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Malpractice in Performing Cosmetic Surgery

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What Is Cosmetic Surgery?

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.
  • 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.

Photo of page author Kourosh Akhbari

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 09-04-2017 11:47 PM PDT

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