PIP A Legal View

The following FAQs have been answered by various law companies.

Can I get my PIP implants replaced now, or do I have to wait for the outcome of my claim?

It is of course your choice as to what course of action you take, but a sensible legal view is that obviously your health should come first. There is no legal reason to delay the removal/replacement of your PIP implants. If you are going to have them removed, however, it is suggested that if you are considering legal action you take certain precautionary measures. It is advisable that you get photographic evidence of your PIP implants before and after the further treatment, try and get a medical report following surgery detailing the state your implants were found in, and keep all evidence of your financial, physical, and psychological losses. If you are going to have surgery then your solicitors know this so they can make sure your file is up to date.

I have had PIP implants in the last 10 years. What should I do? 

If you have any medical symptoms you should see your GP. If your original treatment was on the NHS you may be referred for an ultrasound scan to check for any damage to the implants, and/or to a consultant. If you have the need for further surgery this should be done free by the NHS. If your operation was performed privately you should go back to the clinic. They may charge you for any further treatment including a scan, or suggest you go to see your GP to get the scan done. Some GPs appear reluctant to refer patients who had private surgery for an NHS scan. If the clinic refuses to carry out a scan go back to your GP for advice.

I cannot afford to pay privately for replacement surgery and the NHS will not replace my PIP implants – what can I do?

If the clinic/s are denying liability and refusing to fund your treatment then that is something that a solicitor is going to have to argue for as a part of your claim, and this can take time.

If you find yourself in this difficult position, it is suggested that you try and obtain a scan and notify your solicitor and your GP of the outcome. Your GP can advise you on where you stand medically and your solicitors can formally notify the defendant of the details of your particular case in what is called a letter of claim.  Within this your solicitor can make it clear that they would be looking for them to fund the treatment you need.

My privately funded implant has ruptured and the clinic says I must pay for removal and/or replacement. Can they do this? 

Just as if you had purchased any other goods or service, if it is defective you are entitled to be compensated. However, just like any other business, the clinic may not agree. If they refuse, you need to seek urgent legal advice. If you decide to pay then keep details so you can claim the costs back later. If the implants have not yet ruptured, a solicitor may think that the increased risk of rupture still makes them ‘defective’, this needs consideration from your solicitor.

I paid for the surgery on a credit card. Does this make a difference? 

Under the Consumer Credit Act the credit provider may well be liable to compensate you for the cost of further surgery and any injury caused, though they may want you to pursue the clinic too.

The private clinic has disappeared. Can I still make a claim? 

All clinics should have been insured and your solicitor should be able to advise you if and how they may able to identify those insurers.

My symptoms are similar to what other women complain of – pain, inflammation and/or tiredness. Is there any evidence linking these symptoms to the implants? 

The UK government’s medical advisors do not presently believe there is a link, but the French advisors apparently think the risk of problems, even where the implants have not ruptured, justifies removal. This is confusing. Your doctor will know the latest advice when it is given by the government.

What if I have my PIP implants replaced and paid for privately – can I still claim compensation?

Keep your receipts and details of travelling expenses, loss of earnings (try and take unpaid leave or get yourself signed off work rather than take it as holiday), childcare fees, parking, reasonable accommodation fees and so forth.  If you can prove you have reasonably incurred such losses, your solicitor may be able to factor those into your claim for PIP compensation.

Similarly, if you have your PIP implants removed or replaced on the NHS free of charge, you could still bring a claim for compensation.  This is because the compensation that would be sought for you does not only comprise of financial loss – it also takes into account any physical and/or psychological loss you have undergone due to the PIP implants.

What happens if I decide to get the implants removed and they are not ruptured?

A woman who is worried and decides to pay for removal even if they are not yet ruptured may be able to reclaim such costs, but will probably require legal advice and assistance to do so.

My implants ruptured within the last 3 years and I have suffered trauma, out-of-pocket expenses and loss of income. Can I claim?

A solicitor dealing with medical negligence will be able to assess your individual circumstances and evaluate whether a claim can be presented. It is advisable to produce as much information and evidence as possible to support your claim.

In summary

At the present time, many legal claims against surgical providers are still in their early stages and very much in infancy of any concrete legal development.

If you are a woman with PIP breast implants and you have legal concerns you should, in the first instance, seek advice in a medical context from your surgeon or GP, to agree on an appropriate course of action. Your health and wellbeing is the overall priority in this and thereafter. For those who wish to make a claim for compensation, independent legal advice should be sought.