Have there been successful cosmetic surgery malpractice lawsuits?
Yes. The mere fact that cosmetic surgery is usually considered an elective procedure does not change the liability rules -- and patients' rights -- that come into play whenever medical treatment is provided by a surgeon or other health care professional.
While the vast majority of cosmetic surgery procedures achieve satisfactory results for the patient, as with any other medical procedure, things can go wrong. And it isn't simply that the results were not what the patient was hoping -- or that they don't live up to what the doctor promised. In many cosmetic surgery medical malpractice cases, a mistake by the surgeon can have serious and permanent consequences.
Mistakes in cosmetic and elective surgery can range from temporary or permanent scarring and disfigurement, to nerve damage and loss of feeling or movement in the affected areas. Even more routine complications like infection and clotting can be dangerous if the problem is not identified and treated in time.
In order to bring a successful medical malpractice lawsuit based on an error that occurred during cosmetic surgery, you'll need to prove that:
1) Your surgeon failed to provide you with the level of care that a reasonably skilled surgeon would have given under similar circumstances, and
2) Your injuries or negative health effects were the direct result of that sub-standard care.
As with any other medical malpractice case, establishing the surgeon's liability will not be easy, and proving that malpractice occurred typically requires the testimony of a trained medical expert witness who has experience with (or professional familiarity) the type of procedure that led to the patient's harm.
If your medical malpractice lawsuit is successful, you'll likely receive a damages award that includes compensation for your medical treatment to correct the problem and get you back to full recovery, any lost income or other economic losses stemming from your injuries, and compensation for your pain and suffering and other negative effects of the malpractice. Although in some states, there might be a cap on the amount of damages you can recover. Learn more about damages in medical malpractice cases.
by: David Goguen, J.D.