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You may be able to claim compensation if you have been injured by a mistake made before, during or after surgery.
Our specialist medical negligence solicitors help people to make claims for themselves or their children. We also assist when someone does not have the mental capacity to make a claim for themselves or if someone has died due to an error.
We understand that no amount of money can change what has happened to you. However, compensation claims can help to alleviate some of the ongoing financial pressures caused by errors in surgery. Pursuing a claim can also sometimes help you to get the answers or apology you need to move forward.
Get in touch today and tell us about your situation. Every case is different and we will take the time to listen to what has happened to you and what support you want.
What is surgical negligence?
Surgical negligence happens when you suffer harm due to an error or substandard care during or related to surgery.
It may be that an operation has been done incorrectly, the wrong operation is completed, mistakes are made during surgery or the surgery or care you received is not at an acceptable standard.
Surgical negligence cases involve things like:
- avoidable nerve damage or injury to internal organs
- retention of surgical instruments and swabs (failure to remove them before sewing up the wound)
- a longer period of recovery due to avoidable complications and unexpected consequences
- psychological trauma following awareness and pain during an anaesthetised procedure
- avoidable infection
- incorrect surgery such as amputation of the wrong limb
- failures to properly explain and warn of risks to allow informed consent for surgery
- failures to provide proper aftercare or instructions following surgery
- failures to properly assess your suitability for surgery.
Surgical negligence claims can arise in relation to all sections of medicine, including cancer, gynaecology, orthopaedic (related to the musculoskeletal system), paediatrics (care of children), obstetrics (birth, pregnancy and postpartum care) neurology (brain care).
Am I entitled to surgical negligence compensation?
You may be entitled to compensation if surgery or related care were not of an acceptable standard and that led to you suffering in a way you would not have done otherwise.
You could be able to make a claim on behalf of someone who does not have mental capacity (such as someone with a learning difficulty, brain injury or who is in a coma) or a child. It is also possible to make a fatal injury claim where someone has died due to negligence.
All surgery should be carried out in accordance with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines and to a standard that should be achievable by a reasonably competent and skilled healthcare professional – as judged by other similarly skilled professionals.
Surgery usually carries risks and you should be fully informed of these before an operation to allow you to give informed consent. For emergency procedures this may not be possible.
If you suffered an unintended consequence of surgery that you were warned about and which was unavoidable, it is unlikely to be seen as negligence. If there are outcomes you were not warned about or that would not have occurred if the surgery or related care were properly carried out, you may be entitled to compensation.
Cases where compensation may be due include:
- when an operation failed and it should not have done if carried out by a reasonably qualified person
- where anaesthetic caused harm or an allergic reaction that could have been avoided or appropriate steps were not taken when that happened
- where a loved one died during an operation and should not have done
- cases where you were not warned of the risks of an operation
- the wrong operation was carried out
- secondary damage was caused (such as a cut to another organ) and it was not a reasonable risk of the procedure.
If you are concerned that your surgery was not carried out properly or that you have been harmed due to mistakes in surgery or other medical care, contact a solicitor for advice.
You are entitled to find out more about the care you were given and to get explanations. If you are not happy with the answers you are getting about your surgery, a solicitor is likely to be able to help.
FRANK HAD A RIGHT HIP REPLACEMENT BUT SUFFERED ONGOING PROBLEMS AND IN 2012 WAS TOLD THAT HE NEEDED HIP REVISION SURGERY.
£60,000 compensation for Frank* following hip replacement revision surgery mistake
We secured £60,000 compensation for Frank when a mistake was made during a revision operation following hip replacement surgery.
The surgeon who operated on Frank’s hip failed to remove the ‘cement restrictor’ which resulted in his new hip being positioned incorrectly.
This led to Frank being at greater risk of a femur (thigh bone) fracture and with worse mobility than he had before the operation. He suffered weakness in his leg, which gave way on occasions, needed to use a walking aid outside of the house and could only drive short distances.
How much compensation will I get for a surgical negligence claim?
This all depends on what harm is done as well as the financial implications of it.
You will receive a higher level of compensation if the error means you need to pay for carers for a long period or life, house adaptations or will be unable to work due to the error, for example.
A compensation claim is made up of two elements: Special damages and general damages.
Special damages are unique to each case and require you working with your solicitor to identify the specific financial costs and losses your injury has or will cause you. Your special damages claim will be for the total of that amount.
General damages are payments to compensate for your pain and suffering and are based on Judicial College guideline amounts.
Relevant general damages guidelines for surgical compensation could include:
- loss of reproductive organs in a man: more than £144,420
- infertility in a woman with associated distress: £107,810 to £158,970
- failed sterilisation leading to an unwanted pregnancy: around £9,570
- moderately severe brain damage (with substantial dependence on others): £205,580 to £264,650
- loss of sight in one eye: £45,840 to £55,000
- paraplegia (paralysis to the lower half of the body): £205,580 to £266,740
- loss of a kidney: £28,880 to £42,110
- double incontinence: up to £172,860
- amputation of leg below knee : £91,950 to £124,800.
How long do I have to make a surgical negligence compensation claim?
Usually, the time limit is three years from the date of the negligence or you becoming aware of the negligence but there are some exceptions.
If the person involved has reduced mental capacity either due to the surgical mistake or for another reason, there is usually no time limit. In cases in involving children, you usually have until their 21st birthday.
Contact a solicitor for advice on the time limits in your case.
Can I sue a surgeon for negligence on a no win no fee basis?
It is usually possible to claim on a no win no fee basis, or you may already have an insurance policy which covers your legal costs.
We can advise you on the best way to make a claim without incurring charges.
Do get in touch.
More information about surgical claims
We’re happy to answer any questions you have about making a surgery negligence claim and to advise whether you may have a valid claim.
You can also find answers to many frequently asked questions on our guides and information page.
Contact us for friendly, free initial advice.
Speak to a Surgical Negligence Expert Now
We are very experienced in dealing with a wide range of injuries arising from surgical mistakes. Call now to speak to one of our dedicated team of surgical mistake solicitors.0800 044 8488