People choose to get a facelift for all sorts of reasons, with the main reason being to appear younger, by reducing the appearance of wrinkles or loose skin.
So, it would certainly feel an injustice if you get unwanted results or a bad outcome after going through a facelift procedure, due to medical negligence.
In recent years, the number of individuals choosing to have this type of cosmetic surgery has been increasing. The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons reported that facelifts completed in 2018 alone rose by 9%.
With patients required to sign a consent form accepting there are some inherent risks associated with plastic surgery, many people are likely to be hesitant in raising a complaint after a botched facelift procedure.
However, if you have had a facelift (also medically known as a rhytidectomy) that went wrong as a result of the surgeon’s error, you may still qualify for financial compensation.
In this guide, you will discover more about facelift compensation claims, your rights and the steps you should take to make a claim.
I Signed A Consent Form. Can I Still File A Cosmetic Surgery Claim?
Generally, the NHS does not provide coverage for facelifts unless there are special circumstances. Therefore, usually, the only way to get this procedure done is at a private cosmetic clinic.
Even though you sign a consent form before going through the procedure and accept the risks that come with it, health institutions still owe you a legal duty of care.
This is the reason why cosmetic clinics in the UK have to register with the Care Quality Commission. Invasive cosmetic surgery and laser treatments are also regulated under the Care Standards Act 2008.
The regulatory body conducts annual inspections of every cosmetic clinic to ensure compliance with all laid out safety and quality rules. Clinics found at fault risk facing warnings, hefty fines, or even losing their operating license.
Therefore, the idea that you will be signing away your rights after giving consent for a facelift is a fallacy. The private clinic that you visit has a legal obligation to ensure you get the best care.
They should also carefully explain the facelift process to you, to make sure that you fully understand what will happen before going under the knife. If you incur an injury during the procedure as a result of medical negligence, the chances are that a personal injury solicitor may be able to process a facelift compensation claim for you.
What Are The Potential Complications For A Facelift?
As with any type of surgery, facelifts come with some degree of risk, which does not necessarily amount to medical negligence. For instance, it is normal to experience the following:
During the procedure, general bleeding will obviously occur, but the surgeon should be able to keep it under control.
Pain, swelling, bruising & scarring – Every patient can expect to experience these side effects right after the procedure. However, they should reduce and clear up over time with healing.
There is minimal risk for this as long as the facelift procedure is carried out in a sterile, surgically clean environment. However, infections could still develop due to a lack of post-op care.
You may badly react to anaesthesia during the operation or to anti-inflammatory drugs and pain meds administered during recovery.
Any discomfort should only last for a short while (typically several days) after the procedure.
If doctors and other medical staff at the cosmetic clinic did not inform you of any of these risks, then you could make a facelift compensation claim if any of the problems listed above occurred as a result of negligence.
Less Common Complications After Facelift Surgery
On the other hand, less common complications could also arise from facelift surgery. Issues that may develop after the procedure include:
This is a condition that occurs when blood leaks and pools under the damaged skin, thus causing a bruise.
If this occurs, you could experience loss of sensation on the face, tingling on the cheeks or lips, the inability to shut eyelids fully, or a facial droop. Often, these are signs that facial nerves might have been nicked, stretched or cauterised during the facelift.
Asymmetrical Facial Features
In some cases, a facelift that has gone wrong can result in a lop-sided appearance, which would likely require corrective surgery.
Ideally, a facelift done at a private clinic by a qualified and experienced surgeon should provide long term benefits with minimal discomfort.
However, if things go wrong, there is a high chance that mistakes were made. Therefore, complications that lead to long-term problems after a facelift present strong grounds to file a claim for compensation.
On What Grounds Can I Sue For Facelift Negligence?
Trying to file for facelift compensation just because you did not like the outcome could well be futile, especially if the procedure was successful with no complications.
The reason for that is because registered cosmetic surgeons are not allowed to make any guarantees with regards to end results. However, you could have a strong case if there were specific promises made by your surgeon that went unfulfilled. That could very well be the situation with unregistered surgeons who lure patients in using unrealistic promises to seal the deal.
Also, if you experienced harm as a result of a facelift procedure, then that forms a valid basis to make a compensation claim.
How Do I Prove Facelift Medical Negligence?
Proving medical negligence after going through a facelift can be really difficult, or fairly straightforward, depending on the facts surrounding a case. Ultimately, the onus is entirely on the claimant to demonstrate and prove that there was negligence, which resulted in injuries that were preventable.
For instance, you may have to provide evidence that the level of care offered by the clinic, where you had the procedure, was below the standard provided by other professionals.
A good example of this would be when poor post-op care is received, which then leads to avoidable complications.
Negligence may also be proven if your surgeon used a technique that other professionals would not attempt due to the risks involved.
Ultimately, you have to gather evidence to support a facelift compensation claim, which could be in the form of photos, witness statements, or literature on cosmetic procedures offered at the clinic.
It is also helpful to create a detailed record of events right from the initial consultation to the actual operation and post-surgery care.
If you had to go through corrective surgery after the facelift, then that could also serve as evidence to support your claim.
What Kind Of Compensation Can You Receive In A Facelift Claim?
A botched facelift procedure can have a negative impact on your quality of life in a variety of ways.
If you file a successful claim, the amount awarded as compensation can vary significantly, depending on the severity of complications and the financial burden you incur as a result of the injuries suffered.
However, there are two distinct areas of compensation that you can claim for in this type of cosmetic surgery negligence. These include:
1. General Damages
In this category, any mental trauma & psychological damage experienced due to the botched facelift is taken into account. For instance, a victim could develop anxiety, PTSD, or suffer depression due to the facial disfigurement resulting from a facelift gone wrong.
General damages also cover pain and suffering, and any loss of amenity (quality of life) including permanent disabilities if the injuries incurred are permanent.
2. Special Damages
On the other hand, special damages look at the financial losses incurred after the failed facelift.
For example, this may include travel expenses to the cosmetic clinic as well as medical fees for the operation, medications and any corrective surgery you had to pay for as an extra cost.
Loss of current and future earnings also falls under this category of compensation. That means that you can seek reimbursement if a failed facelift cost you employment opportunities as an actor or model etc, or for any prolonged time off work.
Facelift Compensation Claims: How To Make One
When it comes to filing facelift compensation claims, the first thing to do is to contact the cosmetic clinic that did the surgery and give them an opportunity to put things right.
To have an easier time when filing a claim, you can seek assistance from a personal injury solicitor that specialises in these types of claims.
After initial discussions about what happened, a personal injury lawyer should be able to advise whether it will be wise to proceed with the claim. Your solicitor can help you gather evidence and file your claim with the cosmetic clinic.
Once you log the complaint, the defendant can choose to settle out of court if negligence is irrefutable and they accept liability. However, if there is a dispute and the clinic or surgeon refuses to accept liability, then the matter would end up in court. A judge will then review all the evidence and make a ruling.
Should you have a strong case, most solicitors will take it on a No-Win No-Fee basis, meaning there will be no up front costs and any payment will be decucted from the settlement figure if your case is successful.
An experienced solicitor in this area of litgation should be able to help you and increase your chances of filing a successful facelift compensation claim.
If you would like to speak to an experienced claims advisor to discuss your case and get some free no-obligation advice, use our fast and easy online form to book your free, no obligation call.