where unsightly or poorly presented fat and loose muscle appears to hang off the arm like "batwings". The procedure tightens the area and allows for a cleaner younger look. Common issues are:
-loss of sensation and nerve injury
-loss of range of movement
-loss of fine motor control
Face Lifts and Mini Face Lifts.
A face lift is a relatively common cosmetic surgery procedure in which skin is lifted and pulled back in order to achieve a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles or fine lines. Our appearance to others begins with our face and therefore a strong impact on our self-confidence follows if there is any imperfection in our presentation. Lines and wrinkles, loss of skin elasticity and lack of muscle tone on the face affect us all as we get older. Face-lifts are meant to contend with that but regrettably there are problems;
-haematoma (blood under the skin)
-facial palsy / nerve damage
-weeping infections and poorly healed areas.
-asymetry of the results (lopsided face)
"You are a credit to your profession, I genuinely wanted you to know how much you have helped me through this horrible ordeal"
"I genuinely did not have the mental reserve to face revision surgery until after you helped me with this claim. I came to see that one poor plastic surgeons errors does not invalidate the whole lot of them"
"I have with the money you got me, started again, it has taken all of my courage. Thank you for your help and please thank your Doctor for his helpful guidance"
Which Solicitor do you recommend for cosmetic surgical negligence claims
The Consultant Solicitor Mr Balmforth began his medical negligence legal career with a clients claim for cosmetic negligence, this claim was for a then well known UK TV personality who had suffered horrendous injuries at the hands of a would be plastic surgeon. Investigation proved that the surgeon in question was not in fact a cosmetic specialist but a general surgeon working in the NHS undertaking minor surgery for hernia repair and occasional cyst removal. He had no specialist training or experience at all in more complex cosmetic surgery. That action resulted in disciplinary action and civil claim that settled for an amount that cannot be published.
Mr Balmforth has gone on to undertake specialist cosmetic and plastic surgery claims for many high profile people whose career means that they are in the public eye. He has recovered millions in compensation over the years and has made significant contacts in the wider plastic and cosmetic surgery industry. He has been consulted on forthcoming or proposed legislation and he has engaged in mediation and in other alternative dispute resolutions to bring about settlements in actions where there has been a high degree of potential publicity. He remains one of the most prominent specialist lawyers in the north of England for such work and whether it be cosmetic dentistry or procedures involving, augmentation of breast tissue etc. It is likely that he will have undertaken the sort of work you present to him before. Even if this is a case of "just checking your options" time spent in conversation is not wasted, Mr Balmforth is both a qualified Barrister and a Solicitor and Higher Courts Advocate as well as the Law Society of England and Wales Accredited Specialist Clinical Law Panel Member and he is also a qualified Medical Forensic Scientist. He can advise you on the likely duration of your claim, the value inherent within it and the difficulties you will have to get over.
Mr Balmforth also has experience in advising on the best routes for protecting your position publicly and if you have issues of reporting can invoke injunctions and Higher Court Orders to protect you from publication or press interference if this is appropriate for your position. If you are not a "celebrity" then you are no less important in terms of your claim and your damages. Call today to discuss or use the contact box, there is no charge for the contact at all and most of these actions are no win no fee with a straight 20% deduction from damages only if you win and no costs to you at all if you do not.