A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is a cosmetic procedure that is used to change the shape of the abdomen and typically involves the removal of excess fat, skin and stretch marks to improve the patient’s body image. While tummy tuck surgery is often successful, mistakes can and do happen. Whether you’ve undergone surgery because of a weak abdominal wall, to remove stretch marks after pregnancy or to remove excess skin following weight loss, if you’re injured as a result of surgical negligence, you may be able to make a tummy tuck compensation claim.
We can help if you are thinking about starting a compensation claim following a botched tummy tuck. Our advisors will review your claim and provide legal advice during a free initial consultation. If it appears that there’s a reasonable chance of success, we could refer you to a medical negligence lawyer on our panel. You won’t need to pay for their work upfront if they accept your case as they offer a No Win No Fee service. That also means you’ll only pay for their work if you are paid compensation.
To talk to us today about starting a tummy tuck compensation claim, please call us on 0800 652 1345. Alternatively, please continue reading to learn more about when you can claim and how the claims process works.
Types of tummy tucks
There are several types of tummy tuck procedures. Generally, these are elective cosmetic procedures that are not available on the NHS. The most common types of tummy tuck procedures are:
- Extended abdominoplasty. Invasive surgery under general anaesthetic that is usually performed on patients with lots of excessive skin. Tissue, fat and skin is removed from the lower abdomen, back, waist and upper thigh area and the belly button is repositioned.
- Standard abdominoplasty. In this type of tummy tuck, fat, skin and tissue is removed from the abdomen but not the back or upper thighs. The belly button is also repositioned.
- Mini abdominoplasty. This is a smaller operation where a small amount of fat and excess skin is removed. The belly button is not removed or repositioned.
Due to the nature of these procedures, all hospitals and clinics offering tummy tucks in England must be registered with the Care Quality Commission.
Can I claim compensation for a botched tummy tuck?
Medical negligence solicitors will pre-vet any tummy tuck compensation claims before accepting them to check whether:
- The standard of treatment provided by the medical professional fell below what could have been reasonably expected (breach of duty or negligence); and
- You suffered injuries that can be attributed directly to that breach of duty (causation)
As you might imagine, proving medical negligence is something a solicitor can’t always do alone as they are not medically trained. Instead, your solicitor will ask a suitably skilled medical expert to review the case for you. This involves checking whether, given the same circumstances, they’d have acted in the same way as the surgeon who treated you. If they find that the surgeon acted appropriately, a claim wouldn’t be possible. However, if they believe the wrong procedures were followed, you could have the grounds to continue.
After this, medical reports and records will be used to try to establish causation. If this can be proven, your solicitor will file the claim with the defendant to try and secure compensation on your behalf.
What can go wrong with tummy tucks?
As with any form of surgery, there are several potential risks associated with a tummy tuck. These should have been explained to you prior to treatment. However, tummy tuck claims might be possible if you suffer injuries following treatment as a result of medical negligence.
The types of problems that might entitle you to tummy tuck compensation include:
- Excessive scarring.
- Infections arising from surgery or poor aftercare.
- Nerve damage.
- Loss of the belly button or where it has been positioned incorrectly.
- Persistent or excessive pain in the abdomen.
- Overly tight skin caused by the removal of too much skin.
- Raised scarring.
- Bleeding under the skin (haematoma) that may require remedial surgery.
These are just some of the issues that might lead to a compensation claim if caused by negligence during tummy tuck surgery. To see if you have the grounds to seek damages, call us to discuss your options with a specialist.
Negligence leading to tummy tuck claims
There are several forms of negligence that could give you grounds to seek compensation by starting a tummy tuck claim. Claims could be based on negligence including:
- The use of the wrong equipment during surgery.
- Anaesthetic errors.
- A lack of informed consent i.e. the risks or outcome of your surgery was not discussed prior to treatment.
- A failure to review your medical history and suitability for tummy tuck surgery.
- Infections resulting from poor hygiene standards.
- Poor guidance relating to aftercare.
If you suffered an injury or infection following a tummy tuck procedure and believe you should be compensated, call today for a free case review.
How much compensation for a botched tummy tuck?
When you claim compensation for a botched tummy tuck, you can’t just suggest a sum of money that you’d be happy to accept. Instead, you must justify every pound and penny you ask for. The two heads of loss you’ll base your claim on are called general damages (relating to your injuries) and special damages (relating to any financial impact). While each case is unique, tummy tuck compensation could cover:
- Any physical pain resulting from your surgery and any remedial treatment.
- Any mental harm caused by depression, anxiety or embarrassment relating to your injuries.
- Lost earnings if your injuries prevent you from working.
- Future loss of income for longer-term injuries.
- Travel expenses linked to medical appointments for example.
- The cost of adapting your home if you’re left with a disability following negligent surgery.
- The cost of a carer if you needed support while you were recovering.
- Private medical treatment where it could help to speed up your recovery.
All of the above should be considered carefully before you submit your claim as you won’t be able to ask for additional tummy tuck compensation after you’ve settled your case. If you work with a medical negligence solicitor, they’ll try to ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation possible to help you recover from your injuries.
Providing proof of tummy tuck negligence
Any compensation claim for injuries sustained during a tummy tuck operation will usually be handled by the hospital’s insurance company. Even in cases that appear straightforward, you are unlikely to be paid compensation unless you can clearly show why the defendant was responsible for your injuries and what they did wrong. As such, it’s important to supply as much proof as possible. This could include:
- Photographic proof. You should take pictures of your visible scars and injuries throughout your recovery period. Where possible, these should be timestamped to demonstrate how long you were affected.
- Correspondance. If you were sent emails or letters before your abdominoplasty, you should collate them and send them to your solicitor. These could help to prove that you were given poor advice or if the surgeon overpromised what could be achieved.
- Complaint letters. Similarly, if you complained to the clinic after your surgery, you should keep any responses safe and forward a copy to your solicitor.
- Medical records. Your solicitor can ask for medical records relating to your tummy tuck surgery and remedial treatment to be forwarded to them. These could help to prove what injuries you sustained during the tummy tuck operation. Similarly, they could ask for your GP records to check whether you were a suitable candidate for surgery or not.
- Witness statements. If anybody was with you during your abdominoplasty consultation, your solicitor may ask them to explain what was said. Also, family or friends might be asked for a statement relating to how you’ve been affected by your injuries.
- Consent forms or waivers. These forms do not exclude you from claiming compensation if your injuries were caused by negligence. As such, forward a copy to your solicitor so that they can check for errors or omissions.
- A diary. It can be useful to write a diary to explain how you’ve been affected by the tummy tuck. You could use it to track any events you had to miss, when you couldn’t work or when you had to spend money because of your injuries.
Any proof you have collected will be reviewed, for free, by one of our advisors if you decide to contact us for an initial claim consultation.
Medical assessment for a tummy tuck claim
As part of the tummy tuck claims process, you may need to be assessed by an independent medical specialist. This is a straightforward process that you shouldn’t worry about. During your meeting, the specialist will examine your injuries and ask about how they’ve affected you. They may also read through your medical notes as well.
After they’ve finished, they’ll write a report to explain the injuries you’ve suffered from the abdominoplasty and to offer a prognosis. Usually, our team of solicitors can make these appointments locally so you won’t need to travel too far.
Time limits for tummy tuck compensation claims
In the UK, there is a 3-year time limit for medical negligence claims. This usually starts from the date of your tummy tuck procedure but could start later if your injuries weren’t diagnosed straight away.
It is a good idea to begin your tummy tuck compensation claim as soon as you can in our opinion. That’s because there are several tasks your solicitor will need to carry out before sending the claim to the defendant. These include arranging for medical reports and collecting supporting evidence.
If liability has been admitted in your case but the amount of compensation has not yet been agreed upon, your solicitor could ask for an interim payment to cover the cost of private medical treatment if needed. This is another good reason for starting your claim as soon as possible.
No Win No Fee tummy tuck claims
If you’d like to work with one of our team of medical negligence solicitors, you won’t have to pay them in advance. That’s because they provide their experience and expertise on a No Win No Fee basis for all claims they take on.
If your claim is taken on, and you decide to proceed, you will sign a contract called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This will formalise the work your solicitor will carry out and when you’ll need to pay them.
Essentially, No Win No Fee means you do not have to pay your solicitor if you are not paid compensation. On the flip side, you’ll pay a success fee if your claim is won and a settlement is paid.
The success fee is used to cover your solicitor’s expenses and time. It is a fixed percentage of your compensation that’s listed in the CFA. If compensation is awarded, the fee is deducted before you are paid. Legally, success fees cannot exceed more than 25% of your compensation when using a CFA.
Start a tummy tuck compensation claim today
If you are ready to begin a claim, all you need to do is speak to one of our advisors on 0800 652 1345. Whatever you decide to do, you’ll be offered free legal advice after your claim has been assessed.
If you proceed with a claim, your solicitor will represent you on a No Win No Fee basis to make the process much less stressful.
If you have any further questions about tummy tuck compensation claims, please call or connect to live chat to talk to an advisor.