It is a well-known fact that all forms of surgery have known risks associated with them. You may, as such, think that you can’t be compensated for injuries sustained whilst under the knife. However, if you have suffered an avoidable injury during surgery that has caused you to suffer, you could be entitled to make a surgical error claim. This article on surgical errors because of medical negligence will look at the types of mistakes in surgery that could lead to compensation and how the claims process works.
If you or a loved one has suffered following surgery, our team offers a free initial consultation along with legal advice about your options. If it looks like you’ve got a fair chance of being compensated and a medical negligence solicitor on our panel accepts your claim, you’ll benefit from a No Win, No Fee service. Knowing that you won’t pay any legal fees at all unless compensation is awarded will usually make the claims process a lot less stressful.
To speak to us right away about a surgical error claim, please call us on 0800 652 1345 today, or please continue reading.
What is surgical negligence?
Surgical negligence is another way of saying a mistake was made during surgery. It doesn’t have to be a deliberate act but it could include mistakes such as using the wrong type of medical apparatus or failing to monitor the patient’s heart rate correctly. There are many forms of negligence that could lead to surgical error claims as we’ll find out throughout the course of this article.
Can I claim compensation for surgical negligence?
In terms of making a surgical negligence claim, it will need to be proven that:
- A surgeon (or another medical professional) provided a standard of care during surgery that was of a lesser standard than what could be reasonably expected [negligence or breach of duty]; and
- Because of their negligence, the medical professional caused you to suffer an injury or made you ill [causation].
To win any type of medical negligence claim, negligence and causation must have occurred together. For example, if a surgeon used the wrong type of clamp when treating you, but no problems were caused by their error, it wouldn’t be possible to claim compensation.
Whether you’ve suffered because of a surgical error in a private or NHS hospital during medical or cosmetic treatment, please get in touch to find out if you could be compensated for your suffering.
Errors during surgery that could lead to compensation being claimed
Let’s now take a look at the types of errors during surgery that could result in a compensation claim. They include:
- Where an operation was performed on the wrong part of the body.
- If surgical tools such as forceps and swabs were left inside the body following surgery.
- Where the patient suffered because of an anaesthetic error.
- If poor post-surgery check-ups led to an infection.
- Nerve damage injury or internal organ damage caused by surgical errors.
- Where your medical history was not reviewed prior to treatment.
- If other forms of treatment were not considered.
- Where you were not informed of the risks associated with the proposed surgery.
These mistakes on their own will not give you grounds to claim compensation. In some way, a surgical error must’ve caused you to suffer physically, mentally or both. To clarify if you could make a surgical error compensation claim, please speak to our team today.
Examples of surgical error claims
Common examples of surgical error claims include:
- Hip replacement claims.
- Hernia surgery claims.
- Plastic surgery claims.
- Knee replacement surgery claims.
- Eye surgery claims.
- Cosmetic surgery claims.
- Post-surgery claims.
- Tumour removal claims.
Whatever type of surgery has caused you to suffer, please feel free to get in touch if you believe you should be compensated.
NHS never events
You may have heard the phrase ‘NHS Never Event’. This, put simply, is something that should never happen because there are well-documented procedures in place to prevent patient suffering.
Some never events that could lead to surgical error claims include:
- Wrong site surgery.
- The use of the wrong type or size of implant/prosthetic.
- Retained foreign objects following surgery.
- Wrongly prepared anaesthetic.
- Wrong route administration of medication.
- Incorrect gas administration.
- Failure to monitor oxygen saturation.
- Misidentficaton of patient.
- Maternal death caused by post-partum haemorrhage following elective caesarean section.
These surgical errors could all entitle you to compensation for any suffering endured.
Errors in cosmetic surgery
As well as claiming compensation following errors during medical treatment, you could claim compensation for any suffering caused by cosmetic surgery errors as well.
You could claim if:
- You were promised an outcome that simply wasn’t achievable.
- Surgical wounds became infected following poor aftercare advice.
- You were injured because the surgeon failed to follow the proper procedure.
- Poor hygiene during surgery led to an infection.
- You were left with avoidable visible scars.
- You suffered nerve damage after a needle or knife was inserted too far.
Please get in touch if you’ve suffered following an error during cosmetic surgery and would like to review your options.
Is a surgical error claim possible when a waiver was signed?
Many claimants believe they’ve waived the right to compensation because they signed a consent form (or waiver) before treatment. However, these forms do not stop you from seeking compensation for suffering caused by medical negligence.
A waiver is simply a form that, once signed, proves you were told about the procedure and its associated risks. They do not prohibit the surgeon or the hospital from being sued so please get in touch even if you’ve signed such a form and have it to hand when you call as we’ll examine its contents for free.
How much compensation for a surgical error can I claim?
When making a surgical error claim, it’s important to consider exactly how you’ve been affected and how you might suffer in the future. This is particularly important in the case of long-term life-changing injuries and illnesses. As such, any compensation awarded for surgical errors should cover any pain and suffering you’ve endured (general damages) as well as any expenses or costs incurred (special damages).
Each claim is evaluated on its own merit, but if yours is successful, you may be able to receive a settlement that covers:
- Physical pain, suffering and discomfort.
- Depression, distress, anxiety and other forms of psychological suffering.
- Loss of enjoyment of your usual activities.
- The expense of a professional carer or for the time a loved one spends supporting you.
- Travel expenses.
- Loss of earnings. For longer-term or permanent injuries, future loss of earnings could be considered too.
- Medical costs.
- Modifications to your vehicle or home. This might include hoists, ramps or lifts to make it easier to cope with an ongoing disability.
Due to the complexity of some surgical negligence claims, we believe it’s best to seek legal representation. Having a specialist solicitor on your side can make the claims process easier and could improve your chances of winning the correct amount of compensation.
Fatal Surgical errors
You could claim compensation if you’ve lost a loved one following a surgical error. We realise that the thought of being compensated for wrongful death won’t help you to deal with your loss. However, at some point, compensation could help you if you were financially dependent on the deceased.
Additionally, you could claim for any expenses such as funeral costs that you’ve had to pay for yourself. To find out your options, please feel free to call us for a no-obligation consultation.
Providing proof for a surgical error claim
To improve your chances of being compensated for a surgical mistake, you’ll need to prove what went wrong and how it has affected you. To do so, you’ll need to provide strong proof to support your claim. This may include:
- Medical records. To help determine what went wrong, your medical records from before and after surgery will be obtained from the hospital that treated you.
- Independent medical report. As part of your claim, a 3rd party medical expert may examine your injuries and review your treatment. This can help to identify if you were treated negligently or not.
- Photographs. If you have any scars or visible injuries, it’s a good idea to take pictures of them throughout your recovery.
- Complaints. On its own, a complaint won’t secure compensation for your suffering. However, a response to your complaint could make it easier to determine why you suffered.
- Financial records. If you’ve lost money because of your injuries or illness, you should provide copies of bank statements, receipts or wage slips as proof.
The solicitors from our panel will always try to secure as much proof as possible when lodging a surgical error claim. If you have any of the proof listed above (or others) already, please let us know when you call for your free consultation.
Surgical error claim time limits
In law, there is a 3-year time limit for any type of medical negligence claim. The date the limitation begins is either:
- The date of surgery if your injuries are immediately obvious; or
- Your date of knowledge if your injuries were spotted later on and linked to a surgical error.
Rather than waiting too long to begin a claim, we believe it’s better to begin as soon as possible. This allows plenty of time for proof to be secured and could help you financially before the claim is settled. That’s because, in some cases, interim payments may be paid to cover medical costs, lost income or care costs before the claim is finalised. This can be important in cases that take time due to their complexity.
Time limits when claiming on behalf of someone else
The 3-year time limit will not apply if a) the claimant is under 18 years old or b) the claimant doesn’t have the mental capability to claim compensation themselves.
In these cases, you could apply to be the claimant’s litigation friend. If approved, you’ll manage the claim directly with the claimant’s solicitor and make decisions for them. If compensation is awarded, you’ll be able to ask the court to release funds when needed.
The 3-year time limit will only start again if the claimant turns 18 or if they regain their mental capability.
No Win, No Fee claims
As you might imagine, some medical negligence claims can be quite drawn out and require a lot of complex proof. For many, the thought of paying for a solicitor to work on their claim can be off-putting. However, the medical negligence solicitors on our panel offer a No Win, No Fee service for the claims they take on.
If your claim proceeds, you’ll be sent a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) to read and sign. It will make it clear that you don’t need to pay your solicitor upfront. Once the CFA has been signed, your solicitor’s main priorities will be to:
- Contact the hospital to inform them of the claim.
- Manage all communication with the hospital’s insurers.
- Gather supporting proof and medical reports.
- Answer any queries or objections on your behalf.
- Review any settlement offers with you.
- Try to ensure you are fully compensated for your suffering.
If your surgical error claim is lost, you won’t need to pay for your solicitor’s work. Where compensation is paid, though, your solicitor will deduct a success fee from your compensation. This is used to cover their costs, and the amount you’ll pay will be detailed in your CFA.
Start a surgical error claim today
If you would like to talk to a specialist about a surgical error claim, please call 0800 652 1345. There’s no obligation to make a claim but we’ll review your claim for free and explain your chances of being compensated.
However, your solicitor will reduce your financial risk by working on a No Win, No Fee basis if they agree to represent you. That means no upfront legal fees and you don’t pay them if the claim fails either.
Our live chat advisors are always on hand to answer any immediate questions about surgical error claims so do get in touch or arrange a consultation here.