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Can I sue my plastic surgeon for a horrible outcome?

Los Angeles, CA |

One month ago, I had cosmetic surgery (hairline lowering) and have experienced significant shock loss (hair falling out due to trauma) that my surgeon told me prior to the procedure should not fall out. I understand the statute of limitations in California for medical malpractice is 1 year (Is this correct?). He recommends I wait a few months to see if it grows back, but at this point, I barely trust him with the results I have now. I feel he has destroyed my head, left an ugly scar, and the emotional distress I am experiencing is extremely painful.
I had to sign a waiver before the procedure stating that all legal proceedings will go to arbitration. What are my options now? Thank you.

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Attorney answers 3


If the question is CAN you sue, the answer is undoubtedly yes. The question of IF you should sue, I would need to know much more but would likely say no. It sounds you went through a horrible thing. But medical malpractice cases are some of the hardest cases to win without question. And when it is about a cosmetic issue, jurors are even harder to win over. If the waiver only requires arbitration that is not always such a bad thing. I spent 80 grand out of pocket on an trial on a medical malpractice case. If it would have been an arbitration, I would have spent less than 20 grand and probably would have won. And even if you prove the doctor "destroyed your head, left an ugly scar, and" caused you horrible emotional distress and pain and suffering, the most you can recover for that is $250,000.00 per the MICRA caps. While I think those laws are some of the most unfair laws on the books, they are what they are. Try shopping your case to several attorneys if you are serious. Make sure they know what they are doing and have done cosmetic-related medical malpractice cases before. I wish you the best of luck either way.

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I agree with the answer above that medical malpractice cases are difficult to prove. You must be able to show that the care you received fell below the standard of care of other similar physicians. To do this you must get another phyician to saythere was negligence. I would advise that you get your medical records and go get a second opinion to see if there was negligence and to find out if there is anything you can do to correct the situation? Then a demand letter o the physician can be made to he surgeon to see if it can be resolved. If there is an arbitration agreement, you will be bound by it. You can also consult with an attorney, especially if the secod doctor finds negligence. Good luck.

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in addition to the previous answer, to further elevate the complexity of your case yours is an "elective procedure", which adds a certain element of difficulty. If you can get a copy of the most recent edition of California Lawyer there is an excellent article on med mal/elective procedure cases. If you pursue this I strongly recommend an attorney who has experience in overcoming jury bias towards such.

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