Cosmetic surgery is a type of medical procedure that is intended to improve the physical appearance of a patient. Some common types of cosmetic surgery are eye-lifts, breast augmentation, face-lifts, liposuction, collagen injections, and rhinoplasty.
When Has a Cosmetic Surgeon Committed Malpractice?
In order to bring a medical malpractice claim, a patient must prove:
- There was a patient-doctor relationship.
- The surgeon owed the patient a duty to exercise a high standard of care that a reasonable surgeon would exercise in the same circumstance.
- The surgeon breached that duty by failing to exercise the accepted and expected standard.
- The surgeons breach was the actual or proximate cause of patients damages/injuries.
- The patient suffers an injury as a result of the surgeons breach.
What Duty Does a Cosmetic Surgeon Owe a Patient?
Like all medical professionals, the law imposes a higher duty of care on cosmetic surgeons. A surgeon must exercise the degree of care that a reasonable surgeon in a similar circumstance would exercise. When a patient-doctor relationship is established, the doctor has the following duties:
- Duty to possess the medical skill and knowledge required of a reasonably competent doctor would possess in the same field or specialty.
- Duty to exercise reasonable care, skill, and diligence as doctors and surgeons in similar field ordinarily exercise.
Possible Defenses to Cosmetic Surgery Malpractice
There are four generally accepted defenses a cosmetic surgeon can use when they are sued for malpractice:
- The cosmetic surgeon did adhere to the applicable duty and standard of care they owed a patient.
- The cosmetic surgeon's actions had no causal connection with patient injuries.
- The patient was negligent, meaning their failure to take care of themselves is what caused their injuries.
- A state statute limits medical malpractice lawsuits.
What Can I Recover in a Malpractice Lawsuit?
Along with any physical injuries that arise from the cosmetic surgery, a patient is generally entitled to:
- Economic losses
- Mental and emotional suffering
- Past medical costs
- Future medical costs
- Punitive damages in some cases
Sometimes a person who not a party to the surgery, such as a spouse or parent, can recover some special damages.
Do I Need an Attorney to Bring a Cosmetic Surgery Lawsuit?
Medical malpractice claims are very complex since doctors usually are unwilling to admit any errors and will challenge all medical malpractice claims. If you or a loved one have been injured by medical malpractice, you should speak to a personal injury attorney immediately to learn more about the value of your case and what types of recoveries are available to you.