Skin Lasering Negligence Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by cosmetic surgery negligence, we can help.
If your injuries were caused by the negligence of a doctor, nurse, midwife or other medical professional, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
Claiming injury compensation with a solicitor
You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a specialist clinical negligence solicitor.
Your solicitor will ask you about what happened, and they will collect evidence to prove the negligence happened. Your solicitor will also work out how much money you can claim, based on your injuries, lost earnings and other expenses.
We can help you make a medical negligence claim on a No Win No Fee basis.
In this article
The Department of Health recently estimated that the cost of cosmetic surgery in the UK would amount to 3.6 billion this year. Within this figure, non-surgical treatments, including laser skin resurfacing, account for 9 out of 10 procedures.
The practice is almost entirely unregulated and laser resurfacing-related clinical negligence can lead to injury such as burns, scarring and infection. The estimated cost to the NHS of inadequate cosmetic laser treatments is over 2 million a year.
Like all non-surgical skin procedures, laser skin resurfacing or rejuvenation carries inherent risks. These risks mean a procedure can result in a negative outcome through no fault of the practitioner. However, if you are harmed as the result of a laser treatment practitioner's negligence, it is likely that you can claim compensation.
Do I have an injury claim?
Medical negligence claims differ from personal injury claims as the following will need to be established:
- there was a breach of duty ("negligence" or "fault"); and
- the breach of duty was the cause of your injury, damage or loss ("causation" or "avoidable harm").
Breach of Duty
A breach of duty means that the standard of care you received was below the standard that could reasonably be expected of a competent healthcare professional.
To establish causation, it will need to be demonstrated that the injury you suffered resulted from the negligent care rather than the underlying condition.
Get an impartial opinion
To get impartial advice on whether you have a claim, speak to an injury claim expert on 0800 376 1001.
A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.
Is compensation always payable?
If an error occurred during treatment and the patient was harmed as a result, this may be referred to as an "undesirable outcome".
Not all treatment that results in an undesirable outcome will result in the payment of compensation.
Sometimes an undesirable outcome is due to a known risk associated with the treatment, or due to a mistake that a doctor could reasonably have made in the circumstances.
Do I need a diagnosis to make a skin lasering negligence claim?
If you have been injured and are awaiting the results, you should still seek legal advice as soon as possible. The sooner you start a skin lasering negligence claim after an accident, the more likely your claim is to succeed.
How long do I have to start a claim?
If your injury is apparent immediately after medical treatment, you will have 3 years to start a claim.
It may be that the negligent procedure happened more than 3 years ago, but your injury was only diagnosed recently, within the last 3 years. If so, you may still be able to make a claim.
What if your injury was diagnosed months or years after treatment?
You may not be immediately aware of your injury. In some cases, months and even years can pass before symptoms appear.
The law allows you to make a medical negligence claim up to three years after the 'date of knowledge' (when you first learned of the injury).
It is recommended that you start a claim as soon as possible, as medical negligence cases can be complex. Starting your claim sooner will give your solicitor more time to gather medical evidence, assess the extent of your injury and to negotiate interim payments and your final compensation amount.
What is the law relating to laser skin resurfacing?
Anyone can perform laser skin resurfacing, in any premises, provided that suitable approved and medically-regulated equipment is used. Although practitioners of laser skin treatments are required to register with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), practitioners are not classified as regulated.
Wider regulations such as the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 do apply and are enforced by Local Authority bodies, such as Trading Standards. Although Trading Standards will investigate whether a premises conforms to health and safety standards, the body has only limited powers to sanction practitioners who breach the regulations.
The law recognises laser surgery practitioners as 'beauticians' rather than medical professionals, however these practitioners do still have a duty of care towards their clients.
If a person carrying out a procedure breaches this duty, and a patient is injured as a result, the practitioner may be liable to pay compensation in the event of a claim.
The importance of negligence in laser skin rejuvenation claims
Proving negligence in laser skin rejuvenation cases can be difficult, particularly if the patient was warned of the risks prior to undergoing treatment.
For a claim to be successful, it must be shown that the person carrying out the treatment caused the damage through negligence, rather than the injury being the result of a risk inherent to the procedure. Alternatively, it a claim may still succeed if the injury was the result of an inherent risk, but one that the patient was not informed about.
What are the risks of laser skin resurfacing?
Laser skin resurfacing or rejuvenation involves using an intense beam of light radiation to remove the outer layers of skin and encourage new skin growth. It is typically used for removing wrinkles, tightening skin and improving the look of scars and pigmentation.
Risks in terms of injury include:
Not highlighting the risks prior to commencing treatment may amount to negligence. Other types of negligence commonly seen in these types of claims include:
- Inappropriate use or overuse of the laser e.g. by holding it to close or for too long on the skin
- Failure to properly assess a patient and their suitability for the treatment
- Use of unregulated equipment
- Inadequate health and safety procedures
What evidence is required to prove negligence?
Specific evidence is required to prove negligence in these types of claims. In particular, photographs are likely to be needed to show the visual extent of the injury.
A solicitor can arrange a medical assessment to determine the extent of the injury, and the likely prognosis. These two factors will help to determine an appropriate amount of compensation.
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
What can I claim for after an injury? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
What is the average injury compensation for an injury claim?
The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.
However, the money you would receive following an injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.
Should I set up a personal injury trust?
If you are receiving means-tested benefits and are awarded compensation following a skin lasering negligence injury, your benefits could be affected. In order to ring fence your compensation and protecting your benefits, you may be able to set up a "Personal Injury Trust" or "PI Trust". Read more: Should I set up a personal injury trust?
What if I am not yet sure of the extent of my injury?
If you have not yet sought medical attention, your solicitor will arrange a medical assessment for you ASAP. If you are awaiting test results, a claim can still be started. Once the extent of the injuries are known, the settlement can be calculated.
Calculate my injury compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an injury can be complicated.
Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.
Find out what your injury claim could be worth now:
- Instant accurate calculation
- Checks your right to claim
- Confirms No Win, No Fee eligibility
How long does a cosmetic procerdure negligence claim take?
The length of time needed to process a laser skin resurfacing negligence claim can vary significantly.
A straightforward liability accepted cosmetic negligence claim could be settled in 6 to 24 months. However, if court proceedings are necessary a claim can take considerably longer. Typically, a cosmetic negligence claim takes 12 to 36 months. For more information on how long your claim could take, read more:
How else can a solicitor help me?
Your solicitor will handle your injury claim from the initial FREE case evaluation, through to the financial settlement.
Your solicitor will work with other specialists to provide caring and sensitive support and help you with:
- Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
- Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
- Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
- Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. Solicitors settle the vast majority of claims out of court.
Less than 5% of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.
Cases that do ultimately go to court are decided by a judge or magistrate, not a jury.
Even if the claim does go to court, it is very unlikely you will have to attend.
No win, no fee
No win, no fee takes all of the risk out of making an injury claim. If your claim is unsuccessful, you won't have to pay your solicitor any legal fees.
Our no win, no fee guarantee
If you have been injured and someone else was to blame (even partially), our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making an injury compensation claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my injury claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, once your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my injury claim?
If your injury claim is not successful then you won't have to pay your solicitor any fees. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
How do personal injury solicitors get paid?
If your skin lasering negligence claim is successful, the defendant, or their insurer, will pay the compensation and your solicitors fees.
How we can help you
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning medical negligence claims.
If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open:
- 8am to 9pm weekdays
- 9am to 6pm on Saturday
- 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday
Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:
- Find out
if you can claim
- No obligation
to start a claim
Can I claim for someone else?
Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.
If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.
The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.
Will I have to visit a solicitor's office to start a claim?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. Personal injury claims are handled by email, post and phone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
I need the money now - what are my options?
If you are unable to work and have bills to pay, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is an advance on your compensation payment. Any amount you receive in interim payments would be deducted from your final compensation payment.
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor
About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.