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Surgical negligence claims

Surgical negligence claims can affect anybody who has undergone an operation, whether on the NHS or privately. If your surgeon has made an error and harmed your health, start your negligence compensation claim with Express Solicitors today.

Last Updated November 8th, 2023.

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Key points for making an injury claim

The most important things to remember when claiming for surgical negligence

  • You can claim against a private surgeon or the NHS
  • You can claim if your healthcare provider was negligent
  • You generally have three years to make a claim.
  • You can claim on behalf of somebody else
  • You can claim on a no win, no fee basis.

Surgical negligence compensation claims

Surgical negligence compensation claims are thankfully quite rare in Britain, with just 1% of all operations resulting in a claim. However, this doesn’t mean things cannot go wrong – particularly with the NHS, which is under increasing pressures.

Surgical injuries can range from minor to severe, but you can claim surgical negligence compensation whatever your industry. If your healthcare provider has failed in their duty of care, contact our no win no fee solicitors to start your claim today.

What is surgical negligence?

The surgical negligence definition in legal terms is physical or psychological harm caused by a surgeon’s wrongdoing.

There could be many reasons for this, from lack of training to surgical delays. As medical negligence solicitors, we look for two things: “breach of duty” and “causation”.

Breach of duty is evidence that the surgeon did something wrong, while causation is demonstrating that the harm you’ve suffered is a result of what went wrong. We can do both for you on a no win, no fee basis, so get in touch today.

How to claim for medical negligence

Want to know more about claiming for medical or clinical negligence. Jargon free, we’ll explain your legal rights, letting you know everything you need to know about claiming.

How much compensation can I claim for medical negligence?

Read our medical negligence legal guides to understand your legal rights and how much compensation you may be able to claim.

What is a surgical error?

A surgical error is any kind of mistake during an operation that causes you harm. The most common surgical negligence cases are related to:

  • Recommending and carrying out the wrong surgery
  • Failed surgery, such as leaving foreign objects in the body
  • Performing the surgery on the wrong area, such as the wrong leg
  • Performing operations unnecessarily
  • Delays to surgery
  • Organ perforation

What are the causes of negligence in the operating room?

The causes of surgical negligence can range from improper training to wrong diagnosis or failure to sterilise equipment appropriately. They may not always be the surgeon’s error – for example, if a doctor recommended unnecessary surgery, or if cleaning teams failed to sterilise the operating theatre appropriately. Surgical negligence is caused by human error and can have devastating consequences, which is why our personal injury solicitors are here to help.

How can surgical errors be prevented?

Surgical errors can be prevented by having stringent checks on all patient records, for example, to check that the surgeon is operating on the right area. Likewise, surgeons should communicate with all of the patient’s doctors, and make sure that all areas are sterilised. By working with others, for example, having a physician read back the procedure notes, surgeons can prevent life-changing physical harm.

Record-keeping is essential for all surgery, and we can use your medical records to support any surgical negligence claims.

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Can I sue for surgical negligence on the NHS?

You can sue for surgical negligence on the NHS if your treatment was carried out by an NHS doctor. When you make a surgical error claim against the NHS, your compensation will be paid for by NHS Resolution. This is a government scheme paid for by NHS Trusts that acts as an insurance policy and pays for NHS negligence claims.

What can you claim for medical negligence?

You can claim for ‘general damages’ and ‘special damages’ when making a medical negligence claim. General damages account for the physical or psychological harm you’ve suffered, while special damages cover any financial losses. For example, you may have to take time off work or pay for medical expenses. The more serious your injury, the higher your compensation will be.

We’ll also look at any long-term impacts on your life, for example, mobility adaptations to your home or car. We’ll go above and beyond to get you the largest surgical negligence claim settlement possible on a no win, no fee basis.

Can I claim compensation for a surgical error?

You can claim compensation for a surgical error if your surgeon was negligent and caused you physical harm. To prove your claim, we will need evidence of two things: “breach of duty” and “causation”. Breach of duty refers to negligence, for example, if your surgeon failed to perform the surgery correctly. “Causation” refers to the injury itself.

We can help you to gather evidence to prove both of these, for example, medical records, doctors’ notes or witness statements.

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Examples of surgical error claims

Surgical error claims vary depending on the body part affected. Some are more serious while others can result in minor injuries, but you can still claim compensation on a no win, no fee basis. Some common examples of surgical errors include:

Cosmetic surgery negligence claims

With more than 30,000 cosmetic procedures each year, cosmetic surgery claims can affect many people. The industry is largely unregulated, so there may be claims for facelifts, brow lifts, tummy tucks and many more.

Eye surgery negligence claims

Eye surgery negligence claims may be for cosmetic reasons, or, more commonly, for laser eye surgery. With potential damage to vision or even blindness, these can be some of the most life-changing medical negligence cases.

Plastic surgery negligence claims

Plastic surgery negligence claims may be for cosmetic or medical purposes, such as breast augmentation or facial reconstruction. Common examples include breast implants, facelifts and rhinoplasties (nose jobs). These can also have psychological effects, which you can claim for.

Hip replacement surgery claims

Hip replacement surgery claims are often linked to nerve damage or decreased mobility. There may also be a risk of infection, anaesthesia errors or operating on the wrong hip. The point of a replacement hip is to give patients more mobility, so if you have been affected, get in touch.

Knee replacement surgery claims

Knee replacement surgery claims can result if you were fitted with a defective product, or there have been complications with the surgery that lead to further problems. If your health or mobility have been affected, contact us today.

Hernia surgery claims

Hernia surgery claims are often linked with a hernia mesh, which is used to strengthen damaged or weakened tissue caused by a hernia. Complications can result in chronic pain, infection, bleeding, incontinence or mobility issues.

Tumour removal claims

Tumour removal claims can be the result of further damage when conducting surgery, for example, in cancer negligence cases. In the most extreme circumstances, they can lead to brain injuries or even death. You can claim on behalf of somebody else if they pass away in surgery, or if they are left ‘mentally incapacitated’.

Surgical error claims

More general surgical errors include operating on the wrong body part – which can be extreme in cases such as amputation. In other cases, surgeons may leave foreign objects in the body, damage organs or nerves, or conduct keyhole surgery errors. We can help you to gather the evidence for these serious surgical negligence claims and get you no win, no fee compensation.

Mistakes after surgery

Sometimes, mistakes happen after surgery. It is your doctor’s responsibility to warn you about the risks of surgery, but there are others that are avoidable. For example, they may fail to notice an infection or organ problems such as obstructions in the bowel. They may also prescribe you the wrong medication, which could make your health worse.

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That’s right, we provide unlimited legal support for our prospective clients. Not sure if you have a claim, or if you even want to make a claim? You can speak with us for as long as you like and as many times as you like. We’ll let you know your legal rights, completely free of charge and with no obligation to make a claim.

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How much compensation can I get for surgical negligence claims?

There are no set compensation amounts for surgical negligence claims as it depends on the individual case. According to NHS Resolution, the average amount paid out for NHS negligence claims is £50,000.

Other historical amounts feature on the Judicial Board Guidelines, but these only apply to the injury – not ‘special damages’ such as loss of earnings. For example:

  • Injury to internal organs: from £60,000 to £100,000
  • Knee injuries: from £5,000 to £25,000
  • Scarring: from £2,000 to £91,000
  • Amputation: from £225,000 to £281,000
  • Death: from £12,000 to £300,000.

What can surgical negligence compensation pay for?

Surgical negligence compensation can help you to get your life back on track. It may help to pay for ongoing medical treatment, adaptations to your home such as mobility aids, or rehabilitation. Surgical injury compensation can help with lifestyle payments, for example, paying for additional insurance when going on holiday.

In some cases, we can arrange ongoing payments for the rest of your life, depending on the severity of your injury. This may also apply for families who have lost loved ones due to surgical negligence.

What proof do I need for a surgery negligence claim?

To prove your surgical negligence claim, we need evidence of two things: causation and breach of duty. Causation is the injury itself, while breach of duty is evidence that your surgeon has been negligent.

To prove these, we can help you gather evidence such as:

  • Witness statements
  • Doctors’ notes
  • Medical records
  • Photographs where appropriate.

We can also help you with ‘special damages’ to show any financial losses you’ve incurred, such as receipts for medical treatment or travel to appointments.

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Can I still make a claim if my surgery happened abroad?

You can still make a claim if your surgery happened abroad, but it may take more time. We may need to gather additional evidence such as travel documents, and we may need extra help with translators or international laws.

However, we go above and beyond to get you the compensation you deserve. Claims may take longer, but we will keep you informed throughout the process and settle your claim on a no win, no fee basis.

How do I pay for a surgical error claim?

You can pay for a surgical error claim through what is known as a ‘conditional fee agreement’. This is essentially a no win, no fee arrangement, which means you’ll only pay our legal fees if we win your claim. We handle the majority of our surgical negligence claims on a no win, no fee basis, so we will let you know in the unlikely event that you don’t qualify.

In some cases, you may be able to claim Legal Aid for a personal injury case. We can advise you on this, or you can contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

What are the time limits for making a surgical negligence claim?

You generally have three years from the date of the operation to make a claim. If you are diagnosed with a condition later on that you can prove was related to your surgery, then your claim time limit would be three years from the date of diagnosis.

There are some exceptions to this. Time limits for surgery abroad may vary depending on each country’s specific laws. If you’re claiming on behalf of somebody who has died or is ‘mentally incapacitated’ (for example, if they suffered brain damage), then there is no time limit. If you’re claiming on behalf of somebody under the age of 18, you have until their 18th birthday to claim, after which they can claim for themselves up until age 21.

We always advise you claim with us as soon as possible to help us gather the best evidence.

Why should you choose us?

100% No-Win-No-Fee

Contact us with the comfort of knowing you’ll never be at financial risk when you claim with us. We cover all legal costs, never charge upfront fees, and we only get paid if you do.

Advanced payments available

We understand how an accident can affect your financial position. We always look to collect an early compensation (interim) payment where possible.

We can take over your case

With legal specialists for every type of accident claim, we can take over your claim at any stage from another solicitors. We take pride in winning cases other firms turn down.

Frequently asked questions

What is the average pay-out for negligence?

There is no set compensation amount for surgical negligence as every claim is different. However, according to NHS Resolution, the average pay-out for clinical negligence claims is £50,000.

How long after surgery can you claim?

You generally have three years to claim after your surgery. In some cases, this limit may be longer. For example, if you were ‘mentally incapacitated’ then someone can claim on your behalf at any time. Those under 18 can have a ‘litigation friend’ claim for them up until their 18th birthday. It is always best to claim as soon as possible for surgical negligence as this helps us to gather the most accurate evidence.

Can you sue your surgery?

You can sue your NHS healthcare provider or private surgery for surgical negligence. If your claim is against the NHS, then your compensation will come out of NHS Resolution, a government scheme set up to protect the NHS in the event of clinical negligence cases. If your claim is against a private provider, then it will be paid for out of their public liability insurance.

Do hospitals pay for medical errors?

The hospital itself does not pay for medical errors, but rather their insurance provider. With private hospitals, this will come out of their public liability insurance, while with the NHS, this will come out of NHS Resolution. Suing the NHS will not affect NHS funds as NHS Resolution has been set up to protect them.

Why choose Express Solicitors for surgical negligence claims?

At Express Solicitors, we offer decades of experience settling surgical negligence cases just like yours. We have claimed millions of pounds in compensation for those who have been let down by their surgeon, and we offer specialist support for NHS claims, long-term healthcare and international claims. For a listening ear and expert advice, start your no win, no fee surgical negligence compensation claim with Express Solicitors today.

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