Advice On Claiming Compensation For An Operation Gone Wrong

If you need surgery to cure a medical problem, you need to put all of your faith in the surgeon and their team. While a large proportion of operations are successful, sometimes mistakes do happen. If they do, and you suffer an avoidable injury during the operation, you may wish to seek damages for your pain and suffering. In this guide, we’re going to explain when you could claim compensation for an operation gone wrong. We will look at what problems can arise during surgery, why a surgeon could be held liable for your injuries and what amounts of compensation could be paid.

Claiming compensation for an operation gone wrong guide

Claiming compensation for an operation gone wrong guide offers free support for anybody who is considering starting a claim. We’ll begin by reviewing your case on a no-obligation basis. During your consultation, you’ll receive free legal advice on your next steps. If the claim appears to have strong grounds, you could be connected with a medical negligence solicitor on our panel. If they accept your claim, it will be managed on a No Win No Fee basis.

For more information on claiming for a surgical error, please read on. Otherwise, when you’re ready to talk about your claim, please call 0161 696 9685 to get the ball rolling.

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A Guide On Claiming Compensation For An Operation Gone Wrong

It is quite well known that most forms of surgery contain some level of risk. In fact, your surgeon will usually explain them to you before you agree to proceed. In most cases, treatment is successful, and the patient makes a full recovery. But what happens if an operation goes wrong? Well, that’s the question we’ll try to answer throughout this claim. We’ll also try to answer these common questions:

  • Can you sue if an operation goes wrong?
  • What to do if a surgeon makes a mistake?
  • How much compensation do you get for medical negligence UK?

Essentially, a medical negligence claim might be possible if you have been injured, or made ill, following negligence during surgery. Proving such claims can be very complex though. That’s because not only do you need to demonstrate that the surgeon breached their legal duty of care, but you’ll also have to show that other medical professionals would’ve acted differently in the same situation.

Due to the complexity of medical negligence claims, we would advise you to have specialist legal representation on your side. There are two main elements of your claim that a lawyer could help with. Firstly, they can present the evidence to help prove that the surgeon was negligent. Once liability has been agreed upon, the next step is for your lawyer and the defendant’s legal team to agree upon a compensation amount.

As we continue through this guide, we’ll show you what compensation awards could be paid for certain injuries. We’ll also explain how you could claim financial expenses or losses that have been caused by your injuries.

Once you have finished reading this guide, please feel free to contact our team. We can help you to start a claim and provide free advice about what to do next.

Calculating Compensation For An Operation Gone Wrong

We would like to show you some example compensation amounts in this section. Obviously, we can’t show every injury that could be caused by negligent surgery here. Therefore, don’t worry if you can’t see an injury that matches yours, we could still help you claim.

The figures in our compensation table are taken from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). Legal professionals, insurers and courts will usually refer to the JCG to help work out compensation settlements. We should say that, as every claim is different, you should use these figures as guidance. Once your claim has been reviewed thoroughly, we should be able to offer a more detailed estimate for you.

Injury TypeSeverity RangeCompensation RangeFurther Information
Brain DamageModerately Severe£205,580 to £264,650Claimants in this category will be seriously disabled. That means they will rely on other substantially and require constant professional care.
Paraplegia£205,580 to £266,740The amount awarded in this category will be determined by the amount of pain; degree of independence; life expectancy and age; depression; impact on sexual function.
NeckModerate £23,460 to £36,120Fractures or dislocations that result in immediate and severe symptoms. These injuries may also necessitate spinal fusion.
ArmAmputation£90,250 to £102,890A below the elbow amputation of the arm. Symptoms will include severe organic and phantom pains.
BladderUp to £132,040Where there is a complete loss of bladder control and function.
SpleenLoss£19,510 to £24,680This category applies if the loss of the spleen leads to a high risk of disorders and internal infection due to damage to the immune system.

During the claims process, you will be asked to attend a medical assessment (held locally). That’s because you need to demonstrate how severe your injuries were to try and ensure you receive the correct level of compensation. At your appointment, an independent medical specialist will examine you. They will usually ask questions about how your injuries have affected you too. Finally, they may refer to your recent medical records.

Once the meeting has finished, the specialist will provide feedback about your injuries in a report sent to your solicitor.

Calculating Other Damages You Could Claim

In the last section, we looked at compensation that could be awarded to cover the pain caused by your injuries. On top of that, you might also claim for financial losses or costs associated with your injuries. This part of your claim is called special damages. Dependent on how you’ve been affected, you could claim for:

  • Medical expenses. While remedial treatment is usually free on the NHS, you might have to pay for prescription costs. Therefore, you could claim these costs back.
  • Travel costs. If you have to pay for fuel, parking, or other travel-related costs linked to medical appointments, for instance, you could be entitled to claim them back.
  • Care costs. These could be claimed if you needed support with daily tasks during your recovery. They could include professional carer’s fees or an amount to cover the time a relative spent supporting you.
  • Lost income. During your recovery, it is possible you might need time off work to recuperate. If that’s the case, and it means you lose income, you could add the loss to your claim.
  • Future lost earnings. Some injuries can affect your capacity to work for the long-term. If that happens, and you have to change your job, reduce your hours or stop working altogether, you could seek a compensation payment to cover your future lost income.
  • Home adaptations. For more serious injuries that result in a disability, you might need to make changes to your home. If these changes result directly from your injuries, you could ask for the cost to be covered by your compensation.

What Is A Surgical Error Or Operation Gone Wrong?

Surgical errors that could lead to a compensation claim are those which result in an avoidable error. They can cause both physical and psychological injuries that could last for some time.

To be eligible to claim compensation, you will need to demonstrate that there was:

  • A breach of duty. This means the treatment you received was below the level that could be reasonably expected by a competent medical practitioner.
  • This means you can prove that your injury or illness resulted directly from the negligent treatment rather than another underlying condition.

If you have a valid claim, you could be compensated for any pain, suffering or losses caused by the negligence.

What Are Surgical Never Events?

The NHS defines a never event as a serious incident that is wholly avoidable. The reason they should not have happened is because of defined NHS procedures designed to prevent mistakes.

Examples of mistakes listed in the Never Events list 2018 include:

  • Wrong-site surgery.
  • Retained foreign objects post-procedure.
  • Administering medicine by the wrong route.
  • Wrong implant/prosthesis.

If you’ve been the victim of a never event, we could help you start a claim for any suffering caused. Please call our team if you’d like free advice on your legal options.

What Could Be The Impact Of An Operation Going Wrong?

As we have explained earlier, most surgical procedures are carried out correctly and result in a positive change for patients. However, on occasion, things can go wrong and can cause serious ongoing problems.

Mistakes can be caused by negligence, incompetence, genuine mistakes, a temporary lapse or an oversight. Whatever the reason, they can cause issues that can be life-changing.

For example, a patient could suffer physical problems which prevent them from being able to work again. Similarly, psychological issues can have an impact on the way in which the patient manages their relationships with others.

While not all surgical errors entitle you to claim compensation, you should consider your options. If you believe that a surgeon, anaesthetist or nurse have breached their duty of care towards you, then you may wish to pursue a compensation claim. If that’s the case, why not let us review the case with you? A specialist advisor will examine your evidence on a no-obligation basis. If they believe your claim is strong, they could refer you to a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel.

Things That Could Go Wrong During An Operation?

There are several ways that surgical operations can go wrong. They include:

  • Anaesthetic errors. If the anaesthetic is not managed correctly, the patient could suffer avoidable pain during their treatment.
  • Procedural mistakes. You could be entitled to claim if you suffer because the surgical team fail to adopt the correct procedures during your treatment.
  • Wrong treatment. In some cases, unnecessary surgery could cause you to suffer because the wrong medical condition was diagnosed.
  • Failure to diagnose. You might suffer avoidably if a surgeon fails to diagnose an additional problem during your surgery.
  • Foreign objects. As described in the never events section, sometimes medical equipment is left inside the body after treatment. This could include clips, swaps and other surgical equipment. As well as the initial pain this could cause, you could suffer more pain because extra surgery is required to retrieve the item.

If you have suffered as a result of these errors (or any others besides), please call our team today. We will review your options with you and provide advice on how to proceed.

Wrong Site Operation Injuries

If a surgeon performs a procedure on the wrong part of the patient’s body, it is called ‘wrong site surgery’. It is one of the never events defined by the NHS.

Prior to any surgery, the patient should be told exactly what procedure will be performed. A surgical safety check-list should be completed by a clinical lead as well. The part of the body that is to be treated should be clearly marked before the procedure is attempted. Also, the surgical team should have knowledge of the procedure including any concerns that the patient has indicated. All of these things should help to ensure the correct body part is treated.

If wrong-site surgery does take place, there can be a physical impact on the patient. For instance, it could have an impact on their life expectancy. Also, there could be a significant psychological impact too. In addition, the fact that the correct body part was not treated means that the patient’s underlying condition could worsen due to a delay in treatment.

For free advice on claiming for wrong-site surgery, please call our team today.

Unnecessary Operation Injuries

There are many reasons why you could claim for the harm caused by unnecessary surgery. They include:

  • Where the medical condition is misdiagnosed. This can mean inappropriate or unnecessary surgery is performed.
  • If the wrong procedure is carried out. For example, if only a partial hip replacement is carried out but a full one is required. This could mean further surgery is required later on.
  • Failure to obtain informed consent from the patient.
  • Failing to look for non-surgical methods of treatment. For instance, if a hysterectomy is performed for fibroids but the intrauterine hormone system wasn’t considered.

We could help you begin legal action for any suffering caused by unnecessary or inappropriate surgery. If you would like to know more about how we could help, please call our team today.

Negligence Causing Operations To Go Wrong

We have reviewed many different types of negligence that could cause an operation to go wrong. To summarise, the following forms of negligence could all lead to a compensation claim:

  • The wrong operation being performed.
  • Foreign objects that are left inside the body after surgery.
  • Where the wrong prosthesis or implant are used.
  • Misplaced feeding tubes.
  • Surgery carried out on the wrong body part.

To reiterate, you could be entitled to claim for any suffering caused by medical negligence. You will need to prove that the surgeon breached their duty of care and you suffered as a result. As we have explained, doing so can be very tricky. We would always advise having specialist legal representation for medical negligence claims.

If you’d like to claim compensation for an operation gone wrong, why not call our team today? An advisor will walk you through the process during your free consultation. You’ll be given legal advice about your chances of being compensated. If the chances are strong enough, we could appoint a medical negligence solicitor from our panel to represent you. If the case is taken on, it will proceed on a No Win No Fee basis.

Preventing Operations From Going Wrong

Mistakes could happen during surgery. After all, surgeons are only human. However, what’s important is that processes and procedures are put in place to stop the same type of mistake from happening again.

Many claimants proceed because they don’t want anybody else to suffer in the same way as they did. That means that additional training should be provided where necessary. Additionally, safety procedures should be reviewed and implemented to help reduce the risks.

These types of procedures are used to try and prevent never events in clinical settings. For instance, check-lists might need to be completed before surgery begins or equipment may need to be checked to try and ensure that an overdose of medication doesn’t happen.

Operation Gone Wrong FAQs

In this section, we are briefly going to provide answers to some common questions.

Can you sue if an operation goes wrong?

If it can be shown that the surgeon breached their duty of care and their negligence caused an avoidable injury, then you could be entitled to claim.

What happens if an operation goes wrong?

You should speak to an advisor from our team. They’ll assess your case for free, review the evidence, and explain if you have a valid compensation claim.

Time Limits In Which To Claim For An Operation Gone Wrong

Normally, you’ll have 3-years from the date of your surgery to make the claim. However, if you don’t find out about your injuries until later on, the 3-years will start from the ‘date of knowledge. For clarification on the time limit that applies to you, please call our team.

No Win No Fee Compensation For An Operation Gone Wrong

As we have explained, medical negligence compensation claims can be tricky to prove. You might therefore worry about the cost of hiring a solicitor to support you. To remove some of that worry, and to reduce your financial risks, our panel of solicitors work on a No Win No Fee basis for all claims that are taken on.

When the solicitor contacts you, they will need to review your case to check its chance of success. If they accept your claim, they’ll provide a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) for you. The CFA is the contract that explains under what circumstances the solicitor will be paid. It will also make it clear that:

  • You are not asked to pay any upfront charges.
  • There will be no solicitor’s fees payable during the course of your claim.
  • If the claim is lost, you are not liable for any solicitor’s fees whatsoever.

The only time your solicitor will be paid is if they win compensation for you. If that happens, they’ll keep a percentage of your settlement amount to cover their costs. This is detailed in the CFA as a success fee which, by law, is capped to prevent overcharging.

A member of our team will advise you if you could claim on a No Win No Fee basis once your case has been reviewed. So, why not get in touch using the number above today?

Contact Us

We’re coming to the end of this article about claiming for suffering caused by a surgical error. We’d love to help you if you’re thinking of starting a medical negligence claim. If you would like to speak to us today, you can:

  • Call our free advice hotline on 0161 696 9685 and speak to a specialist.
  • Begin your claim by filling in this online enquiry form.
  • Ask an online specialist for advice in our live chat channel.

Our claims line is open 24-7 so please feel free to call whenever it is convenient.


Thank you for reading this article on claiming compensation for an operation gone wrong.  In our final section, we have provided you with a list of resources that may come in handy during your claim. If you need any additional details, please feel free to contact an advisor on the number above.

Duties Of A Doctor – Information from the General Medical Council on what standards a doctor should adhere to.

Complaining About The NHS – This article explains the steps you’ll need to take if you want to complain about NHS services.

Care Quality Commission – You can read inspection reports about any medical establishment that’s been inspected by the CQC.

To show what other types of claims we could help you make, please see some of our guides below.

Unfair Dismissal – Information on how employment law solicitors could help you claim for unfair dismissal.

Suing The NHS – Details on when you might be able to sue the NHS for medical negligence.

Broken Rib Claims – This guide shows when you might be able to claim for a broken rib injury.

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Published by AL.