A Guide to Claiming Prolapse Surgery Compensation
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by prolapse surgery we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered prolapse surgery and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.
A pelvic organ prolapse can be a caused by childbirth, previous pelvic surgery or, rarely, through extreme exertion such as heavy lifting at work. The condition is not life threatening but it can affect an individual's quality of life.
Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when one or more of the pelvic organs prolapses, or bulges, into the vaginal wall. These organs include the uterus, bladder and bowel.
Do I have a prolapse surgery 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 prolapse surgery 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.
The amount of money you could claim for your prolapse surgery 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 prolapse surgery 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 prolapse surgery? (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 prolapse surgery 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 prolapse surgery will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your prolapse surgery 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.
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.
Prolapse surgery compensation calculator
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a prolapse 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 prolapse surgery claim could be worth now:
How long does a prolapse surgery claim take?
The length of time needed to secure compensation for prolapse surgery can vary considerably.
A straightforward liability accepted medical negligence claim can settle in 12 to 24 months. If the cases is particularly complex, it could take longer. Usually, a medical negligence claim should take 12 to 36 months. For more information on how long your claim could take, read:How long will my claim take?
Will I still be able to claim for a prolapse surgery 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 prolapse surgery 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.
Reasons for surgery
Surgery is typically offered if it is felt that the possible benefits outweigh the risks. Around 1 in 10 women will have surgery for a pelvic organ prolapse at some point in her life.
The most common type of surgery involves implanting a mesh device into the vagina to support the pelvic organs. However, some women have reported adverse health reactions after receiving an implant.
Anyone who has suffered complications after receiving prolapse surgery may be eligible make a medical negligence compensation claim.
Types of prolapse surgery
Most surgical treatment options aim to improve the positioning and support of the pelvic organs. Sometimes a synthetic (non-absorbable) or biological (absorbable) mesh is used to support the vaginal tissues and hold the prolapsed organ in place. Around 1,500 mesh implants are used to treat pelvic organ prolapse each year.
Positioning and support of the pelvic organs may also be achieved using a product known as transvaginal tape. Around 13,000 vaginal tape implants are used in the UK each year to treat prolapse and urinary incontinence.
Hysterectomy is a less common surgical option, but if the womb is prolapsed, removing it may deliver a better outcome for the patient.
Surgeons have a duty to recommend the type of treatment that is most suitable for the patient depending on the severity of prolapse, the age and health of the woman and whether she is planning to have children in the future.
Prolapse surgery and surgical mesh injury
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is investigating reports that some women are suffering serious health consequences after receiving mesh and transvaginal tape implants.
Complications that have been reported include:
- Protrusion of the mesh through nearby organs
- Mesh erosion, contraction or shrinkage
- Chronic and persistent pain
- Internal lacerations
- Vaginal discharge and bleeding
- Nerve damage
- Sexual problems
- Urinary incontinence.
Some women may require multiple revision surgeries to correct the problem. In some cases, the prolapse can return causing a significant adverse effect on quality of life.
Making a prolapse surgery claim
As a result of the complications that may arise, it is recommended that pelvic organ prolapse surgery should only be performed by specialist gynaecologists with experience in the surgical treatment of prolapse.
Doctors must also counsel patients before seeking their consent to the operation. Patients are entitled to receive information regarding:
- The risk of possible complications
- The uncertainty of long term results regarding the safety of mesh and tape products
- The chances of success with the use of mesh versus the use of other procedures
- Alternative treatment options.
A patient who is not given such advice and who suffers injury as a result may be eligible to make a compensation claim.
A claim may also be brought if there are errors in the way the surgery is carried out or if proper medical assistance is not given as a priority if things go wrong.
No win, no fee - the facts
'No win, no fee' means that if your prolapse surgery claim is unsuccessful, you won't have to pay your solicitor any money. Known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA', no win, no fee is a legal agreement entered into between you and a solicitor.
No win, no fee promise
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 a prolapse surgery injury compensation claim.
What do I pay if I win my prolapse surgery claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your compensation is awarded. 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 prolapse surgery claim?
If your prolapse surgery claim is not successful then you will not have to pay any fees. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
Is there a catch?
The Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) sets out the terms between you and your solicitor., No Win No Fee is a regulated activity and as such there should be no nasty surprises in the agreement. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you read the agreement carefully and ask any questions if you are unsure.
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:
if you can claim
to start a claim
Prolapse surgery 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