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Justice On Your Side. Serving Savannah, Augusta, Atlanta and Beyond.

Can You Sue For Botched Plastic Surgery?

Each year in the US, millions of plastic surgeries are performed, with that number continuing to rise. People with large amounts of disposable income want to look younger or improve a part of their body they are unhappy with. While most plastic surgery procedures turn out well, some procedures do not. Botched plastic surgeries produce an undesirable result that is entirely avoidable, and the patient is left to live with this mistake for the rest of their life.

Types of Botched Plastic Surgery Procedures

A botched plastic surgery procedure occurs when:

  • The desired cosmetic result was not what the patient expected or was told they would expect
  • The patient is experiencing medical issues they had not previously experienced prior to the surgery, including:
    • Rhinoplasties (nose job) that produce excessive, persistent nasal drainage
    • Foreign objects that were not removed from the patient’s body
    • Patients who developed avoidable infections or infections that would have been detected during a follow-up appointment which led to sepsis, a severe infection that can result in shock, death, or an entire shutdown of various organs

There is a difference between procedures that result in unavoidable and common complications and procedures that were botched. Patients who experienced unavoidable and common complications cannot assume that their procedure was botched.

When a patient consents to surgery, their surgeon should advise them of any common and unavoidable complications before they go under the knife so that they can decide whether the benefits of the procedure outweigh the risks.

Medical Malpractice and Surgery

Surgical procedures are supposed to be conducted with care by a well-educated, professional physician. Still, there are times when patients receive care that doesn’t support their needs. Surgical malpractice is a type of medical malpractice where the physician doesn’t support the patient’s needs.

Surgical errors are preventable mistakes that are made during surgery. There is always an element of risk with any surgery, so patients will sign an informed consent document prior to the procedure stating that they understand the risks involved. There are situations where surgical errors can go beyond the typical risks of surgery and are often unexpected.

The Challenges of Cosmetic Surgery Lawsuits

  • Procedural Concerns – Surgical error is the most common cause of most cosmetic surgery medical malpractice cases (i.e., botched surgery). Other cosmetic surgery mishaps that may qualify for a malpractice claim include anesthesia complications, negligent injection of cosmetic drugs such as Botox, and post-operative infections.
  • Unskilled, Inexperienced Surgeons – The lack of experience needed to become a skilled surgeon and the lack of certification are other concerns that can come up in a medical malpractice case. Because cosmetic surgery is a massive moneymaker for surgeons, this can be a huge enticement for unqualified surgeons, as there is no health insurance paperwork to file or immediate payment.

If you plan on having some cosmetic surgery done, you should make sure that the surgeon performing the procedure is experienced and board-certified. While this won’t ensure that your outcome is successful, it will guarantee that a qualified surgeon with a good track record performs the surgery.

Legal Challenges

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to winning a cosmetic surgery malpractice case is that these types of surgeries are unnecessary, elective procedures that are strictly voluntary.

Unnecessary Surgery

Juries will believe that the patient should not blame the surgeon if the procedure goes awry because they wanted the surgery to enhance their image. Therefore, they will often side with the surgeon instead of the plaintiff in many cases.

Even if the patient is not successful with their case, a jury will award significantly fewer damages than a plaintiff in a typical surgical malpractice case. According to some attorneys, the explanation for this is that juries are often unreceptive to the plaintiff’s claims because it was their decision to have the procedure done and be partially responsible for the damages.

Partial Jurors

Some jurors punish cosmetic surgery malpractice victims for agreeing to a procedure that was not required for their health. These types of jurors may not show the same empathy as they would in a standard medical malpractice case.

On the other hand, some jurors may have had successful plastic surgery themselves and believe that the plaintiff’s experience should have been as positive as theirs was. They will blame the plaintiff for not understanding the risks of cosmetic surgery, being too demanding of their surgeon, or selecting an inexperienced cosmetic surgeon.

You would think that the judge would remove any juror for bias if they have significant issues with cosmetic surgery claims, but that is not always the case. Litigants are supposed to have an unbiased jury, but what usually happens is that the jurors will say that they can judge the case fairly because they believe that at the time. Their prejudices won’t come into play until after they hear the evidence.

How An Attorney Can Help

An attorney who specializes in handling medical malpractice cases will be able to answer any questions you may have regarding whether surgical errors classify as medical malpractice. From a procedural and legal standpoint, these cases can be quite complex. However, if you have an attorney on your side with experience settling medical malpractice claims in your state’s legal system, your chances will exponentially increase. 

Contact The Eichholz Law Firm

The Eichholz Law Firm has many years of experience handling surgery lawsuit cases. For more information and to schedule a free consultation, call our legal team at (855)-551-1019 or fill out an online contact form.

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