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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.