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Surgical Errors

Surgical Error Lawyer in San Francisco

Call (888) 831-8448 to Discuss a Surgery Error Lawsuit in California

Whether performed in emergency, outpatient, or in-patient settings, surgery is a major medical undertaking. As such, there are laws that obligate providers who facilitate surgeries to ensure you understand procedures to be performed and the risks involved. Surgeons, nurses, and others who perform surgery must also meet the applicable duty of care to avoid causing preventable injuries.

Unfortunately, health care providers are sometimes negligent when treating patients, before, during, or after surgery. When their negligence results in harm that could and should have been avoided, injured patients and families may have the right to take legal action and recover compensation for their losses.

Bostwick & Peterson, LLP: A Proven Medical Malpractice Firm

Bostwick & Peterson, LLP is known nationally for our work in complex medical malpractice cases, including claims against providers who commit devastating mistakes during surgery.

If you are searching for legal representation in your claim against a health care professional or entity, you can be confident choosing our team knowing we have:

  • Recovered over $1 billion in compensation for our clients.
  • Won multiple record-setting results in malpractice cases across the nation.
  • Award-winning attorneys with decades of experience.
  • An ABPLA Certified Medical Malpractice Specialist (James S. Bostwick).
  • Successfully represented victims of surgical errors.

Speak with a San Francisco surgical error attorney during a FREE consultation. Bostwick & Peterson represents victims across California and beyond.

Can I File a Lawsuit Over a Surgical Error?

If you or someone you love suffered harm due to a medical provider’s negligence, you may have the right to file a civil lawsuit and hold them liable for your damages. Examples of surgical errors that can give rise to medical malpractice litigation include:

Your ability to pursue and prevail in a medical malpractice lawsuit depends on the specific facts involved. While every case is different, all medical malpractice claims are hinged on proving health care providers deviated from accepted standards of care. This may involve, among other acts of negligence:

  • Failures to accurately interpret lab results
  • Failures to diagnose or misdiagnoses
  • Lab mistakes, including erroneous results or mishandling samples
  • Administrative mistakes, communication or patient record errors

There are many different surgical procedures, and all have their own risks and variables related to a patient’s unique circumstances. As such, determining whether a provider’s actions amounted to negligence will require a personal review of your situation.

Who is Liable for a Surgical Error?

Liability for a surgical error can fall on various parties involved in the surgical process, including:

  • Surgeon: The primary responsibility often lies with the surgeon performing the procedure. Surgeons are expected to adhere to the standard of care applicable to their specialty and to perform surgeries with the skill and competence expected of a reasonably prudent surgeon in similar circumstances. If a surgeon deviates from this standard and causes harm to the patient, they can be held liable for medical malpractice.
  • Medical Staff: Other members of the medical team assisting in the surgery, such as nurses, anesthesiologists, and surgical technicians, can also be held liable for surgical errors if their actions or negligence contribute to the harm suffered by the patient. For example, if a nurse fails to properly sterilize surgical instruments or an anesthesiologist administers an incorrect dosage of anesthesia, they may be held accountable.
  • Hospital or Surgical Facility: Hospitals and surgical facilities can be held liable for surgical errors under the legal doctrine of vicarious liability or respondeat superior. This doctrine holds employers responsible for the negligent actions of their employees when those actions occur within the scope of their employment. If a surgical error occurs due to the negligence of a hospital employee, the hospital may be held accountable for the resulting harm.
  • Manufacturers of Medical Devices or Equipment: If a surgical error is caused by a defective medical device or equipment used during the procedure, the manufacturer of the device or equipment may be held liable for the resulting harm. This can include defects in surgical tools, implants, or other medical devices used during the surgery.
  • Preoperative and Postoperative Care Providers: Healthcare providers responsible for the preoperative and postoperative care of the patient, such as primary care physicians, may also be held liable for surgical errors if their actions or negligence contribute to the harm suffered by the patient. For example, if a primary care physician fails to properly assess the patient's medical history or provide appropriate postoperative instructions, they may be held accountable.

Lack of Informed Consent & Surgery Mistakes

By law, medical providers must obtain a patient’s informed consent for treatment or surgery they intend to perform. Although there are some exceptions in cases involving minors, mental disability, or emergency treatment, patients have the right to make informed decisions about their care.

To obtain informed consent, providers must speak with patients and adequately advise them about their condition, options for treatment and alternative approaches, associated risks, likelihood of success of failure, and the repercussions of engaging in no treatment at all.

When providers fail to adequately inform patients and obtain informed consent, patients may have the right to pursue legal action over a provider’s negligence or unauthorized treatment / medical battery, which is legally defined as the unauthorized touching of a patient’s body. This could include:

  • A surgical procedure being performed on the wrong body part (i.e. amputation of the right arm rather than the left arm).
  • Removal of tissue or organs not discussed as being part of the procedure.
  • The incorrect surgery being performed on a patient.

Lack of informed consent claims can arise from surgical procedures about which patients were not fully apprised, or provider conduct for which a patient did not provide their informed consent. Generally, these claims require injured patients to establish that:

  • A provider failed to disclose risks and discuss relevant information about the procedure.
  • The patient, or any reasonable patient, would not have consented to the procedure had they been adequately advised about their condition, options, and associated risks.
  • A risk or treatment not disclosed to the patient occurred and caused the patient’s injury.

Unauthorized treatment arising from a lack of informed consent can leave patients with devastating disabilities or disfigurement, and may delay or prevent patients from receiving the correct treatment for their underlying condition.

Informed consent claims are highly complex and fact-specific matters, and laws can vary by state. Bostwick & Peterson can review your case and explain whether it may involve informed consent issues.

    How Much Are Surgery Error Malpractice Claims Worth?

    Surgical errors have the potential to result in serious injuries and long-term if not life-long repercussions. Though surgical error lawsuits are often high-value claims, their value is dependent on the unique facts and circumstances of a case – including the type of injury involved, whether there are permanent disabilities or disfigurement, and more.

    Generally, victims of malpractice have a right to recover the damages they incurred as a result of their injuries. In surgical error claims, this can include:

    • Hospital expenses
    • Future medical expenses
    • Physical pain and suffering
    • Disfigurement, disability, and loss of quality or enjoyment of life
    • Past and future lost income
    • Other related economic and non-economic damages

    Examples of our surgery malpractice results:

    • $14 million settlement for a 3-day-old child who suffered a serious brain injury due to a surgical error. This recovery was the largest malpractice settlement in California at the time (2018).
    • $8 million settlement for a client who suffered a brain injury as a result of poor anesthetic technique during knee surgery. This was a record settlement at the time.
    • $7.5 million recovery for a victim who suffered injury resulting in a life-long need for dialysis after surgical team failed to check blood type and their kidney transplant rejected.
    • $2 million settlement for a 55-year-old woman who suffered a severe brain injury after undergoing eye surgery.

    If you have a potential surgical error lawsuit, our San Francisco attorneys at Bostwick & Peterson are available to discuss your matter during a FREE and confidential consultation. Call or contact us online.



    What Sets Bostwick & Peterson, LLP Apart?

    • More than $1 billion recovered for our clients
    • Since January 2018, the firm has twice broken the California record for the largest medical malpractice settlement
    • James Bostwick was named Trial Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers® in 2012
    • James Bostwick is a Nationally Certified Specialist by the American Board of Professional Liability
    • Included in the list of "Best Lawyers in America" by U.S. News - Best Lawyers® since its inception in 1983
    • James Bostwick received the Trial Lawyers "Presidential Award of Merit"
    • James Bostwick is a member of the Inner Circle of Advocates, limited to the nation’s top 100 plaintiff lawyers
    • Record-setting verdicts and settlements in five states for medical malpractice and motor vehicle accidents
    Experienced Trial Lawyers

    Put our highly recognized and award-winning attorneys on your side. We will make the difference in your case. 

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