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Dermatologist Laser Hair Removal Malpractice Lawsuit

Niakan v. Dermatology Center, Rockledge Medspa

Patient with Leg BurnsThis laser hair removal medical malpractice lawsuit filed against a dermatologist was filed in Montgomery County. It was filed in Health Claims Arbitration on March 20, 2017, and is the 127th medical malpractice case filed in Maryland in 2017.

You do not see a lot of malpractice lawsuit against dermatologists. This is the first dermatology related lawsuit in Maryland in 2017. Malpractice insurance rates are often among the lowest of any specialty (neurosurgeons and OB/GYNs are typically at the top of the list). Approximating 1.1% of malpractice lawsuits involve dermatologists.

Settlement Value of Lawsuits Against Dermatologists

Settlement and verdict statistics back up dermatology's infrequently involvement in litigation. In one study of 2,704 closed claims dermatologists, plaintiffs received a recovery in only 29% of the claims that involved dermatologists. The average settlement or verdict malpractice lawsuits against dermatologists was only $137,538. While this average is low, it is much higher than the median in dermatology cases of $35,000.

What are the most successful lawsuits against dermatologists? Besides cancer misdiagnosis cases which are much fewer in number, it is laser hair removal lawsuits like the very claim in this Montgomery County case. A whopping 63% of dermatology cases involve laser hair removal. Many of these cases are also informed consent cases. The value of laser hair removal cases are must higher. The average settlement or verdict in laser hair removal cases is $380,719, almost triple the dermatology average. The plaintiffs winning percentage soars to nearly 50% in laser hair removal cases.

The best lawsuits against dermatologists for hair removal malpractice are not against dermatologists at all. The reported range of the percentage of these cases that are filed as the result of the negligence of non-dermatologist is between 40% and 91%. This does not necessarily let the doctor off the hook. In many of these dermatology offices, the office is focused on profits and trying to maximize how much money it can make on cosmetic related procedures. To meet this volume in the most profitable way, too many non-physician operators take on too much responsibility, and the result is errors.

Summary of Plaintiff's Allegations

Plaintiff, an adult woman, has a consult with defendant at the Dermatology Center. She has laser hair removal done on her legs. During the removal, early on in the procedure, she begins to have severe pain, hives, swelling, and redness. Defendant continues the procedure. In the end, the woman has extreme pain, blisters, and second-degree burns on both of her legs.

The woman files this claim against defendants, arguing that they had a duty to carefully assess her skin conditions and diagnose her. This would have led them to inform of her alternative treatments and the risks involved with her treatment. She also claims that once the symptoms began early on in the procedure, the defendants should have stopped the treatment immediately to minimize any further complications.

Additional Comments
  • The first question Maryland medical malpractice lawyers might is if laser hair removal is a surgical act covered that meets the statutory definition of medical malpractice which requires filing in Maryland Health Claims Arbitration and all of the rules that come with it. Laws regulating the use of cutaneous hair removal lasers vary widely by state. The Maryland Court of Appeals tells us that laser hair removal is a surgical procedure that is the practice of medicine. The result is this is that we have less of these claims in Maryland.
  • Most hair laser removal cases involve second and third-degree burns. If your injury is a third-degree burn, you are going to have a much easier time finding a medical malpractice lawyer to handle your case.
  • Many of these cases involve the failure to stop treatment immediately once the patient complains or has symptoms of the burning of the skin. At this point, the operator has to reassess and lower the laser settings before continuing treatment.
  • Montgomery County
  • A physician's assistant
  • Dermatology Center, Rockledge Medspa
  • Failure to stop the laser treatment early on in the procedure upon complaints of extreme pain, redness, and swelling
Specific Counts Pled
  • Professional Liability/Medical Malpractice
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