While cosmetic surgery results often meet or exceed expectations, sometimes, procedures don’t go as planned due to errors or negligence, leading to possible malpractice claims.

If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, one of the first questions you might ask is, How much is my case worth? Understandably, you might be searching online for average plastic surgery malpractice settlements. However, no two cases are alike, and many factors will impact what your case is worth.

Read on to learn more about cosmetic surgery negligence, factors that impact your case value, and how we calculate cosmetic surgery compensation.

Understanding Cosmetic Surgery Negligence

Cosmetic surgery negligence occurs when medical professionals fail to perform their duties to the required standard, causing the patient harm. This negligence can include errors during the surgery, improper post-operative care, or failure to inform the patient of all the risks associated with the procedure.

Malpractice in cosmetic surgery isn’t just about an unsatisfactory outcome; it involves demonstrable negligence that deviates from the accepted standard of care in the medical community. Proving this in court or during settlement negotiations requires clear evidence that the practitioner’s actions were directly responsible for the harm caused.

Why Cosmetic Surgery Cases Are Unique

Unlike standard medical procedures, cosmetic surgeries often carry an elective and aesthetic dimension that complicates liability and damages. Patients’ expectations and the subjective nature of ‘successful’ outcomes can influence the presentation and assessment of the case. Understanding these nuances is crucial for anyone considering a legal claim for malpractice during a cosmetic procedure.

Factors Influencing Settlement Values

Understanding the factors that impact the settlement value of your cosmetic surgery malpractice case is crucial to setting realistic expectations. These factors can vary widely from case to case but generally include the type and severity of the injury, the ease with which liability can be established, the calculated damages, and the provider’s malpractice insurance limits.

Type and Severity of Injury

The nature of the injury you sustained is a significant determinant of the value of your malpractice claim. Cosmetic surgery malpractice injuries can range from minor complications that require little additional treatment to severe disfigurement or lasting physical harm that requires extensive corrective surgery.

Generally, the more severe and life-altering the injury, the higher the potential settlement value. This injury severity also impacts noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, which are calculated based on the extent of physical and emotional distress caused by the injury.

Establishing Liability

Establishing liability is paramount for a successful cosmetic surgery malpractice claim. That involves proving that the surgeon or medical staff acted negligently or did not adhere to the standard of care required in their professional duties. Evidence can include surgical records, witness testimonies, and expert opinions that compare the defendant’s actions against industry standards.

Proving liability often hinges on demonstrating that the practitioner’s negligence directly caused the injury, which can sometimes be challenging, especially in cases where multiple post-operative factors could contribute to the outcome.

Calculating Damages

The potential financial compensation in plastic surgery malpractice settlements can be broken down into economic and noneconomic damages. Understanding these categories can help you anticipate the possible value of your claim.

Economic damages are the direct financial costs of the injury, including medical bills for additional treatments, lost wages if the injury affects your ability to work, and any future medical care needed. These are typically easier to quantify as they are actual expenses incurred or income lost.

Noneconomic damages compensate for the pain, suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and other intangible impacts of the malpractice. Calculating noneconomic damages is more subjective and varies significantly depending on the case’s circumstances.

However, California has a cap on noneconomic damages for medical malpractice cases. The cap will rise somewhat each year, but currently, it’s $350,000. If the victim passes away due to medical malpractice, the cap is currently $500,000.

Insurance Limits

Insurance coverage also plays a crucial role in determining the settlement amount. The defendant’s malpractice insurance policy limits may cap the amount that can be paid, regardless of calculated damages.

California is one of a few states that doesn’t require doctors to carry medical malpractice insurance unless they perform outpatient surgery. Many cosmetic surgery procedures are done on an outpatient basis, so your physician may have insurance. However, their policy’s limits might be low.

Steps to Take If You Suspect Malpractice

If you suspect that you have experienced cosmetic surgery malpractice, knowing what you do following the surgery can help strengthen your case.

  • Document the evidence. Keep a detailed record of all medical appointments, treatments, and communications with healthcare providers. Photos of your injuries at various stages can also serve as crucial evidence.
  • Seek a second opinion. Consult with another cosmetic surgeon. They can independently assess your condition and whether your initial surgery met standard medical practices.
  • Consult an experienced lawyer. A professional malpractice lawyer can offer an informed perspective on your case’s strengths and weaknesses and what compensation might be reasonable.

Navigating the complexities of a cosmetic surgery claim requires in-depth legal knowledge, particularly in cosmetic surgery cases where aesthetic outcomes and patient expectations play significant roles.

Contact Silva Injury Law

If you’re the victim of cosmetic surgery malpractice, contact Silva Injury Law immediately. Every moment is crucial in protecting your rights and pursuing the compensation you deserve. Our experienced team is dedicated to providing you with the personalized attention and aggressive representation needed to navigate these complex cases.

Let us put our decades of combined legal experience to work for you. Schedule a free consultation today. Let us evaluate your cosmetic surgery claim and help you decide on the best course of legal action. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about cosmetic surgery malpractice compensation claims to assist you further.

What Should I Do Immediately After Suspecting Malpractice?

Immediately document all evidence, seek medical attention to address any immediate health concerns, and consult a malpractice lawyer. Avoid discussing your suspicions or details of the case with anyone outside of your legal consultation.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?

In California, you typically have three years from the date of the malpractice or one year from the date you discovered or should have discovered the injury. Certain factors can impact the deadline, so speaking with a lawyer is crucial.

What Happens If the Surgeon Offers to Correct the Mistake at No Extra Cost?

Even if your surgeon offers to correct the mistake for free, you may still have a valid malpractice claim. Such an offer does not negate the damages you may have already suffered, nor does it necessarily address all potential compensation, such as pain and suffering or lost wages. Don’t agree to anything without speaking to a lawyer first.