While the vast majority of dermal filler procedures go extremely smoothly and bring about the intended goal, this is not always the case. While regulations have tightened in recent times, there are still a number of issues which have led to significant numbers of dermal filler compensation claims. So, on what grounds might you be able to claim compensation for a dermal filler procedure which went wrong?
Different Types Of Dermal Fillers
Over the years there has been significant progress made in creating and improving an array of new dermal fillers which last longer and are more reliable. These include:
- Collagen – this can last between three and four months.
- Hyaluronic acid – this normally lasts between four and six months.
- Calcium hydroxylapatite – this filler can last up to 18 months.
- Poly-L-lactic acid – with this dermal filler the procedure is spread over several months with the results lasting up to 2 years.
Even the quickest of glimpses down the list of common dermal fillers shows you that we are dealing with an array of different chemicals and materials. While the vast majority of cosmetic surgery operations tend to be result in temporary cosmetic changes, as you can see, the effects of some procedures can last up to 2 years.
Risks Associated With Dermal Filler Procedures
There are a number of potential side effects when undergoing dermal filler procedures although the vast majority are relatively short-term. The array of dermal filler side effects can include:
- Swelling, itching, rashes and bruising.
- Filler slipping away from the treated area over a period of time.
- Unsightly lumps underneath the skin.
- Blocked blood vessel/s which can kill tissue, lead to permanent blindness or in some cases a pulmonary embolism and potential death.
It is fair to say that dermal filler procedures have improved tremendously in recent years, and some of the more serious side-effects such as the blocking of a blood vessel are extremely rare.
Common Dermal Filler Injury Claims
In light of the growing number of dermal filler compensation claims some of the more common reasons for legal action include:
It goes without saying that any surgeon or medical practitioner owes a legal duty of care with regards to the safety of their patients and to make them fully aware of all potential risks. Procedural error can be a serious issue with some of the more common problems including:
- Injecting too much dermal filler – aside from the fact this will impact the end result, it can be extremely difficult to remove any excess filler.
- Incorrect placement of dermal filler – unfortunately, we have seen more instances where the dermal filler is injected into the wrong area creating a series of lumps and bumps under the skin.
Failure To Advise Patients
It is the cosmetic surgeon’s responsibility to both warn patients of the potential dermal filler risks and side effects and to ensure that they fully understand the situation. In the event that a patient was not correctly warned of the risks and potential side effects then they may well have a claim for compensation.
Some of the more common dermal filler claims for failing to advise include:
- Potentially serious/life-threatening allergic reactions
- Side effects which were not explained prior to the procedure
The patient also has an obligation to acknowledge any advice and warnings. However, it is down to the cosmetic surgeon/cosmetic surgery company to ensure everything is explained in an easy to understand manner. Failure to do so can result in potentially large compensation claims.
Those looking to make a potential dermal filler compensation claim will need to prove negligence on behalf of a third party and not simply claim they “did not like the end results”. As long as the patient was warned about the risks and the procedure was carried out in the correct fashion then it would be extremely difficult to prove any level of negligence in this situation.
Have You Suffered A Dermal Filler Injury?
If you are aware of any potential issues or injuries after a dermal filler procedure you should seek independent medical attention. This action not only ensures that you receive the right treatment right away but also ensures that your medical records are updated with details of the issue, examination and relevant treatment. If you do go down the compensation route then this can be an extremely strong line of evidence.
In cases of substandard cosmetic surgery, photographic evidence can also play a major part giving a “before and after” comparison. It is also vital that you take evidence from witnesses, retain literature explaining the risks associated with dermal filler procedures and perhaps investigate further any similar incidents which happened under the watch of the cosmetic surgeon/cosmetic surgery company in question.
You should also put together a timeline of events before and after the surgery, the warnings you were given and potential instances of cosmetic surgery negligence. Any claimant should give the court as much information as possible so they can understand what happened before, during and after the dermal filler treatment. Under normal circumstances you will have a three-year window of opportunity in which to lodge a dermal filler injury claim.
Personal Injury Solicitors
A personal injury solicitor should have lots of knowledge and experience in collecting evidence needed to build a strong dermal filler injury claim for compensation, including medical reports, witness statements, background on the cosmetic surgeon/company and your timeline of events.
In order to fully understand the ramifications of any potential negligence (and possible corrective surgery required) a solicitor will likely arrange a further medical examination through independent parties they work with in your local area. The specialist can then examine the claimant and put together perhaps a more detailed report than a general practitioner. The fact that cosmetic surgery compensation claims are growing in number means that the vast majority of personal injury law firms already have significant experience in this field.
If after consulting with a solicitor they advise you that you’re entitled to compensation they will likely ask you to sign a No Win No Fee agreement. This effectively removes any liability for the claimant to cover the legal costs of the solicitor when pursuing a dermal filler injury claim, although you should always understand exactly what you’re going to be agreeing to before signing anything. In exchange for their legal services they will request a “success fee” which is no more than 25% of the subsequent compensation award. Even though No Win No Fee arrangements have received more than their fair share of negative press over the years, for many claimants it is the best option. It is also worth taking in the bigger picture and the fact that without these arrangements many negligent parties would never be held to account.
Once a claimant has agreed to start a dermal filler injury claim then it is simply a case of putting together all of the evidence and details about the incident and the after-effects. This will be sent to the courts and also sent to the defendant showing the evidence against them. Where negligence is fairly straightforward, perhaps the surgeon has ignored procedure or carried out substandard work, the defendant will likely look towards an out-of-court settlement. This will reduce their liability for legal costs going forward, ensure that the claimant receives their dermal filler injury compensation in a timely manner and bring to an end an often difficult situation for all parties.
There will be instances where the defendant refutes negligence or there may be more than one potentially negligent party. In this instance the case will likely go before the courts and the judge will make a ruling based upon the evidence provided by both parties. Many people are under the misapprehension that where there is more than one potentially negligent party they may find it difficult to pursue a dermal filler injury claim – this is not the case. If there is more than one potentially negligent party involved in the incident then they would simply be listed in the compensation claim and it would be up to the judge to decide on negligence and varying degrees of liability/compensation.
Compensation In Dermal Filler Injury Claims
Even though the number of personal injury claims has increased dramatically over the years, many people are unaware there are two separate types of compensation that they can claim. They are known as general damages and special damages and while offering financial recompense they cover very different areas.
General damages in dermal filler injury claims are effectively financial compensation as a consequence of injuries received due to negligence by one or more third party. They include:
- Psychological effects
- Degree of pain and suffering
- Injuries that are life changing
In the case of dermal filler compensation claims the impact on a person’s physical appearance can attract significant compensation. This may lead to an array of mental issues such as depression, agoraphobia and in some cases suicidal thoughts. Any significant impact upon a person’s physical appearance can be traumatic and potentially life changing.
Special damages in dermal filler injury claims are in effect financial recompense for costs incurred and future funding requirements for injuries/treatment received as a consequence of negligence. Special damages take in an array of issues such as:
- Medical expenses due to the dermal filler injury
- Future medical treatment required (corrective surgery)
- Loss of earnings
- Future loss of earnings
- Additional transport expenses
- Adaptions to the home
There is no discretion/variation when it comes to special damages as they are simply financial recompense for expenses incurred. When estimating the level of funding required going forward for treatment, etc, advice will be taken from relevant experts in their field.
If you have suffered injury due to a botched dermal filler procedure and believe you should be compensated contact us today to arrange a consultation with a personal injury solicitor.