Payout hope for 10,000 women with faulty PIP breast implants
Irishwomen who were fitted with faulty PIP breast implants could each receive a potential €10,000 to €15,000 compensation payout, according to a leading French lawyer.
About 10,000 women had the implants, which have a high rupture rate but are not a danger to health.
They were fitted in private cosmetic clinics here and abroad, many of which have gone out of business.
French lawyer Olivier Aumaitre has teamed up with Irish legal firm Coleman Legal Partners to process cases and is inviting women to come forward. The initial service is free but, if they receive compensation, they will pay the legal team 15pc plus VAT of the payout.
A global scare emerged in 2010 when it was revealed that one million women were fitted with implants that had industrial grade silicone made in France.
Mr Aumaitre made a legal breakthrough in France when he secured an interim order of €3,000 per woman after taking a case against the German company TUV Rheinland, and its French subsidiary, which certified the product.
The case is under appeal and, depending on its outcome, it may pave the way for more compensation although lawyers are cautious. The cases are overseen by the Stanton Fisher Group, which has offices in Dublin.
Dublin solicitor David Coleman said potential final payouts could vary. But anyone who was fitted the implants is entitled to an interim €3,000.
Compensation may also be paid for pain and suffering, anxiety and loss of esteem.
"There is not a requirement for implants to have ruptured or still be in place to pursue a claim. We have a team of English and French speaking legal experts to deal with enquiries." He added: "Women who have had the PIP implants simply need to provide proof they had the surgery, whether or not the surgery took place in Ireland. There is no requirement for the implant to have ruptured to pursue a claim."
The Health Service Executive (HSE) offered women whose implants ruptured to have them removed although they are not entitled to have a new set of implants.
Susan Archer, spokewoman for the support group for the women, said she was delighted at the breakthrough and that there was something she could "do to end this nightmare".
"Now I can look forward to getting on with the rest of my life," she said.
About 45 women have already lodged High Court cases but the chances of success for the majority had been low due to Harley Medical Group going into liquidation.