A Guide to Claiming Minor Surgery Injury Compensation
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a minor surgical procedure injury we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a minor surgical procedure injury and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.
As well as operations in theatre, surgical (or invasive) procedures include interventional radiology, interventions related to natural childbirth and interventions performed outside of the surgical environment e.g. central line placement in ward areas.
Any such procedures may carry certain inherent risks and these should always be fully explained to the patient before being performed. For instance where there is a risk that certain organs may be cut or damaged during major internal surgery, then the consequences of this happening should be raised with the patient beforehand.
Once a patient has a proper understanding of the risks and the complications that may arise he may give his clear consent to the operation.
Do I have a minor surgery 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 a minor surgery injury claim expert on 0800 612 7456.
A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.
You can also find out if you have a claim with our Online Claim Checker.
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.
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.
Is risk unavoidable?
Every patient is entitled to expect a reasonable standard of care in the treatment provided to them by healthcare staff and this includes avoiding risks and rectifying errors or incidents if they do occur.
If a mistake was made such as an organ being cut or damaged during surgery and this was not an inherent risk, it may be said that the standard of care has fallen below what was expected and there has been a breach of duty .
What if an inherent risk occurred but was not rectified?
If a patient does incur injury it should be expected that any problems be rectified at the time, even where the risk is inherent.
Healthcare professionals may fail to identify that damage has been caused or neglect to rectify the situation, causing problems for the patient.
When may claims be brought for medical negligence?
All surgical procedures come with some risk. Wound infections and scarring can occur without any medical negligence having taken place. Similarly, dissatisfaction with the results may be no-one's fault.
If it can be demonstrated that the medical professional was negligent in his care of the claimant and that suffering was caused as a result, then the claimant may be able to pursue a claim for medical negligence.
In the case of a patient receiving minor cuts and injuries during a surgical procedure a claim may be brought where one of the following has occurred:
- He was not informed of the risk of such an incident occurring
- He was not informed of the extent of the damage that such a risk could cause
- Inherent risks were not spotted where they should have been done
- Inherent risks were not rectified at the earliest opportunity
Any medical negligence can have a detrimental effect on a person. A procedure that was expected to improve health and well-being may instead have become a source of pain or poor health or psychological trauma.
The amount of money you could claim for your minor surgery injury will depend on:
- the extent 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 minor surgery injury has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.
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 a minor surgery 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 a minor surgery 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 a minor surgery injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your minor surgery injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.
See the injury table above for some examples.
Will I have to pay tax on my minor surgery injury compensation?
If you receive financial compensation following a minor surgery injury injury, specific legislation ensures that you do not have to pay tax on it. This is the case no matter whether the compensation is received as a lump sum or as staggered payments.
I can't find my injury in the table, can I still claim?
The table is a list of the most common injuries associated with a minor surgery injury claim. You can see the full list of injury awards here: Judicial College Injury Tables.
Minor surgery injury compensation calculator
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a minor surgery 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 minor surgery injury claim could be worth now:
How long does a minor surgical procedure injury claim take?
How long it can take to settle a minor surgical procedure injury claim can vary considerably.
For example, a simple uncontested medical negligence claim might be concluded in 12 to 24 months. However, if court proceedings are necessary the process might take a few years. On average a medical negligence claim takes between 12 and 36 months. For more information on how long your claim could take, see:How long will my claim take?
Will I still be able to claim for a minor surgery injury after the law changes in April 2020?
The law relating to personal injury claims is changing in April 2020.
You will no longer be able to claim no win, no fee compensation using a solicitor for lower value claims (under £5,000).
In addition, compensation for whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries will be reduced.
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your minor surgery injury claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to 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.
How does no win, no fee work?
With a no win, no fee agreement (referred to as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA') you can make a minor surgery injury claim without having to pay upfront legal fees. If your minor surgery injury claim is unsuccessful you won't have to pay any money to your solicitor.
No win, no fee guarantee
If you have been injured and it wasn't your fault, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of claiming compensation for your minor surgery injury.
What do I pay if I win my minor surgery 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%. Your solicitor will agree a success fee with you before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my minor surgery injury claim?
If your minor surgery injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees whatsoever. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
Can I get Legal Aid?
Legal aid is no longer available when making a personal injury claim, but a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win, No Fee) can reduce the financial risks of making a claim.
How can Quittance help?
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, 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, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.
Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:Call me back
if you can claim
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Minor surgery injury FAQ's
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 go to court?
Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.
Only a very small percentage (approx. 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 held in front of a judge, not a jury.
Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
Can I get an early compensation payment?
If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.
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.
Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert