Tag Archives: plastic surgery expert witness

New study reveals 5 determinants of plastic surgery litigation cases

Introduction

A new study has revealed that not all litigated plastic surgery cases have an equal chance of ruling in favor of the defense or plaintiff. The study identified at least five different determinants which increase the chances of ruling in favor of one side or the other.

About the study

The study, titled ‘An Analysis of Malpractice Litigation and Expert Witnesses in Plastic Surgery’ (2017), was conducted by Paul Therattil et al. and reviewed 93 litigated plastic surgery cases from the Westlaw legal database. It analyzed them according to expert witness testimony, procedure type, alleged injury, and verdict, among other factors. Correlations were then drawn between these factors, in particular which of them led to rulings in favor of the defense or plaintiff.

What are the 5 determinants of litigated plastic surgery cases?

The following correlations were found:

1. Cases involving body contouring are more likely to rule in favor of the defendant

14% of the cases reviewed involved body contouring procedures. Of these, the majority of them were won by the defense side.

2. Cases involving breast surgery are more likely to rule in favor of the plaintiff

34.4% of the cases reviewed involved breast surgery procedures. Of these, the majority of them were won by the plaintiff side.

3. In general, rulings are more likely to be in favor of the defense

Out of the 93 cases reviewed, over 65% ruled in favor of the defendant.

4. Cases in which the plaintiff complained of pain or emotional distress were more likely to rule in favor of the plaintiff

In cases where the plaintiff reported symptoms of pain (14%) or emotional distress (11.8%), the ruling was more likely to be in their favor. Conversely, cases in which plaintiffs did not report such symptoms resulted in (on average) a ruling in favor of the defendant.

5. The parties which engaged plastic surgery expert witnesses were more likely to win

Perhaps it’s obvious, but the study found that the parties which engaged the expert witness services of a plastic surgeon were more likely to win. With regards to plastic surgery expert witnesses, the study stated:

“Expert witnesses serve as a critical part of the litigation process in medical malpractice cases, providing insight into the judge and jurors who may be unfamiliar with both the medical and specialty-specific aspects of the case. The concept of the expert witness within a field such as plastic surgery, where outcomes might be considered more subjective than in other surgical fields, has been a point of debate. Some have gone so far as to suggest having anonymous physician surveys to replace plaintiff expert witness testimony because of the high stakes and pressure to perform for paying clients” (Therattil et al. 2007).

Other interesting facts unearthed by the study

  1. Around 13% of plastic surgeons have open litigation cases against them.
  2. California (26.9%), New York (18.3%) and Massachusetts (7.5%) were the most litigious in terms of having the highest share of cases.

About Dr. Zaydon’s role as a Plastic Surgery Expert Witness

Dr. Zaydon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. He is also a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Zaydon serves as an expert witness on liability cases around the country. He has reviewed many cases and has served as an expert witness for both the plaintiff and defense. He is sought as an expert witness in these cases because of his experience and fairness. Read more about Dr. Zaydon’s role as a plastic surgery expert witness, Plastic Surgery Expert Medical Advisor, or about Plastic Surgery Peer Reviews and Plastic Surgery Independent Medical Evaluations.

expert witness

Study reveals that parties who engage a Board Certified Plastic Surgery Expert Witness are more successful in litigation

A study by Therattil et al. (2017) has revealed that those engaging in plastic surgery lawsuits are more likely to win their case if they have a Board Certified plastic surgery expert witness. It also revealed a growing number of lawsuits, plus that defendants have a greater success rate than plaintiffs.

Who did the study?

The study, entitled “An Analysis of Malpractice Litigation and Expert Witnesses in Plastic Surgery” was conducted by 5 authors: Paul J. Therattil, MD, Stella Chung, BA, Aditya Sood, MD, MBA, Mark S. Granick, MD, and Edward S. Lee, MD. It was published in the Open Access Journal of Plastic Surgery.

How was the study conducted?

The team reviewed legal cases from the Westlaw legal research database (Thomson Reuters, New York, NY), collecting all information regarding cases involving plastic surgery malpractice litigation. After removing duplicates, a total of 93 cases were included in the study. The cases were then coded according to categories such as year, whether the ruling was in favor of the defendant or plaintiff, and whether expert medical testimony was provided, among others.

What were the findings?

The study yielded several interesting findings:

1. The number of plastic surgery lawsuits is rising

Per the authors:

“The rate of malpractice litigation continues to increase yearly. Plastic surgeons are at especially high risk of facing malpractice claims, with recent studies demonstrating that the proportion of plastic surgeons facing malpractice claims each year is 13%.” (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5638964/)

It should be noted that this is the third highest with only neurosurgeons and cardiovascular surgeons being more likely to be sued.

2. Defendants were more likely to win

Out of the 93 cases reviewed, 61 ruled in favor of the defendant, 22 in favor of the plaintiff, and 10 resulted in settlement.

3. The average settlement for plaintiffs was over $1,000,000

In the 22 cases where the ruling was in favor of the plaintiff, the mean award was $1,036,469. The lowest award was $10,697 and the highest was $4,500,000.

4. The most litigious states (in terms of plastic surgery cases) were California and New York

Almost 27% of the cases were filed in California, 18% in New York, and 7.5% in Massachusetts. Florida was further down the list with 5.4% of cases.

5. The majority of cases were about breast augmentation

Over a third of all cases were about breast augmentation. In second place was liposuction (18.3%), then body contouring (14%), then facial rejuvenation (11.8%).

6. The higher the h-index of the plastic surgeon expert witness, the greater the chance of winning

Interestingly, defendants were more likely to engage plastic surgeons with higher h-indices. This perhaps explains that the defendants won more cases than the plaintiffs. H-index refers to the frequency and impact of an author’s publications. In other words, the higher the quality, and frequency, of publications by the plastic surgeon, the higher the chance of winning the case.

7. Board Certification makes a difference

The study also found that the defense was more likely to contract with plastic surgery expert witnesses who were Board Certified (82.9%), whereas plaintiffs were less likely to do so (64.7%). In other words, it seems that engaging with a Board Certified plastic surgery expert witness coincides with a great chance of winning the case.

What are the implications?

To summarize, it seems that, to increase the chances of winning a plastic surgery lawsuit, it is best to engage a Board Certified Plastic Surgery Expert Witness.

Further information about Dr. Thomas Zaydon, Plastic Surgery Expert Witness

Dr. Zaydon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. He is also a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Zaydon serves as an expert witness on liability cases around the country. He has reviewed many cases and has served as an expert witness for both the plaintiff and defense. He is sought as an expert witness in these cases because of his experience and fairness. Read more about Dr. Zaydon’s role as a plastic surgery expert witness, Plastic Surgery Expert Medical Advisor, or about Plastic Surgery Peer Reviews and Plastic Surgery Independent Medical Evaluations.

How can I find a good Plastic Surgery Expert Witness?

Whether you are an attorney, an employer, or a patient, finding a good plastic surgery expert witness is not always easy. First of all, what constitutes “good”? To answer this, you may want to read our plastic surgery expert witness page. Second, what tools or resources are available to find such plastic surgeons? This blog post aims to connect you with 4 resources which may be helpful.

1. Google (Google.com)

Let’s face it – we use it to find almost everything. And that includes plastic surgery expert witnesses. For example, if you Google “Plastic Surgery Expert Witness Miami”, you will find Dr. Zaydon. The advantage of using Google is that it is quick and easy. Plus, it even provides reviews to give you an idea of the popularity of the doctor. However, it should be noted that these reviews can be written by anyone and therefore are not a direct reflection on the doctor’s ability as a plastic surgery expert witness.

2. SEAK (SeakExperts.com)

Seak is a great tool for finding expert witnesses of all specialties, including plastic surgery. The entire website is devoted to listing – and categorizing – expert witnesses. You can search by name, area, and specialty. It gives you a great variety of specialists, including a brief overview of their experience / biography. For example, here is Dr. Zaydon’s SEAK profile page.

3. ALM Experts (ALMExperts.com)

ALM experts is another directory and as such is similar to SEAK. It also lists experts of many fields, including plastic surgery. One of the great features of this site is its “Verdict Search” tool. It gives you the ability to read past testimonies by the doctors on previous cases. Understandably, for attorneys this is very useful and interesting information, as it may reveal any potential bias of any of the doctors. Dr. Zaydon is very proud of his objective testimony history, which is a result of his application of a code of ethics to all expert witness testimonies. Read more about the importance of ethics or view Dr. Zaydon’s ALM Profile.

4. JurisPro (JurisPro.com)

JurisPro is another directory which lists doctors who provide medical-legal services to attorneys. The site caters exclusively to attorneys, which helps to ensure that the information provided on the profiles is the type of information which attorneys need (e.g. specialty, CV, education etc). For example, here is Dr. Zaydon’s JurisPro Profile.

About Dr. Zaydon

Dr. Zaydon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. He is also a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Zaydon serves as an expert witness on liability cases around the country. He has reviewed many cases and has served as an expert witness for both the plaintiff and defense. He is sought as an expert witness in these cases because of his experience and fairness. Read more about Dr. Zaydon’s role as a plastic surgery expert witness, Plastic Surgery Expert Medical Advisor, or about Plastic Surgery Peer Reviews and Plastic Surgery Independent Medical Evaluations.

workers compensation plastic surgeon

Workers Compensation Plastic Surgeon – Does Workers Compensation cover plastic surgery?

Workers Compensation Plastic Surgeon – Does Workers Compensation cover plastic surgery?

It may sounds strange to hear the words “workers compensation plastic surgeon” in the same sentence together. After all, when we think of “plastic surgery” we conjure up images of botox, face lifts, and breast enlargement / reductions. And how or why would workers compensation insurance ever be willing to pay for these procedures? However, there are actually many other types of work related injuries which do indeed require plastic surgery. But what are they?

What types of work related injuries require plastic surgery?

In short, any accident which happens at work and affects the skin, hands, or face may be the type of injury which requires a workers compensation plastic surgeon. Here are some specific examples:

Burns

Let us take for example an employee working in a fast food restaurant. If he or she is cooking french fries in hot fat – and somehow the hot fat comes into contact with his/her skin for a sufficient period of time – it may result in serious burns. Depending on the severity of the burn, it may become a permanent scar. The severity of this scar can be reduced thanks to treatment by a plastic surgery. Burns can also be electrical or chemical burns. Likewise, if these occur in a workplace setting, then they usually fall under the category of a workplace accident and are subsequently covered by the employee’s workers compensation insurance.

Cuts / lacerations

In this example, let us imagine an employee working in an industrial factory utilizing an assembly line with machinery. Even though safety standards have improved considerably over the years – and the work of risk managers has to be commended for this – workplace accidents may still occur. The employee could hypothetically slip and place a part of his body too close to a machine leading to a cut or laceration (or perhaps even more severe injuries). Again, having occurred at work, this would likely be considered a work related injury and would subsequently be covered under workers compensation insurance. In order to reduce the severity of the scar, a plastic surgeon may be required.

 

Why choose a plastic surgeon who is experienced with workers compensation cases?

Anyone who has worked in the workers compensation healthcare industry will know that work comp cases are not exactly the same as regular cases. First and foremost, the insurance is different (work comp insurance is used instead of medicare or the patient’s private plan). In Florida, the adjuster and/or nurse case manager can in general control the direction of care, so the patient usually sees the doctor which his/her adjuster refers him/her to. This different system – combined with all the paperwork (e.g. the DWC-25 Form in Florida) and the psychosocial factors of the case can make things more complicated. Therefore, a workers compensation plastic surgeon who has experience with this system (for example how to complete a DWC-25 Form, in the case of Florida) makes the progress of a case better and smoother for both the patient and his/her workers compensation carrier.

Workers compensation cases can also become litigated when there is a disagreement between the employee and the employer or the employer’s workers compensation carrier. In such cases, it is even more useful to have a workers compensation plastic surgeon who has experience as a plastic surgery expert witness. In the state of Florida, being an Expert Medical Advisor is also an asset, as it enables a doctor to be called upon to give testimony or an expert medical opinion in the case when two other doctors are in disagreement about a case.

Workers compensation plastic surgeon Miami – Dr. Thomas Zaydon

Dr. Zaydon has many years of experience working as a plastic surgeon on workers compensation cases in Miami, statewide, and nationally. In addition to being Board Certified and Fellowship Trained, he is also an Expert Medical Advisor in Florida.  

Dr. Zaydon earned his medical degree from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Graduating with special honors, he also served as Chief Resident in plastic surgery at the Louisiana State University.   He is a noted author of numerous articles and chapters on various aspects of plastic surgery. Currently, Dr. Zaydon is chief of plastic surgery at Mercy Hospital in Miami, Florida.
Read more about Dr. Zaydon and his work as a workers compensation plastic surgeon.

 

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