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Can you make a claim for compensation following cosmetic surgery negligence?

The UK’s cosmetic surgery industry is currently worth in the region of £900m every year and recent figures show that almost five million people in Britain alone would consider having surgery to enhance their appearance.

Official figures for cosmetic surgery come from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons whose most recent figures show that over 34,000 surgical procedures were performed in the UK in 2008 with that number having tripled since 2003.


The biggest increases have been recorded in breast augmentation and tummy tucks, both of which have risen by 30% and there has also been a notable increase in surgery on men with male cosmetic surgery now accounting for 18 per cent of all surgery. This growth has been dominated by treatments such as Botox and the anti-sweat alternative, Sweatox.


Mothers accounted for



of breast uplift patients

Generally breast augmentation is still the most popular cosmetic surgery treatment around and it has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially with new mothers hoping to regain their figure following birth. Mothers accounted for 75 per cent of breast uplift patients.

For most people who have a treatment at a beauty clinic or a spa it is a nice relaxing experience, but for some people it can turn into a traumatic experience leaving them scarred. If you have suffered beauty treatment injuries as a result of negligent beauty treatment in a beauty clinic, spa or hair salon from waxing treatments to hair dye, sunbeds and lasers, you might be entitled to claim compensation.

However, many who suffer bad cosmetic surgery may actually be unaware that they are able to make a personal injury claim for damages.

The majority of people who decide to undergo a particular procedure go to a recognised surgery and are dealt with by a reputable surgeon but there has been concern amongst many, within the profession as well as outside of it, that the industry has not been regulated as rigorously as it should be.

In acknowledging this, the Care Standards Act, which came into force in 2002, introduced a new body, the National Care Standards Commission, to regulate private clinics and ensure that national minimum standards are adhered to. It also strives to ensure that all practitioners must be appropriately recruited, trained and qualified, that patients are offered counselling and a fortnight-cooling off period before any treatment takes place and that all private hospitals and clinics should have a formal complaints procedure.

Despite the new measures introduced, there will obviously still be occasions when the surgery goes wrong and with the ramifications often deeply traumatic for the patient, there will be an inevitable desire to seek compensation. In particular if injuries have been suffered such as disfigurement or extensive scarring, the patient may well be able to prove that the surgeon had been negligent in their treatment.

There are also instances where emotional pain and loss of enjoyment can be claimed for as well as psychological disorders such as depression which again came about as a direct consequence of the inadequate treatment

The first course of action for most who feel they may have a case against a particular surgeon or clinic will be to make a written complaint to the clinic where the procedure was carried out. To prove a case it is first necessary to show that the person carrying out the procedure owed the patient a duty of care, then that they breached that duty and thirdly that the injury that was sustained was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of that breach of duty. In cosmetic surgery cases, this means that the patient is required to prove that their treatment fell short of accepted standards of care.

If successful compensation will be awarded to the injured party and this is divided into two parts entitled general damages and special damages. General damages are paid out for the physical pain and suffering which are a direct result of the treatment received. There are also instances where emotional pain and loss of enjoyment can be claimed for as well as psychological disorders such as depression which again came about as a direct consequence of the inadequate treatment.

Special damages are simply other special losses which are incurred as a result of the treatment and, as compared to general damages, these are quantifiable. When special damages are mentioned the most common one is loss of earnings and if a person has to take time off work as a result of poor cosmetic surgery, this can be calculated to a certain degree as can potential loss of future earnings as a result of the treatment.

Other common special damages are any particular medical care to treat any injuries which are sustained by the treatment. With special damages, as these can be calculated and a final figure put to the court, the person involved should keep a record of all payments made which could fall into this category and receipts should be kept where appropriate.

More on cosmetic surgery:

At the end of 2011 PIP, a breast implant manufacturer, were found to have been using industrial grade products in the implants causing a major health scare for women whoo had the implants.


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