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Can I Sue a Plastic Surgeon for Medical Malpractice?

on  Medical Malpractice

If you’re considering plastic surgery in the Sunshine State, you’re not alone. Florida is a popular destination for those seeking cosmetic enhancements. In fact, according to the Palm Beach Post, Floridians Google numerous plastic surgery terms daily, including Brazilian butt lifts, tummy tucks, hair transplants, liposuction, and nose jobs. However, like any medical procedure, plastic surgery carries risks; unfortunately, things can go wrong. 

If you find yourself in a situation where you believe you’ve been a victim of plastic surgery malpractice in Florida, you might wonder, “Can I sue a plastic surgeon for medical malpractice?” 

The answer is yes! In many situations, you can sue a plastic surgeon in Florida for medical malpractice. However, medical malpractice laws in Florida are complex and often changing. For this reason, you need to consult with an experienced Florida medical malpractice attorney at Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys, PA. We can help you explore your legal options and gather the evidence needed to prove malpractice. 

What is Plastic Surgery Malpractice?

Plastic surgery malpractice occurs when a plastic surgeon’s negligence or deviation from the standard of care harms the patient. This harm can include physical injuries, emotional distress, or unsatisfactory results. It’s essential to understand that not every unfavorable outcome constitutes malpractice. Your legal team must prove that the surgeon’s actions deviated from what a reasonably competent plastic surgeon would do.

How Can You Prove Plastic Surgery Medical Malpractice?

To successfully sue a plastic surgeon for medical malpractice in Florida, you must establish four key elements:

  1. Duty: The plastic surgeon owed you a duty of care.
  2. Breach of Duty: The surgeon breached that duty through negligence or incompetence.
  3. Causation: The breach of duty directly caused your injuries or damages.
  4. Damages: You suffered physical, emotional, or financial harm.

Central to any plastic surgery malpractice case is proving that the surgeon deviated from the accepted standard of care. This standard represents the level of skill, care, and diligence that a reasonably competent plastic surgeon would employ in similar circumstances. Establishing this deviation is complex, often requiring expert testimony to demonstrate how the surgeon’s actions or decisions departed from what is considered acceptable within the medical community.

In essence, your medical malpractice lawyer must show that another competent plastic surgeon, faced with the same patient and circumstances, would have pursued a different course of action, likely resulting in a more favorable outcome. This involves a meticulous examination of medical records, expert opinions, and a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies of the specific procedure in question.

Special Considerations After Plastic Surgery Malpractice

As a branch of medical practice, plastic surgery is slightly different when evaluating the potential for medical malpractice. Understanding the specific factors that could significantly impact your case if you are contemplating suing a plastic surgeon.

Informed consent is fundamental in all medical procedures, including plastic surgery. You have a right to make an informed choice, starting with understanding the plastic surgery procedure you’re signing up for. Your plastic surgeon must take the time to inform you about your surgery’s risks, benefits, and alternatives. You must fully understand these aspects and voluntarily agree to the procedure.

Once your plastic surgeon has reviewed the procedure, the potential complications, and expected outcomes, they must document this informed consent in your medical records. If a plastic surgeon fails to obtain informed consent or withholds crucial information, it can be considered a breach of duty, which is a critical element in a medical malpractice case.

Expected Outcomes vs. Actual Results

Plastic surgery often involves aesthetic improvements, and patients have specific expectations regarding their appearance after the procedure. It’s important to distinguish between unsatisfactory results due to the inherent risks of surgery and those resulting from negligence or incompetence.

Patients should have realistic expectations about the results of plastic surgery. Surgeons are responsible for discussing these expectations during the consultation. Surgeons should communicate openly with patients about the potential limitations of the procedure and any factors that might affect the outcome.

If the actual results significantly deviate from what was reasonably expected, and this deviation is attributed to the surgeon’s negligence, it can be a basis for a medical malpractice claim.

Follow-up Care and Postoperative Complications

Postoperative care is a critical phase in the plastic surgery process. Proper monitoring and management of post-surgical complications can significantly impact a patient’s recovery and overall satisfaction with the procedure.

Plastic surgeons must provide appropriate postoperative care, including monitoring for complications and addressing them promptly. Infections, hematomas, seromas, and other postoperative complications are common in plastic surgery. The surgeon’s response to these issues is crucial.

If a surgeon fails to provide adequate follow-up care or address complications negligently, it may constitute a breach of duty and contribute to a medical malpractice claim.

Common Types of Plastic Surgery Malpractice

While often elective, plastic surgery carries inherent risks that competent medical professionals must carefully manage. Unfortunately, there are instances where these standards of care are not met, resulting in serious harm or dissatisfaction for patients.

Here are the most common types of plastic surgery medical malpractice claims:

  • Surgical errors
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Failure to monitor properly
  • Wrong site surgery
  • Infection and post-op complications
  • Breast surgery/augmentation errors
  • Nose job errors
  • Foreign objects left inside the body during surgery
  • Failure to obtain informed consent

Plastic surgery procedures can potentially result in life-threatening complications. When a physician fails to perform these procedures competently and by accepted standards of care, patients may encounter substantial risks, including:

  • Disfigurement
  • Scarring
  • Sudden Caving or Drooping of the Site
  • Skin Irregularities like Discoloration
  • Pneumonia
  • Adverse Reactions to Anesthesia
  • Infection
  • Paralysis
  • Excessive Bleeding
  • Death

Assessing Your Plastic Surgery Case

If you wish to sue a plastic surgeon for potential malpractice, our law firm will begin by assessing your case carefully. This process involves gathering evidence and understanding legal time constraints. Once we assess your case, we can help you explore your legal options and the timeline for reaching an agreement. 

Gathering Evidence of Malpractice

Your medical records serve as a foundational piece of evidence. Our law firm will request copies of all relevant medical records, including preoperative assessments, consent forms, surgical notes, and postoperative records.

We will also need to gather expert opinions from board-certified plastic surgeons or other medical professionals in the same field. These experts can assess your case, determine if malpractice occurred, and provide testimony if needed. Medical experts provide unbiased assessments based on medical standards and practices.

If there were witnesses to your surgery or events surrounding it, their statements can be valuable evidence. These witnesses may include medical staff, family members, or friends. Witness statements should be credible and objective, recounting facts accurately.

Statute of Limitations

Understanding the statute of limitations in Florida is critical in any potential malpractice case. This legal time constraint determines how long you must file a lawsuit after the alleged malpractice occurred or was discovered.

Florida’s medical malpractice statute of limitations is established under Florida Statute 95.11(4)(b). According to this statute, you are granted a two-year window from the date of the incident that led to the malpractice claim to initiate legal proceedings.

However, the statute also extends this timeframe by two years from when you either discovered the incident or should have reasonably discovered it through diligent efforts. In essence, if you don’t immediately realize you’ve been a victim of malpractice, the countdown for the statute of limitations only commences when you become aware of the issue or should have reasonably known about it.

Statute of limitation laws are complex; even if you think you missed the deadline, you may still have time to file a claim. That’s why it is important to talk to an experienced Florida medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible after your injury. 

Compensation in Plastic Surgery Malpractice Cases

Plastic surgery, while often elective, carries inherent risks, and patients place their trust in the hands of medical professionals to keep them safe. Unfortunately, malpractice in plastic surgery does occur, leading to physical, emotional, and financial suffering for patients. When this occurs, you can seek compensation for economic, non-economic, and punitive damages in certain circumstances.

Economic Damages

Economic damages, often called “special damages,” constitute the quantifiable financial losses that a patient incurs due to plastic surgery malpractice. These damages are relatively straightforward to calculate, as they involve tangible expenses and losses. Common economic damages in plastic surgery malpractice cases include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Follow-up treatment or rehabilitation
  • Lost income
  • Surgical costs
  • Loss of future earnings

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are more challenging to quantify as they aim to compensate for the emotional and psychological toll that malpractice can take on a patient’s life. Non-economic damages may include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement and scaring
  • Loss of enjoyment in life
  • PTSD, anxiety, and depression
  • Loss of consortium

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are a less common form of compensation in plastic surgery malpractice cases. They are intended to punish the responsible party for gross negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct. These damages are not solely focused on compensating the victim but serve as a deterrent to prevent future instances of similar misconduct.

To secure punitive damages in a plastic surgery malpractice case, your attorney must demonstrate that your surgeon’s actions were not merely negligent but amounted to a willful or reckless disregard for your safety and well-being.

To discuss your case and the compensation you’re entitled to, call our law firm immediately. We can answer your questions and help you obtain the money you deserve and need to put your life back together again after suffering from plastic surgery malpractice. 

Plastic Surgery Medical Malpractice Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I sue a plastic surgeon for a bad outcome, even if it’s not necessarily malpractice?

Yes, you can sue for a bad outcome, but it’s essential to consult with an attorney to determine if it meets the criteria for medical malpractice.

2. What if I signed a waiver before the surgery?

Signing a waiver does not absolve a surgeon of negligence. If there was malpractice, a waiver may not protect them.

3. How much does it cost to hire a medical malpractice attorney?

Florida medical malpractice attorney Prosper Shaked works on a contingency fee basis, meaning he only gets paid if you win your case. Consultation fees vary, so inquire during your initial meeting.

4. Can I sue a surgeon for emotional distress resulting from a cosmetic procedure?

Yes, if the emotional distress directly results from the surgeon’s negligence or malpractice.

Contact Our Florida Plastic Surgery Medical Malpractice Lawyers

If you believe you’ve been a victim of plastic surgery malpractice in Florida, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your plastic surgeon. Suing a plastic surgeon for medical malpractice can be a complex process. That’s why speaking to an experienced Florida medical malpractice lawyer immediately after your injury is important. 

At Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys, PA, we are here to help you through this difficult time. We know how to hold negligent and reckless plastic surgeons accountable. We offer free case consultations to anyone injured by a negligent medical professional. Call Prosper Shaked today at (305) 694-2676 or fill out our confidential contact form.