Surgical Negligence Claims
Surgery is the area of medicine that carries the highest risk. Surgeons and their teams shoulder an enormous amount of responsibility – your life is literally in their hands. They must take all appropriate actions to manage the danger surgery poses to your health and, in most instances, they do this successfully.
Surgical negligence happens when these risks are not adequately controlled, and mistakes result.
Surgical negligence can refer to any operation, be this essential or elective, while you are under the care of a private doctor or having treatment through the NHS. Sometimes a surgery does not go to plan, or the outcome is not what was expected. It is important to differentiate between negligence cases, which could have been avoided with an adequate standard of care, and those that could not reasonably have been foreseen.
Examples of surgical negligence can include:
- Inadequate patient assessment to determine their suitability for surgery.
- Unnecessary surgery.
- Failing to inform the patient fully of associated risks and benefits to obtain informed consent.
- Operating on the wrong part of the body.
- Anaesthetic negligence.
- Leaving foreign objects inside a patient.
- Inadequate postoperative care, including failing to identify and treat an infection.
- Surgical delays.
Failing to disclose to the patient all known potential outcomes of an operation and to obtain their informed consent.
You may be able to claim compensation for medical negligence if you:
- Received a new injury as the result of the surgery or your condition worsened.
- Underwent unnecessary surgery, potentially losing income due to having to take extra time off work.
- Contracted a post-surgical infection that was not treated correctly and which extended your recovery time.
- Were not informed of the potential risks and benefits of your surgery, or alternative treatments and their risks and benefits.
A typical example of a successful compensation claim for surgical negligence involved a patient left who underwent a full and unnecessary mastectomy and breast reconstruction at the advice of a breast surgeon who did not wait for the results of pathology tests which showed the surgery was not required.
Another example relates to a man who had a suspicious mole removed. Analysis revealed pre-cancerous cells, so he went back to have the scar and further skin around the scar removed to ensure all suspect tissue had disappeared. Unfortunately for the patient, the dermatologist removed the wrong scar, taking the remains of an older, virtually unnoticeable blemish instead of taking the biopsy scar, and the patient was left with unnecessary disfigurement. His claim for compensation was initially rejected by the health board who said that the injury already existed. The claim went to court where a judge ruled the dermatologist was responsible for the error, and awarded compensation in recognition of the impact the larger facial scar has had on the patient’s life and how it has adversely affected his self-confidence.
A common area for surgical negligence is in the abdominal area. Due to the close contact with multiple organs, abdominal negligence claims, unfortunately, can happen.
How Can We Help?
The Medical Negligence Experts work with compensation claims every day but we understand that it can be confusing to someone who has never gone through the process before, particularly if you have no legal or medical background. Your solicitor will do their best to simplify the process, supporting and guiding you as they gather the necessary evidence to demonstrate that your care was negligent and you suffered injury as a result.
We will give you a free, no obligation consultation to answer any questions you have about your injury and whether you may be entitled to claim compensation. To make it easy for you to get started, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions we receive from people considering an application. If your question isn’t answered here or if you want more information on making a medical negligence compensation claim, simply get in touch, and one of our legal experts will be able to advise you.
How much compensation will I receive?
The value of damages you will receive will vary depending on the nature of your injury and the impact this has on your life. The Judicial College Guidelines give an indication of how much your claim may be worth, and your solicitor can give you more accurate information once they have investigated your claim.
Compensation is made up of two payments: General and Special Damages. General Damages relate to your injury and recognise the pain and suffering you have experienced. Significant scarring from an unnecessary operation may be worth up to £5,800 in compensation, while failed sterilisation may involve a payment of up to £7,700 and moderate brain damage could see a payment of between £32,700 and £166,500.
Special Damages are the repayment of any expense you have had because of your injury. It can include expenses travelling costs to get to hospital appointments, lost wages due to you having to take extra time off to recover and private rehabilitative treatment. Special Damages can also factor in the loss of future earnings if your injury has left you unable to work in the same capacity and the loss of income for your spouse or a family member who has had to stop work to become your carer. If you are unsure about whether you may be able to request repayment of a particular cost, check with your solicitor.
Need some help?
Am I eligible?
If you have suffered from surgical negligence in the past three years, the short answer is yes.
However, medical negligence can be complicated, so we recommend that you speak with one of our expert solicitors - It’s Free.
How much could I claim?
As every case is different, the amount of compensation paid out can differ. Varying factors lead to the final figure include: the level of negligence, the amount of
lost earnings you have suffered, expected future losses and more.
Our experienced team of experts will give you an indication of how much you could potentially claim.
How does the process work?
We understand that, when making a claim, it’s important to know what to expect and when to expect it.
That’s why we make the process as transparent as possible.
Your solicitor will gather all the evidence and will notify the negligent party of your claim. With your dedicated solicitor negotiating on your behalf, you will be kept up to date every step of the way.
Why should you choose us?
No Win, No Fee
We offer a No Win, No Fee* service on all our claims - each claim is assessed on its merits with the information provided, which aids us to determine its likely success rate. This takes the risk away from you.
Expert, Friendly Solicitors
The solicitors we work with are experts in securing compensation no matter the level of negligence.
We are committed to securing the best possible outcome for you, while providing friendly support every step of the way.
Personal Dedicated Lawyers
On contact, you will be allocated your own specialist solicitor, who will be there every step of the way.
You will be provided with a direct phone number and direct email address of your solicitor.
Expert surgical negligence solicitors working for you
We specialise in helping victims of surgical negligence claim the compensation they deserve.
The law firms we work with operate on a No Win No Fee basis, meaning if they don’t win your case, you don’t pay! Once you make contact, your experienced solicitor will work to recover the maximum compensation you are entitled to.
Whether you are ready to make a claim, or you would just like a free conversation with a legal professional, we have experts on hand to give you all the information you need.
Take the first step to getting what you deserve by filling in our quick contact form and we will call you back whenever suits you.
Your surgery did not have the results you expected but does that mean you can claim compensation? It’s one of the first questions we hear, and sometimes we need to investigate your particular circumstances before we can give you a good reply. For your claim to be valid, you need to have both damages (that is, have been injured or adversely affected by your surgery) and causation (it needs to have resulted directly from an avoidable mistake). Not all surgeries go according to plan. There are many variables that can affect the outcome, and not all of these can reasonably be foreseen to be avoided. You may be entitled to ask for compensation if: - Your surgery left you in a worse condition than you were in before it; and - You believe this could have been avoided; and - You can prove both of the above
You may think that claiming compensation is as easy as writing a letter then sitting back and waiting for a cheque. It isn’t. Although we do our best to make the process easy and stress-free for you, your legal team needs to compile a body of evidence that proves your right to be paid damages. This proof can include obtaining your medical records and the findings from any NHS complaint investigation to securing credible witness statements and independent medical reports. When you confirm you want to proceed with your claim, your solicitor will notify the other party in writing so they can instruct their legal team. Your legal team will then research and collate the evidence to support your claim, including things like receipts for any expenses you have incurred due to your injury. This information is sent to the other part with the request for payment, and they have up to four months to respond. It is very rare an acceptable offer is made immediately - their insurance company will want to pay you as little as possible - but your solicitor will continue to negotiate until reaching an acceptable outcome.
There are occasions when an agreement can’t be reached. It may be that the other side does not believe their care was negligent, or they argue that your health would have suffered even without their mistake. If this happens, your solicitor may recommend you submit your claim to court. It may now be many months since you began your application, so the court will ask for updated information regarding your health, prognosis, and any further money you have spent due to your injury. Once they are satisfied with this information, the court will issue a hearing date. This could be months in the future, so your solicitor will continue to negotiate with the other party to achieve a satisfactory resolution.
Expert legal representation is expensive, and as medical negligence claims can go on for several years, solicitor costs can soon mount up. At The Medical Negligence Experts, we believe that quality legal support should be affordable for everyone who needs it, which is why all the legal firms we work with work on No Win No Fee* agreements. Also called Conditional Fee Agreements (CFA), No Win No Fee* claims take away the worry that you may be left with a large legal bill to pay, and potentially that of the other party if you lose your claim. Your solicitor takes on the financial risk of a claim, agreeing that if you do not win compensation then you do not have to pay their fees. If you win, your opponent typically pays your legal costs and you pay your solicitor a percentage of your compensation as a success fee. This amount can legally be no more than 25% and is clearly set out in the agreement so you know how much of your compensation you will keep. If you don’t already have adequate legal insurance, your solicitor can advise on an After the Event policy to cover the cost of the other party’s legal fees if you lose and are obliged to pay them.
There is a three-year time limit to bring a compensation claim for medical negligence. This time starts from the date of your surgery, or the date when you were made aware your injury was the result of negligence. It is beneficial to your claim to obtain expert legal advice at the earliest opportunity as it makes easier to get the reports and other evidence you will need to prove your claim. Once this date has passed, you have no right to seek compensation even if you have experienced a life-changing injury due to surgical negligence. Talk to The Medical Negligence Experts today. We can’t stress how important it is to have all the relevant information so you can make an informed choice about whether a claim is the right decision for you. Do not accept any offer of payment without seeking legal advice, particularly if that offer is unsolicited and you have not mentioned making a claim. It is likely to be vastly less than what you may be entitled to and, as the acceptance of any payment is final, will mean that you cannot claim further damages. Fill in our online contact form and let us know when you want a call back to find out how much your claim could be worth.