In the vast majority of cases the decision to undergo a facelift surgery tends to be made for purely cosmetic reasons. There are obviously instances where individuals may experience facial injuries as a result of accidents and illness but this is a different area of the cosmetic surgery market. Before we take a look at the facelift compensation claims process in more detail it is widely appreciated that any type of surgery does carry a degree of risk, not all of which relates to cosmetic negligence.
It is worth noting that just because a private clinic has made you aware of potential risks when undertaking facelift cosmetic surgery this does not absolve them from potential facelift negligence claims for compensation in the future. The idea that somehow you are signing away your life and any patient rights is a fallacy and will no doubt have led to a number of valid facelift compensation claims not being pursued. It is also the legal obligation of the private clinic to walk you through the actual process and ensure that you fully understand what will happen.
Regulation Of Private Clinics Performing Facelift Procedures
As a rule of thumb the NHS refuses to undertake purely cosmetic facelift surgery although there will be some treatments carried out in extenuating circumstances. Under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 all private cosmetic surgery clinics in England must be registered with the Care Quality Commission. It is illegal to operate without this registration as ultimately the Care Quality Commission regulates the industry. This regulatory process will ensure that all private clinics operating in England meet their legally binding safety and quality obligations.
Historically the cosmetic surgery sector has attracted a number of dubious operators offering prices “too good to be true”. Thankfully, annual inspections by the Care Quality Commission allow the authorities to run a very tight ship with any failures likely to incur warnings, fines and in more serious circumstances closure of the clinic. Due to the growing number of private cosmetic clinics across England and the UK as a whole, annual visits may not always pick up on potential issues as quickly as hoped. However, if a claimant receives an injury from a surgical facelift as a consequence of failures in the levels of safety and quality of treatment provided by a private clinic, there will likely be cause for a legitimate facelift compensation claim.
Proving Negligence In A Surgical Facelift Procedure
There are other areas of the personal injury claim sector which are more straightforward than compensation claims which include surgical facelift procedures. One issue which arises is a failure to deliver the promised results of facelift surgery. This is a relatively grey area because unless an express guarantee was given by the private clinic/surgeon, which they failed to meet, there may be limited course for compensation. However, if a private clinic does give an express guarantee of a particular result from facelift surgery which is not delivered then there may be recourse for physical and even psychological compensation.
It is often difficult to pick this up from the very positive literature which many cosmetic facelift surgeries place in the public domain, but surgeons are prohibited by UK regulations from making specific assurances of improvement as a consequence of facelift treatments. It is also worth noting that all cosmetic surgery procedures must be carried out by qualified, licensed medical practitioners with the relevant experience to carry out particular procedures. There is also a legal duty of care which surgeons have towards their patients which if breached can result in sizeable compensation payments. It also goes without saying that unqualified practitioners may be liable to both civil and criminal prosecution.
In summary, it is the responsibility of the claimant to prove negligence on behalf of the private clinic and surgeon involved in the botched facelift. In many cases this is more straightforward than you might assume although a detailed record of meetings, discussions, promises and pre-surgery and post-surgery issues would prove extremely useful in the event of a facelift compensation claim being lodged.
Defence Lines For Cosmetic Surgeons Performing Facelift Surgery
As we touched on above, any type of surgical facelift compensation claim is likely to be a little more complicated than the more run-of-the-mill issues. This is perfectly illustrated by the two specific lines of defence available to cosmetic surgeons when defending against negligence and liability in a facelift claim for compensation. While each particular case will be looked at on its own merits, there are two particular tests to take into account which are:
- The “Bolam Test” – This places the onus on claimants to prove that the standard of care provided by the defendant was below the standard offered by other professionals. It may also be possible to prove negligence if the defendant used techniques which similarly qualified professionals would not have attempted.
- The “Bolitho Case” – This is a potential further complication when looking to prove negligence. It offers cosmetic surgeons the opportunity to prove that while their actions may not have been commonplace amongst other professionals, they were logical and defensible. This potentially covers cosmetic surgeons for “logical actions” which were not standard practice.
As you can see from the above tests, there are a number of grey areas and it will no doubt be down to qualified professionals to give an independent assessment of the actions taken and their potential consequences. This all relates to a surgeon’s duty of care to their patient.
Claiming Compensation For A Botched Facelift
If you feel you have incurred injury as a consequence of a substandard facelift surgery then you should contact a medical negligence solicitor to review your case in more detail. A detailed record of the initial meetings to discuss facelift surgery, promises and discussions, actual treatment and any post-surgical issues together with any witness statements will prove vital. The solicitor should be able to review your case fairly quickly and assess whether you have a strong case. In the event of a strong facelift claim you may decide to go forward on a No Win No Fee basis.
Each case will be considered on its merits but in theory there are potentially two different types of compensation you may be entitled to in most cosmetic surgery compensation claims including facelift claims. These are:
General Damages Compensation
This compensation relates to physical pain and trauma as well as any material change in the claimant’s lifestyle as a result of the injury as a result of the botched facelift procedure. In the event of open and shut cases both parties may come together out-of-court and agree a settlement figure otherwise it will be down to the judge to make a ruling.
Special Damages Compensation
While there is some variation in the levels of general damages compensation, special damages compensation relates purely to financial loss and potential future costs. Victims may be able to claim loss of earnings, loss of future earnings, additional transport costs, additional medical costs and any future medical requirements.
Even though the regulatory structure surrounding private cosmetic surgeries is now far more competent than it was just a decade ago, no system is infallible. As a consequence, do not automatically assume that signing a patient waiver for a facelift procedure releases the surgeon of their obligation towards their patients and their legal duty of care – it doesn’t and you may certainly have a good case to make a facelift compensation claim.