I have a visible scar beneath my right eye after surgery for eye bag removal. Is this sufficient to claim compensation for a cosmetic surgery error?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Answer:

There are several issues surrounding a claim for compensation for a cosmetic surgery error which need to be addressed before suggesting whether or not you could be entitled to compensation.

The first issue would be how long it has been since you underwent surgery. Scars from a blepharoplasty procedure can take up to six months to heal – although they are usually camouflaged by the natural creases of the eye during this time and not often noticeable at all. If it has been less than six months since you had surgery for eye bag removal, it would be difficult to make a successful claim for compensation for a cosmetic eye surgery error. If you have left it two years or more since surgery to enquire about a claim for a cosmetic surgery error, it is likely to be too late to make a claim as you will be time-barred by the Statute of Limitations.

The next issue which has to be considered in assessing whether you may be eligible to claim compensation for a cosmetic surgery error is whether you contributed to the scar developing by your own lack of care. There is a very strict regime that has to be followed after a blepharoplasty procedure which includes how you wash your face, how you exercise and even how you sleep. If you have not followed the instructions provided to you about aftercare, it may be considered that you have caused the scarring yourself or, at best, how much compensation for a cosmetic surgery error you receive will be reduced to reflect your contributory negligence.

Finally, your age and gender will have a significant influence on whether making a claim for a cosmetic surgery error is worth your while to pursue. Younger women will receive considerably more compensation for a cosmetic surgery error which has left a visible scar than older men. This is because the judiciary believe that women place a greater value on their outward physical appearance than men and because a younger person who has a visible scar will have to live with it for longer. Consequently, if you are an older man who underwent cosmetic surgery three months ago and failed to adhere to the aftercare instructions given to you, it is unlikely that a claim for a cosmetic surgery error will succeed.

As you can see, there are a number of factors which will contribute to your eligibility to make a claim for compensation for a cosmetic surgery error and therefore it would be to your advantage to discuss your personal situation with an experienced solicitor as soon as possible.