Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery Negligence Claims.
Cosmetic and plastic surgery is a booming industry, with a global market that’s expected to reach nearly US$44 billion by 2025. Fueled in part by the growth of influencers and cosmetic surgeons marketing their services through social media, the number of cosmetic and plastic surgeons has risen significantly in recent years.
But with the growth in demand for cosmetic surgery come the problems of lack of regulation and the rise of inexperienced, unqualified, and even unlicensed surgeons and practitioners. More and more people are undergoing procedures in private clinics and incidences of surgeries going wrong have become all too common. Botched surgeries, infections, nerve damage, blood clots, scarring and complications from anaesthesia are all potential complications from plastic and cosmetic surgery.
But no matter where a patient has had their procedure, they’re still owed a duty of care. And when that duty is breached and the patient is harmed, cosmetic surgery negligence compensation may be available.
In this article we explain everything you need to know about cosmetic surgery negligence, your rights if you’ve suffered from negligence, and how to claim cosmetic surgery compensation.
What is cosmetic/plastic surgery negligence?
Whether your surgical procedure was performed by a plastic surgeon or a cosmetic surgeon, your surgeon is expected to exercise a standard of reasonable skill and care equivalent to a competent peer professional who is experienced in performing that procedure. If they fail in that duty, and you suffer injury or loss that could have been avoided if your care had been appropriate, this is referred to as cosmetic/ plastic surgery negligence.
What’s the difference between cosmetic & plastic surgeons?
Plastic surgeons generally carry out procedures to restore the appearance and function of tissue and skin, so that it’s as close as possible to normal. Reconstructive surgery is performed by plastic surgeons.
Cosmetic surgeons generally carry out procedures to change a person’s appearance based on a look they’re trying to achieve. A key difference with cosmetic surgeons is that although they’re referred to as surgeons, they don’t have the specialist training in surgery that plastic surgeons are required to undertake to become qualified.
Are cosmetic surgeons held to the same regulations as other surgeons?
Currently anyone with a basic medical degree is able to call themselves a cosmetic surgeon in Australia.
Specialist plastic surgeons, having completed medical school, undertake at least a further eight years of training, five of which constitute the formal plastic surgery training program which includes a large component of cosmetic surgery experience, to qualify as a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS).
But regardless of the surgeon’s qualifications, the patient is still owed the same duty of care. And when that duty is breached, the surgeon can be held to account, and it can result in a cosmetic surgery compensation claim.
How common are cosmetic / plastic surgery negligence cases in Australia?
With the rise in cosmetic surgeons, and the high volume of procedures being performed, inevitably cosmetic surgery negligence claims have become much more common. Also, procedures are sometimes performed in doctors’ offices, some of which may have higher incidents of complications requiring emergency department visits, hospital admissions, or re-operation compared to specialist surgical facilities, or doctors’ offices and clinics that are better equipped.
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What are the most common types of cosmetic surgery claims?
Here are some examples of cosmetic surgery negligence claims:
- Reconstructive facial surgery and graft claims
- Dermal filler negligence
- Face lift compensation
- Breast surgery negligence
- Rhinoplasty / nose job compensation
- Tummy tuck compensation
- Liposuction compensation
- Labiaplasty and vaginal rejuvenation procedure claims
- Otoplasty procedure claims
How much can I claim for cosmetic surgery negligence?
Cosmetic surgery compensation payouts range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Depending on the severity of your injuries, the total compensation amount can include:
- Lost income – the amount of income you’ve lost through time off work.
- Medical expenses – resulting from your injuries or the need for reoperation.
- Travel expenses – to and from medical appointments and treatment.
- Domestic assistance – the cost of getting help with home duties.
- Pain and suffering – an amount to compensate you for your pain and suffering, based on the extent of your injuries.
- Future losses – for example, your future earnings that you will miss out on as a result of your injuries.
Here are four situations that can lead to cosmetic negligence claims:
- You discover your surgeon or cosmetic professional was inexperienced, unqualified, or even unlicensed.
- You suffered unreasonable damage such as scarring or sagging skin.
- Your medication was incorrectly administered.
- You weren’t warned of any side effects that you suffered.
How to claim compensation for negligent or ‘botched’ cosmetic surgery.
Cosmetic surgery compensation claims can be complex, so it’s important to get good advice and engage the services of a specialist cosmetic surgery lawyer. Your lawyer will engage one or more medical experts who have experience in cosmetic surgery errors to carry out assessments, review your medical records and provide a report detailing how your treatment was negligent.
At Law Partners, we have a team of specialist medical negligence lawyers, and we understand how stressful it can be when cosmetic surgery goes wrong. We can manage your claim for you on a no win no fee basis, which means we’ll cover all the medical experts’ costs to put together a strong case for you.
If your negligence claim is denied by the insurer, we’ll commence proceedings to take the matter to mediation. It’s at this stage that most claims are resolved and a settlement (i.e. a medical negligence payout to you) is agreed upon. In the minority of cases where a settlement isn’t reached, we’ll advise you about taking your claim to court to pursue compensation.
We win over 99% of our cases, and you won’t have to pay anything until we win your case, and you receive your compensation.