Compensation for a Cosmetic Surgery Error

Can I claim compensation for a cosmetic surgery error if after a procedure I have been left with an asymmetric nose?

Answer:

Claiming compensation for a cosmetic surgery error is one of the most complex areas of Irish law for, in order to make a successful claim for cosmetic surgery error compensation, it has to be shown that the cosmetic surgeon in question displayed a poor professional performance “in the circumstances and at the time” which resulted in you sustaining an injury.

Rhinoplasty is generally considered to be the most difficult cosmetic procedure to perform successfully and, because the tissue structure of the nose differs from person to person, there are some people for whom a perfect nose is a medical impossibility regardless of the surgeon´s skill. Therefore, an examination should have taken place before you were accepted for cosmetic surgery to establish whether you were in fact a suitable patient.

You should also have had a consultation at least two weeks prior to a rhinoplasty procedure to warn you of the possible complications and, if you had neither a pre-surgery examination nor a consultation to advise you of the risks associated with rhinoplasty, you will already be eligible for compensation for a cosmetic surgery error on the basis of the surgeon´s pre-operation medical negligence.

Even if the pre-surgery examination was carried out and the risks explained, you may still be entitled to cosmetic surgery error compensation if it can be shown that fundamental medical errors were made during your surgery which resulted in an avoidable injury being sustained. In order to establish cosmetic surgery medical negligence, an expert rhinoplasty surgeon would be asked to examine your nose and determine whether “on the balance of probabilities” a cosmetic surgery error was responsible for the unsatisfactory result.

An asymmetric nose on its own will not qualify as an injury, however if the unsatisfactory result of your cosmetic procedure was attributable to medical negligence during the operation, you will be entitled to claim compensation for a cosmetic surgery error. You should also note that as the outcome of your compensation claim for a cosmetic surgery error will be determined by medical opinion, the Injuries Board Ireland will decline to process your application for assessment and you will have to pursue compensation for a cosmetic surgery error with the assistance of a medical negligence solicitor.

There are certain advantages of using an experienced medical negligence solicitor to make a claim for a cosmetic surgery error – not least that your solicitor will know the best rhinoplasty surgeons to examine your nose and establish whether medical negligence has in fact taken place. Your solicitor will also be able to compile the strongest possible case on your behalf to present directly to the negligent surgeon in order to get a quick resolution of your cosmetic surgery error claim.

Perhaps most importantly, your solicitor will be able to compile a claim for cosmetic surgery error compensation which includes compensation for the emotional trauma you have experienced and the cost of remedial surgery to revise the cosmetic surgery error. How much compensation for a cosmetic surgery error you receive – assuming your claim is successful – will also depend on your age and sex, as younger women are likely to receive more compensation for a facial disfigurement – no matter how temporary – than an older man.

You have two years from the date on which you are “diagnosed” with an injury which is attributable to medical negligence in which to make a cosmetic surgery error claim; and, even though it is not yet established that you have actually sustained an injury, it would still be in your best interests to speak with an experienced medical negligence solicitor at the first practical opportunity. The sooner your claim for a cosmetic surgery error is resolved, the sooner you will receive your compensation for the cosmetic surgery error and the sooner you can have revision surgery on your nose to repair the damage done by the negligent surgeon.