The personal injury team at the BFP law firm specializes in every kind of personal injury case where the injury occurred on the territory of Poland. We have represented, and are still representing, hundreds of clients across Poland, as well as residents of other countries, that seek compensation for their injury resulting from medical negligence, road traffic accidents, aviation accidents, defective products, and others. [Read more.]

Litigation from Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery in Poland

Gabriela Lenarczyk11 October 2023Komentarze (0)

With travelling abroad for cosmetic surgery on the rise, Poland has seen a steady increase of medical tourists seeking cheaper cosmetic and dentistry treatments. While at first glance such trips look appealing, one must always consider risks associated with having a surgical procedure in a different country – if something goes wrong, the path to compensation may prove to be laced with legal and procedural challenges. Regular readers are already familiar with our 7-step guide for tourists injured in Poland. This post however is dedicated to the specifics of claims in cases of elective aesthetic medicine procedures.


This September during PEOPIL’s Annual Conference, I had the pleasure to participate in a panel on litigation from cosmetic and plastic surgery from the perspective of Czech Republic, Poland and Turkey. I highlighted a few issues worth noting:

In cases of cosmetic surgery, patient dissatisfaction does not equal physician liability.

Although patients quite often feel dissatisfied with the results of the operation, e.g., they feel that the shape of their lips/the size of the breasts/visibility of their scars is not what they expected, under Polish law, cosmetic surgery procedures are qualified as a duty of care. This means that the doctor’s liability is not triggered by the fact that the results promised by the doctor have not been achieved, despite the diligence exercised (see Judgement of the Polish Supreme Court of 10.01.2000, case No. III CKN 1008/98).

On that note, when assessing liability under the duty of care, the courts will consider circumstances such as

  • maintaining an appropriate proportion of the surgical risk in relation to the expected result
  • highest care with regard to the manner of carrying out the surgery and its technical conditions,
  • the requirement of the patient’s consent.


Injured patients have a direct right of action against the third-party civil liability insurer.

According to the principle of action directa, injured patients have the right to raise a claim directly against the insurance company. The insurer is an independent debtor, who can be joined as co-defendant at all stages of proceedings.

However, although insurance is obligatory under law in regard to all healthcare services providers, there is an exception as far as plastic surgery – this kind of treatment is not covered under compulsory insurance, unless it is performed to correct a birth defect, damage resulting from injury or an illness, or from the treatment thereof.

Healthcare professionals who perform cosmetic surgeries thus purchase additional, voluntary insurance and are under an obligation to disclose information about their insurance coverage to each patient, upon their request.


Beware of procedures carried out by cosmetologists, cosmeticians and beauticians – their professions do not fall under the Medical Profession Act.

 Although procedures such as lip reshaping/lip augmentation or Botox injections are considered an invasive, medical procedure, that should in principle be carried out by a doctor, it is becoming increasingly more common for them to be carried out by non-doctors: cosmetologists, cosmeticians and beauticians.

These professions do not fall under the Medical Profession Act (Ustawa z dnia 5 grudnia 1996 r. o zawodach lekarza i lekarza dentysty, Dz.U. 1997 nr 28 poz. 152) and are therefore not covered by certain requirements, crucial to providing adequate compensation to victims of negligence. Specifically, they are not required to purchase insurance or keep medical records.

Both doctors and lawyers are calling for this legal situation to be changed for the sake of patients, but so far, despite ongoing debates, no law has been passed.


Scope of informed consent goes furthest in aesthetic medical procedures.

 In Poland, it has been consistently accepted in the case law of the Supreme Court that the scope of information provided to the patient must depend on the type of surgery. This scope goes furthest in the case of procedures carried out solely for aesthetic purposes.

Further, in the case of aesthetic medical procedures, the patient should be informed even about rare complications.


The condition of personal injury is not necessary for the award of compensation for the violation of patients’ rights.

If a healthcare professional violates any rights of the patient (see the Act on Patients’ Rights and Patients’ Ombudsman of 6 November 2009), most commonly in cases of cosmetic surgery – the right to give informed consent – the patient is entitled to a claim for redress, regardless of whether the doctor committed medical malpractice.

Such redress is awarded for the mere fact of the violation.

See our previous posts to learn about basics of pursuing medical negligence claims in Poland: limitation periods, damages, litigation costs etc.



{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: