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Surgical Error Claims | How Much Compensation Could I Receive?

By Lewis Cobain. Last Updated 10th June 2024. Welcome to our guide on surgical error claims. Surgeries and operations are rarely carried out without risk. There are few simple surgical procedures, if any, and they can be both invasive and difficult.

This is because even the most routine operations will require the patient to entrust their life to the surgeons involved. From the minor accidents to the biggest errors – described by the NHS as ‘never events’ – the lasting implications of surgical negligence can be huge.

Though major surgical errors are not common, they do happen. If you have been involved in a procedure in which an operation went wrong, you may be interested in mounting a legal claim. Unfortunately, surgical negligence cases can be complicated. You may require professional assistance. When seeking compensation for surgical errors, hiring the right law firm can make all the difference. With the aid of this guide, you may discover just how easy that process can be.

Surgeons performing a surgery in an operating room

If you’d like to learn about the key points from this guide, why not check out our video below:

Select a Section:

  1. Surgical Negligence Claims – How Much Compensation Could I Receive?
  2. What Are Surgical Error Claims And When Could I Claim?
  3. Examples Of Surgical Error Claims
  4. How To Prove A Medical Negligence Claim
  5. No Win No Fee Surgical Error Claims
  6. Helpful Links On Surgical Negligence Claims

Surgical Negligence Claims – How Much Compensation Could I Receive?

Surgical error compensation can contain up to two different heads of claim. The first, general damages, covers the physical and mental pain and suffering caused by the harm you’ve endured. 

For example, if you suffered damage to your digestive system in an operation gone wrong, general damages would cover the pain and suffering this has caused. 

Compensation for surgical errors also covers loss of amenity, which means loss of enjoyment. For example, if an error during brain surgery caused you to lose your sight and you could no longer paint as a hobby, you could potentially get compensation for this.

When this head of compensation is valued, the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) can be used as a reference. The JCG contains a list of guideline compensation brackets that correspond with different mental and physical injuries. 

Below, you can find some examples of these guidelines. Please be aware that the first entry has not been taken from the JCG.

Multiple Severe Injuries & Special DamagesVery SevereUp to £1,000,000+
Brain or Head InjuryVery Severe (a)£344,150 to £493,000
Brain or Head InjuryModerately Severe (b)£267,340 to £344,150
Brain or Head InjuryLess Severe (d)£18,700 to £52,550
KidneyPermanent Damage£206,730 to £256,780
KidneyLoss of One Kidney£37,550 to £54,760
ChestSevere£122,850 to £183,190
BladderSerious Impairment£78,080 to £97,540
BowelsFaecal Urgency and Passive IncontinenceIn the region of £97,530

You can also be compensated for the financial losses you experience because of the operation gone wrong. This kind of compensation is called special damages, and can help cover the cost of:

  • Prosthetics.
  • Mobility aids.
  • Prescriptions.
  • Childcare.
  • Travel.
  • Lost earnings.
  • Further medical treatment.

When making a claim for special damages, you will need to present evidence of these losses with documents such as invoices, bank statements and payslips.

To find out if you could make a surgical negligence claim, contact our team of advisors today.

Surgical instruments sit atop sterile gauze before surgery

What Are Surgical Errors And When Could I Claim?

Surgical errors occur when a surgeon or medical professional makes a mistake during surgery. While these errors can have serious consequences, not all will make you eligible to claim compensation.

In order to form the basis of a valid surgical error claim, you need to be able to establish negligence. For the purposes of a medical negligence claim, this means that:

  • A medical professional owed you a duty of care.
  • They breached this duty.
  • As a result, you suffered unnecessary or avoidable harm.

All medical professionals owe their patients a duty of care, including surgeons. To fulfil this duty of care, surgeons and other medical professionals have to make sure that the care they provide does not fall below a minimum standard. The General Medical Council (GMC) outline the steps that all medical professionals are expected to take in order to deliver an appropriate standard of care.

If you can prove that your surgical error was caused by medical negligence, you may be able to make a compensation claim. Contact our team of advisors today to learn more, or read on to get more information.

Examples Of Surgical Error Claims

In this section, we look at examples of surgeries that could result in surgical negligence claims.

As you can see in our list below, some of these errors are considered to be ‘never events’. These are serious incidents that are preventable due to guidance and safety recommendations. Never events are not necessary for surgical error claims. If you suffered unnecessarily due to surgical negligence, even if it was not a never event, you might be able to claim.

Examples of surgical errors include:

  • Unnecessary surgery could occur if you don’t need the surgery. For example, if a scan is misinterpreted to show a growth when there wasn’t one.
  • Minor surgery, such as that carried out as an outpatient, could result in infections without proper aftercare instructions.
  • Carpal tunnel surgery could be carried out on the wrong hand. This is known as wrong-site surgery and is considered to be a never-event.
  • Eye surgery could cause a severe loss of vision. You should be warned of any potential side effects of the surgery.
  • When having knee surgery, an instrument or other foreign object could be left inside the incision once it is closed. Like wrong-site surgery, this is also considered to be a never-event.

Call our advisors to discuss surgical compensation claims. They can give you free advice about the surgical error you suffered and assess the validity of your claim. If it seems eligible you could be passed onto one of our No Win No Fee solicitors.

A surgeon reaches for a surgical instrument while performing an operation

How To Prove A Medical Negligence Claim

If you suffered unnecessary harm due to a surgical error, you may wonder what evidence you could submit to help you prove a claim. In this section, we look at examples of evidence that could be useful in surgery compensation claims.

Your evidence must be able to prove that a medical professional owed you a duty of care and that their failure to adhere to it resulted in you suffering unnecessarily. Medical professionals owe their patients a minimum standard of care to prevent them from coming to unnecessary harm.

For example, wrong site surgery would be a breach in the medical professional’s duty of care. Wrong site surgery is an invasive procedure on either the wrong patient entirely or the right patient but the wrong body part.

Examples of evidence that could be useful in surgical error claims include:

  • Symptom diary. For example, you could document the lifestyle impact suffering a surgical error has had on your life.
  • Communications from the hospital in relation to the incident, such as letters or emails.
  • Any scans or X-rays. These could be from both before or after the incident.
  • Known allergies on your medical records. For example, you may have suffered an allergic reaction to the anaesthesia despite a written record of having a known allergy to a particular anaesthetic.

For more information about what evidence could help prove operations gone wrong, call our advisors.

No Win No Fee Surgical Error Claims

If you are interested in making a surgical negligence claim, one of our expert medical negligence solicitors may be able to help. Our legal team have years of experience in medical negligence claims, and work on a No Win No Fee basis. They do this by offering their clients a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).

Under a CFA, you generally don’t need to pay any fees to your solicitor in order for them to start working on your surgical negligence compensation claim. You also aren’t required to pay them a fee for their work if your claim doesn’t succeed.

If your claim does succeed, then they will deduct a success fee from your compensation. They’ll take this as a small percentage which is subject to a legislative cap. This cap helps to ensure that the majority of your surgical negligence compensation stays with you.

For more information on how our solicitors could help with surgical error claims, you can contact our team of expert advisors. They can evaluate your case, offer advice on your next steps, and potentially even put you in touch with one of our solicitors. Get started by:

An expert surgical error claims solicitor sits behind a desk with a wooden gavel

Helpful Links On Surgical Negligence Claims

Below, you can find more useful resources on surgical negligence claims.

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    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.

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