PIP IMPLANT CLAIMS - LEGAL UPDATE
Samantha Hannon of Slee Blackwell’s PIP Implant Action Group reports on recent developments
Our offices are continuing to receive a high volume of new PIP implant compensation enquiries from all over the UK. With an estimated 50,000 women in Britain being affected, there is no sign of these enquiries declining anytime soon.
As uncertainty over the effects of the PIP implants increases, women who have had these implants have been seeking advice from our specialist cosmetic surgery solicitors to see what they can do and whether they can claim PIP compensation.
All-female PIP Legal Team
In order to deal with the stream of enquiries from worried PIP victims, we have set up a team of female lawyers who are dedicated to offering free legal advice and support. The team is led by Exeter based cosmetic surgery solicitor, Samantha Robson, Sam is assisted by solicitor Emily Hockin, Legal Executive Naomi Ireson, paralegal Caroline Hudson, trainee solicitor Lucy Squire as well as myself. We are already helping women nationwide to pursue PIP compensation claims on a no win - no fee basis and the first batch of Letters of Claim are now going off.
It is our intention to progress PIP compensation claims as quickly as possible and to get the ball rolling with detailed letters of claim without delay so as to avoid clients suffering any prejudice.
PIP Implants- Uncovered
As more and more women have their PIP implants removed, the truth about the state of the implants is becoming worryingly clear.
Mr Adrian Richards of Aurora Clinics recently reported that out of 10 sets of PIP implants removed:-
- 3 of the women had suffered a complete rupture- meaning the silicone in the PIP implant was leaking into their body.
- 6 of the PIP implants looked intact but upon inspection it was clear that the “substandard silicone” had leaked through the “flimsy outer shell” of the implant- known as ‘gel-bleed’.
- Only one woman was completely free from rupture and gel-bleed.
Notably, Aurora Clinics have never used the PIP implants.
Mr Richards is recording all the serial numbers of the PIP implants he has removed as he has already noted some “patterns” between when the PIP implants were fitted, the serial numbers and the amount of ruptures and/or gel bleed.
We are therefore advising all our PIP clients to ask to keep the implants once removed so that further investigation can be carried out if necessary.
Worrying, we are receiving reports from women who have been asked to sign a form preventing them from retaining the implants. We would advise against signing any documentation without taking independent legal advice. We are happy to check all documents for our clients.
PIP Implant Limitation Worries
Some of our clients have been concerned that they may be out of time to bring a PIP compensation claim because their surgery was performed several years ago. Whilst we need to assess all PIP claims on a case by case basis, we can assure the majority of women who have had the PIP implants that their claim will not be time barred.
If you are concerned about PIP limitation, please call one of our specialist lawyers who will be happy to assess your case for free.
PIP Compensation Claims Action Plan
For confidentiality reasons we are unable to put full details of our action plan on a public forum. However, following a conference with one of our barristers, Leslie Keegan we are now implementing a comprehensive action plan for all our clients who have been fitted with the PIP implants. The key details are as follows:-
- PIP compensation claims will be based on both breach of contract and negligence. We shall be referring to articles published in esteemed medical journals which highlighted the serious effects of PIP implants long before the recent spate of publicity.
- We will rely upon alerts issued by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2000 which confirmed that a visit to the PIP plant had revealed 11 deviations from “good manufacturing practises”.
- We will refer to the fact that the UK Medical Devices Agency issued an alert over PIP’s hydrogel implants as early as December 2000.
New information regarding the scandal is coming to light by the day. Our PIP lawyers are keeping close tabs on these developments and in association with case counsel we will be modifying our action plan as the PIP claims go forward.
Implant Guarantees wont defeat PIP Compensation Claims
Naturally, most women are eager to have the PIP implants removed as soon as possible, whether or not they have ruptured or leaked. We think this trend is likely to be hastened with news of manslaughter charges being brought.
However, many of our clients have expressed concern that because their PIP implants are now beyond the contractual guarantee period, the clinics will simply argue that they would have needed to be replaced anyway.
We believe this is wrong and will vigorously contest any defence based on these grounds. We understand that many PIP victims will want to have the implants removed immediately and we will fight to ensure that the cost of removal and replacement surgery is recovered from the clinics as part of the PIP compensation claim process. In addition, we will also claim compensation for the ‘pain, suffering and loss of amenity’ which our clients will unavoidably suffer as a result of the further surgery.
PIP Compensation for Psychiatric Injury and Mental Distress
Several of our clients have complained of the mental distress the PIP scandal has caused them. In some circumstances, this distress could be so severe that even though the implants haven’t caused any actual damage, the worry of them rupturing or leaking has caused psychiatric injury. Victims can claim compensation for this and our lawyers will be happy to discuss PPI psychiatric injury with you.
Slee Blackwell PIP Action Group Team Up with 7 Bedford Row
We have now enlisted the support of expert clinical negligence and personal injury barristers, Hugh Preston and Leslie Keegan of the acclaimed London chambers, 7 Bedford Row.
7 Bedford Row has an excellent reputation within the profession, having been awarded the prominent BarMark in 2000 and winning The Legal Services Commission’s Quality Mark in 2004. After working with them on numerous other personal injury and clinical negligence cases, Samantha has a strong relationship with the chambers and is sure that our clients will receive the very best legal advice and representation from Leslie and Hugh.