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How Much Compensation Can I Claim For A Surgical Error?

By Lewis Cobain. Last Updated 10th November 2023. 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.

Whether it is the eyes, nose, stomach, legs, mouth, eye, head or back, surgery (and thus the attendant risk of error) can be carried out on almost all parts of the body. There are health conditions that can only be corrected through surgery. As such, surgical operations may be entirely unavoidable.

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.

Surgical Error Compensation

Surgical Error Compensation Claims Guide

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 Negligence Claims
  4. How To Prove A Medical Negligence Claim
  5. Make A No Win No Fee Surgical Error Claim
  6. Helpful Links On Surgical Negligence Claims

Surgical Negligence Claims – How Much Compensation Could I Receive?

If you have sustained injuries because of surgical negligence, you may be able to recover some of your losses if you pursue surgery compensation claims. An operation gone wrong may negatively impact your physical and mental well-being. If you determine that someone else was negligent and caused your injuries, you may have grounds for surgery negligence claims.

Solicitors also use compensation amounts from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to assist them while valuing general damages. This is the head of compensation that covers the pain and suffering caused by the harm you endured. The related injuries and corresponding compensation amounts in the table below are from the April 2022 version of the JCG. However, they are based on past court payouts and thus are only guides.

The top entry within this table has not been taken from the JCG.

Multiple Severe Injuries & Special DamagesVery SevereUp to £1,000,000+Multiple very severe injuries with compensation for special damages such as lost earnings and medical expenses.
Brain or Head InjuryVery Severe (a)£282,010 to £403,990Lack of ability to follow basic commands results in full-time nursing care.
Brain or Head InjuryModerately Severe (b)£219,070 to £282,010Serious disability is caused by the injury.
Brain or Head InjuryLess Severe (d)£15,320 to £43,060Usual functions may not be restored.
Neck InjurySevere (a) (i)In the region of £148,330
Severe intractable headaches are an ongoing symptom.
Neck InjuryModerate (b) (i)£24,990 to £38,490
Injuries limit activities and leave a markedly impaired function.
Neck InjuryMinor (c) (i)£4,350 to £7,890
A full recovery will take place within one or two years.
Face Injury - ScarringVery Severe (a)£29,780 to £97,330The mental health reaction to the injury is severe.
Face Injury - ScarringLess Severe (b)£17,960 to £48,420Any disfigurement is still significant.
Face Injury - ScarringLess Significant (d) £3,950 to £13,740There may be one or more scars that are very small.

Special Damages In Surgery Compensation Claims

Your surgical error compensation could also include special damages. This area of your compensation is aimed towards your finances and restoring them to the point they would have been at had the negligence not occurred.

For example, if you experienced a wrong-site surgery and your hand was wrongfully amputated, this may mean that you can no longer go to work. This could result in a loss of earnings, including pension contributions. In this case, you may be able to recoup these losses as part of your surgical error claim under special damages.

This head of claim could also help you claim back the cost of:

  •   Travel.
  •   Prescriptions.
  •   Over-the-counter medications.
  •   Childcare.
  •   Domestic help.

Much like with general damages, you must be able to provide evidence of your losses to claim under this heading. Because of this, it can be helpful to keep any invoices or receipts that are relevant to your case.

To learn more about surgery compensation claims, or to find out if you could be entitled to special damages, contact our team today.

What Are Surgical Errors And When Could I Claim?

Surgical errors occur when a medical professional accidentally causes a preventable injury during a surgical procedure or operation. All medical professionals have a duty to provide care that is not substandard or falls below the level of care expected of any healthcare professional.

To have an eligible surgical negligence claim, you must show that you suffered harm that could have been avoided due to a healthcare professional breaching their duty of care.

Furthermore, you must begin the surgical error claims process before the time limit expires. As outlined in the Limitation Act 1980, you usually have three years from the date you were harmed or the date that you became aware of the medical negligence. This is otherwise known as the date of knowledge.

It’s worth noting that there are exceptions to the surgery compensation claims time limit. Please don’t hesitate to speak to our advisors for more information. Furthermore, they could assess the eligibility of your specific case.

Examples Of Surgical Negligence 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.

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.

Make A No Win No Fee Surgical Error Claim

One of our No Win No Fee solicitors could help guide you through the surgery compensation claims process. They could help you with collecting sufficent evidence, making sure your claim is submitted within the time limit, and negotiating a compensation settlement for you.

By offering you a type of No Win No Fee agreement known as a Conditional Fee Agreement, you will not need to pay your solicitor for their work upfront, while the claim is ongoing, or if it fails.

Should they succeed with your surgical negligence claim, they will deduct a success fee from your compensation. This fee is a legally limited percentage.

For more information on how our solicitors could help with surgical negligence claims, you can contact our advisory team. They can be reached by:

Helpful Links On Surgical Negligence Claims

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

Thank you for reading our guide about surgical error 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.