Surgical Negligence Claims Explained

In this guide, we will look at the surgical negligence claims process. To begin, we will outline the eligibility criteria for medical negligence claims.

surgical negligence claims

Surgical negligence claims guide

We will look at how you could be harmed unnecessarily in a surgical setting. Furthermore, this guide will explain some of the evidence you could use in support of a compensation claim.

Additionally, we will discuss how medical negligence claims are valued and look at how much compensation you could receive. Finally, we will explain the benefits of entering into a No Win No Fee agreement when working with a lawyer on your claim.

If you’d like free advice about the process of claiming, contact our advisors. They can advise you and, if you do have a valid case, they could put you in contact with one of the medical negligence solicitors from our panel.

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Who Could Make Surgical Negligence Claims?

Every medical professional owes their patients a duty of care; this means that the standard of care they provide cannot fall below a minimum level. If this duty is breached and you experienced avoidable or unnecessary harm or injury because of this, this is known as medical negligence. An example of this could be an operation gone wrong as a result of a breach of duty of care which then causes unnecessary harm.

Not all examples of harm will form the basis of a medical negligence claim. In an operation, harm is generally necessary in order for the procedure to be carried out. For example, you might need an incision in order for the operation to be carried out, which causes you pain and leaves you with a scar. This would not be claimable.

However if, because your surgeon breached their duty of care towards you, the operation failed which meant you needed to undergo another one, then this could be an example of negligence. This is because, but for the breach of duty of care, you would not have needed to have the other operation.

To find out whether you’re eligible to claim, contact an advisor today using the details above.

Time limit

The time limit for medical negligence claims is generally three years from the date of the surgical negligence that harmed you. However, in some cases, the time limit can run from the “date of knowledge”. This is the date you connected (or would have been expected to have connected) the harm you underwent with the surgeon’s breach of duty of care.

There are additional exceptions that can apply if the claimant is unable to pursue their own claim because of age or lack of mental capacity. To find out more about this, contact an advisor for free advice.

Types Of Surgical Negligence

Below, we have included some examples of how you could be harmed in a surgical setting:

  • A foreign body is left in you by the surgeon. This means that you need to undergo another operation to have it removed, which leaves you sore and unwell because of the anaesthetic and means you have an additional scar.
  • You suffer from a nerve injury because the surgeon uses the wrong tool to make an incision, resulting in a cut that is too deep.
  • Your surgeon performs a knee replacement on the wrong leg. As a result of this wrong-site surgery, this procedure is unnecessary and you need to undergo the operation again.

To find out more about when surgical negligence claims could be valid, contact an advisor today.

How To Prove Medical Negligence

An important part of building a claim is collecting evidence to prove medical negligence occurred. Steps you could take towards collecting evidence include:

In addition to this, something called the Bolam Test might be used in your case. In this test, a panel of medical professionals who are trained in the relevant field will be asked to state whether they think the duty of care was breached by the surgeon. If they say it was, this could support your claim.

Estimating Payouts For Surgical Negligence Claims

Successful surgical negligence claims could result in awards that are made up of special and general damages. General damages relate to for the unnecessary pain and suffering caused by surgical negligence.

If you’re wondering how much your claim could be worth, then it might be useful to refer to figures from the Judicial College Guidelines; this is a publication that solicitors use to help them value claims. The figures in the table below are taken from these guidelines; however, they are not guaranteed because each claim is unique.

Compensation Table

Injury SeverityBracketNotes
Kidney(a) Serious £169,400 to £210,400Permanent and serious damage to, or loss of, kidneys.
(b) Significant Up to £63,980There will be significant risk of future urinary tract infection or total loss of kidney function.
Bowels (b) Complete function loss Up to £150,110There is a total loss of natural function and depenence on colostomy.
(c) Persisting symptomsIn the region of £79,920Symptoms such as incontinence persisting after surgery with feelings of embarassment.
Bladder (b) Complete Up to £140,660A complete loss of function and control.
Digestive systemDamage resulting from traumatic injury (a) (i)£43,010 to £61,910Severe damage accompanied by continuing pain and discomfort.
Facial disfigurementVery severe scarring (a)£29,780 to £97,330The cosmetic effect of this injury is disfiguring and the psychological reaction is severe.
Less severe scarring (b)£17,960 to £48,420The disfigurement is still substantial and the psychological reaction severe.
Spleen(a) Loss £20,800 to £26,290The spleen is lost and opens the patient up to continual risk of internal infection because of damage to the immune system.
(b) Minimal £4,350 to £8,640The risks present in more serious cases are not present in this bracket, or are very minimal.

Examples Of Special Damages

Special damages aim to return you to the financial position you were in before you were harmed. It can reimburse you for any out-of-pocket costs you have had to pay because of your injury.

For example, you could be compensated for:

  • Costs of travel to and from medical appointments
  • Medical bills
  • Costs of care
  • Present or future loss of earnings.

To claim these damages, you will need to produce evidence of these costs. You should keep as much evidence as you can, e.g. bus tickets, medical bills and receipts for prescriptions.

To learn more about what your claim could consist of, speak with an advisor today.

Contact Us To Make No Win No Fee Surgical Negligence Claims

You could work with one of our panel of No Win No Fee medical negligence solicitors provided you have a valid claim. They could offer a particular kind of No Win No Fee agreement called a Conditional Fee Agreement.

With this agreement in place, you typically will not have to pay your solicitor any upfront fees to enlist their services. You will also not have to pay ongoing fees as they work on your case.

If your case is unsuccessful, you won’t owe anything to your solicitor for their services. However, a small percentage of your compensation (a “success fee”) will be deducted from your settlement if you receive compensation. This is capped by The Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013.

Start Your Claim

If you’re interested in finding out more about surgical negligence claims, then speak with an advisor today. They can give you free legal advice 24/7 and may be able to connect you with a medical negligence solicitor to begin your claim.

You can reach an advisor by:

Learn More About Claims For Surgical Negligence

We have provided further information below that might help you make surgical negligence claims.

Some more of our fantastic personal injury guides:

How Long Does a Medical Negligence Claim Take?

Medical Negligence Compensation Calculator Explained

Liposuction Negligence Claims Guide 

Some further resources that you could find useful:

Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice (CNSGP)

The duties of a doctor registered with the General Medical Council – ethical guidance

NHS guidance on anaesthesia

Our panel of personal injury solicitors have experience in handling surgical negligence claims. Contact an advisor today to find out if you could work with one of the solicitors from our panel on your case.

Guide by Arthur

Edited by Fern