First Personal Injury

First Personal Injury

January 17, 2012 09:06 ET

Personal Injury Implications of the Silicon Scandal

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Jan. 17, 2012) - Over the years, cosmetic surgery, in particular breast implants, have become increasingly popular. However, in recent months focus has shifted from the seemingly glamorous world of cosmetic surgery to that of fear and anxiety for thousands of women across the globe and leading to questions whether these women are entitled to file personal injury claims.

It was found that the French company, Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) who specialised in the manufacture of breast implants, had been using a non-authorised silicone gel that caused abnormally high implant rupture rates. The firm's products were banned in 2010 after it emerged that rather than using medical grade material that had passed safety tests for use in the human body, PIP had been using industrial grade silicon that is commonly used in the manufacture of mattresses. The rupture rate is thought to be around 5%.

Should the implants be removed?

Authorities in France, Germany, Czech Republic, Holland and Venezuela have recommended removal of the implants. In the UK however, a review led by NHS Medical Director Professor Bruce Keogh concluded that "on the basis of the information we have, we do not think it is necessary to recommend the routine removal of these implants."

Who will pay?

The French Government have agreed to pay for the removal of the implants of the 30,000 French women affected. However, for the 40,000 British women that have been affected, things are not so clear. The Health Secretary for England, Mr Andrew Lansley, says private clinics that fitted the implants have a moral duty to remove them whereas Sally Taber, Director of the Independent Healthcare Advisory Services (IHAS) says it members are "as much a victim of this fraud as the NHS and the patients."

On the 11th January 2012, the Harley Medical Group announced that it would not be replacing implants free of charge as they simply didn't have the resources, surgeons or operating facilities necessary. The Healthcare Secretary subsequently announced that the NHS would pay to remove, but not replace, implants if a private clinic refused or no longer existed.

With the government position seemingly unclear, women are more anxious and confused than ever.

Are these women entitled to compensation?

Later this month it is thought that a group of around 200 British women will be applying for a group litigation order. Proceedings are to be brought as consumer claims against the clinics that fitted the implants on the grounds that they did not do what they promised and were in breach of contract.

Depending on the circumstances, women may also be in a position to bring a personal injury claim. They can claim not only if their implants have ruptured but also for the pain and suffering of having their implants removed as a precautionary measure, as well as the psychological problems associated with this. The limitation period for personal injury cases is 3 years from the date of knowledge therefore it is in your interest to act quickly.

Alison Evans, a Solicitor for First Personal Injury states:

"This scandal is clearly of great concern to all those with PIP implants. Those who had the surgery did so in good faith with the belief that the materials used would be safe. It naturally follows that there should be tighter regulation in the future to prevent this situation arising again. Companies who offered the PIP implants could have a duty to pay compensation to those affected under Consumer Protection legislation and we are currently investigating this possibility."

About First Personal Injury

First Personal Injury is a leading personal injury specialist solicitors based in the North West and acting on behalf of claimants nationwide.

First Personal Injury have a wealth of experience in dealing with personal injury matters and are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority as well as being accredited by the Law Society and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers. Most cases are conducted on a 'no win, no fee' basis. First Personal Injury's goal is to ensure that Client's receive the best possible advice whilst maximising their claim and ensuring they receive 100% of their compensation.

For further information and to find out if you can make a claim, please contact First Personal Injury free and confidentially on 0800 014 1629.

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