An ever-increasing number of people are pursuing cosmetic medical or surgical procedures. While it is generally the case that most people undergo these procedures free of any complications, there is a small percentage of cases where the standard of service delivered by the medical or surgical professional falls short of what would be expected. This can have significant consequences, and it is in these cases that there may be a case to answer for cosmetic negligence.
At Simon Holt, we have developed a specialist practice in advising on complex claims for cosmetic negligence. Our team of solicitors have developed particular expertise in the law that applies in this field and are acutely aware of the consequences facing those who have suffered cosmetic negligence. If you would like to speak to one of our team about your case, please contact us and find out if you can make a claim.
What is cosmetic negligence?
Cosmetic procedures that are provided by a medical professional, i.e. a doctor, dentist or a surgeon, are medical procedures. As such, the provider of the service is bound to uphold a certain standard in delivering the procedure. Surgeons and doctors are highly trained technicians and most will perform a cosmetic procedure to the standard expected of them. However, there are certain situations where an aspect of their practice falls short of what would reasonably be expected of a clinician in their position. This is ‘cosmetic negligence’.
It is important to understand that there are many aspects of cosmetic medical or surgical practice, and that only certain of these could be deemed to be negligent. Cosmetic medicine or surgery is not generally deemed to be an exact science. As with most medical or surgical procedures, there will always be an element of risk. If you have suffered scarring, an infection from an incision or injection, or are even dissatisfied with the result of a procedure, this will not necessarily equate to negligence.
However, if some aspect of a procedure was not brought to your attention, e.g. you had not been advised of the likely side effects you would have to endure, or the procedure was not administered according to accepted professional standards, or a defective product had been used, then there is a likelihood that you may have a claim for cosmetic negligence.
What needs to be proved in cosmetic negligence claims?
In the case of claims of cosmetic negligence against a doctor or surgeon, you will need to be able to satisfy certain legal tests:
- The first arm of the legal test for cosmetic negligence is to establish that your clinician owed you a duty of care and that this was breached. In other words, as is true of all clinicians, they are obliged not to do anything that could cause their patients to suffer avoidable harm. If they are shown to have done something (or failed to do something) in performing a procedure on you, and something they did (or didn't do) caused you avoidable harm, then you will have satisfied the first step of proving cosmetic negligence.
- The second, and more complex, aspect of the test is proving causation. This involves being able to identify a link between your clinician’s actions and the harm you suffered. This can be particularly difficult in the sphere of cosmetic medical or surgical practice. This is where a court, in deciding on the merits of your claim, will draw on the accepted knowledge and practice in the field to determine whether your clinician acted, or failed to a act, in a way that caused you to suffer injury.
How much compensation for a clinical negligence claim?
The amount awarded following a successful claim for cosmetic negligence will largely depend on the particular circumstances. The fact of the matter is that, owing to its nature, a poorly performed medical or surgical cosmetic procedure can have significant consequences for people: systemic pain; deep scarring to their tissue; or debilitating psychological suffering. The law recognises this and grants claimants the right to claim a level of financial compensation in order to offset the gravity of the harm and loss that they have suffered.
While a large part of any award will fall to be determined on the exact circumstances, there is a body of information that has been amassed to assist the courts in deciding on the levels of compensation that can be awarded in certain cases. This information, set out in the ‘Judicial College Guidelines for the Assessment of Damages in Personal Injury cases’, attaches different monetary sums to varying kinds of injuries, and is used as a guide when determining the exact level of compensation that, among other things, a successful claim of cosmetic negligence can attract:
- Scarring tends to be a common consequence of a poorly performed cosmetic procedure. The level of compensation available will depend on the severity: superficial scars can attract between £1,800 and £5,950 in compensation; while in cases where there are visible lacerations amounting to a level of disfigurement, compensation can reach up to £17,275;
- Disfigurement is also a major risk in terms of poorly performed cosmetic procedures. As with scarring, the compensation will depend on the gravity of disfigurement, and also on whether or not you are a male or female: severe cases in females that causes a significant amount of psychological damage may attract up to £74,000 in compensation, while male cases have been known to attract in the region of £50,000. Less severe cases will warrant a reduction in compensation, especially where there is scope for correction with follow up procedures.
Who can help me understand if I am entitled to compensation?
The law governing cosmetic negligence is arguably one of the most complex, making the prospect of attempting to raise a claim for cosmetic negligence seem daunting. But an experienced cosmetic negligence legal team, familiar with the process involved, will be able to build a strong case on your behalf and ensure you secure the maximum level of compensation you’re entitled to.
At Simon Holt, we have developed a niche practice in cosmetic negligence. We are often involved in assisting and supporting clients who have suffered significant injuries as a result of poorly performed procedures. We have a successful history of securing the level of compensation that is appropriate and take a comprehensive approach to our clients’ cases: your situation will be reviewed by our specialist cosmetic negligence solicitors, and by experienced medical professionals in order to determine the credibility of any claim; we will present a well evidenced claim to the courts on your behalf; and represent your interests in any negotiations or litigation that becomes necessary.
No Win No Fee Cosmetic Negligence Injury Solicitors Preston, Manchester, Cambridge & London
At Simon Holt, we understand that if you have suffered cosmetic negligence, you need an advisor who understands your concerns and can help you hold those responsible for your injury to account. Our experience and knowledge of cosmetic negligence law means that we are well placed to do precisely that. Contact us today by calling 0800387815 to learn how we can help you. You can also fill out our online cosmetic negligence claims form.