I have been told that it is possible to make unnecessary surgery claims for compensation, but who decides that surgery was unnecessary and how do you make a claim?
If you believe that you or a loved one have undergone unnecessary surgery, before considering unnecessary surgery claims for compensation, you should have an examination from a specialist in the field of medicine that you had your operation for to confirm that you have undergone surgery unnecessarily. Your GP should be able to refer you to the relevant specialist, but if he or she is unable – or unwilling – to do so, you should speak with a medical negligence solicitor at the first possible opportunity.
The importance of an examination by a medical specialist is not only to establish negligence in a claim for unnecessary surgery compensation, but you should ensure that there are no physical consequences of the unnecessary surgery which need to be addressed, and that no further surgery is necessary. For example, if you had the wrong tooth extracted, it could be considered unnecessary surgery, but you may have to undergo further surgery to have the correct tooth extracted.
Once it has been determined that you have undergone unnecessary surgery, unnecessary surgery claims for compensation are handled by a medical negligence solicitor. This is because, although negligence may have been established, the Injuries Board Ireland will not accept applications for any medical negligence claim where the resolution of the claim may be determined by medical opinion rather than tangible evidence.
Your solicitor will write to the person responsible for you undergoing surgery unnecessarily, advise them that you are claiming compensation for unnecessary surgery and, should your case be particularly strong, inviting the negligent party to make an offer of unnecessary surgery compensation. While waiting for a reply – the negligent party has 90 days in which to acknowledge your solicitor´s letter and inform them whether liability for your injury is accepted or denied – your solicitor will calculate how much compensation for unnecessary surgery you are entitled to based on the location of the surgery, the length of your recovery (during which you may be unable to work and could have suffered a significant deterioration in your quality of life) and whether further surgery is required.
If the negligent party accepts liability for your injuries, your solicitor will negotiate with their medical insurance company to obtain the maximum settlement of unnecessary surgery compensation on your behalf. If the negligent party denies their liability for causing you to undergo surgery unnecessarily, your solicitor will issue court proceedings which – as liability has already been established – is unlikely to result in a court case and the most probable outcome is that an out-of-court settlement will be agreed shortly before a court hearing is due to commence.
As compensation for unnecessary surgery is paid for by the negligent party´s medical insurance company, you need to be wary of approaches by the insurance company with an offer of settlement in respect of your claim for unnecessary surgery compensation. These offers are presented with the promise of a quick settlement, but without a full assessment of your claim for unnecessary surgery compensation, it is unlikely that the offer represents a fair and adequate settlement of compensation.
If short-term finance is a concern for you, you should speak with your solicitor who – once liability is acknowledged – will be able to apply for interim payments of compensation until such time as your claim for unnecessary surgery is completely resolved. Indeed, it would be advisable to speak with a medical negligence solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity to organise an examination by a medical specialist and establish that you have a claim for unnecessary surgery compensation which is worth your while to pursue.