If your hip has been damaged by arthritis, a severe fracture or other conditions, walking and even standing up can become painful and difficult. If medication and mobility aids do not help your symptoms, your doctor may recommend hip replacement surgery.
Hip replacement is one of the most successful surgeries, after which most people report significant improvements in pain and mobility. However, substandard care and treatment before, during or after surgery can lead to severe and long-lasting complications.
Some of the most common issues caused by hip replacements include fractures, dislocations, infections and nerve injury. These may result in joint failure and the need for further surgery and may cause significant pain, suffering and financial losses.
If your life was affected by a hip replacement that has gone wrong, you might be able to claim compensation. If you have valid grounds to take legal action, your solicitor will offer you a no win no fee service, so you will not incur any out-of-pocket expenses if you lose the case.
Can I claim for a hip replacement that has gone wrong?
After hip replacement surgery, it takes a certain amount of time and physical therapy to recover, but most people will be able to return to their normal activities within 6 to 12 weeks. By that time, any swelling and pain should ease, and you should be able to move normally.
If you suffer any of the following symptoms after such a period has passed, your hip replacement likely went wrong:
- Inability to move or rotate the hip
- Pain and instability in the hip joint
- Extensive pain when walking or moving
- Swelling around the hip and groin area
- Lumps or bruising near the hip implant
- Dislocation of the hip
- Blurred vision and dizziness
To be eligible to make a hip replacement claim, your solicitor must be able to prove that:
- A healthcare professional owed you a duty of care
All medical personnel have the duty to act in the patient’s best interest, as a knowledgeable and competent professional with the same level of training would in the exact circumstances.
- They breached their duty
If your healthcare provider failed to do something within their duty or did something they shouldn’t have done, they breached their duty of care towards you. However, not every mistake a doctor might make is considered medical negligence.
- You suffered damages as a result
To have a valid hip replacement negligence claim, your doctor’s actions must have directly caused your surgery to go wrong and cause you an injury. Your solicitor will consult with a medicolegal expert to prove causation between your doctor’s actions and your injury. You will also need evidence of any economic losses you incurred as a result, such as lost wages.
If your case has merit, you are entitled to claim hip replacement compensation either from the NHS or a private healthcare provider.
For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back. They can let you know if you may be eligible to make a hip replacement claim and answer any questions you may have.
What are the main problems with hip replacements?
A hip replacement is a relatively common intervention where a damaged hip joint is replaced with a prosthesis constructed of metal, ceramic or hard plastic. It is usually very successful, with most patients reporting significant improvement in pain and mobility.
Unfortunately, not everyone receives the level of care they are entitled to from doctors and other medical staff. Various things can go wrong during preoperative checks and surgery, which could cause mild to severe complications that may be short-lived or even permanent.
The most common problems leading to a hip replacement claim include:
- Lack of informed consent
The risk of complications after a hip replacement surgery is around 3%. However, a combination of factors such as older age, smoking or diabetes can increase the chance of a hip replacement going wrong to 20%. Your surgeon should give you all the facts before an intervention. Failing to do could make them liable to pay you hip replacement compensation.
- Poor preoperative checks
If you suffer from other health conditions, specialist doctors may need to confirm that you can safely undergo surgery. For example, if you have a heart condition, a cardiologist may need to approve your hip replacement surgery. Likewise, if you have increased bleeding risks, your doctor and nurses should be aware of it and take extra care.
- Anaesthetic complications
Receiving too little anaesthesia means that you could remain aware or wake up during surgery, but you might not be able to move. Too much anaesthesia could lead to more severe side effects such as mental and physical impairment and even death. You may also suffer damage to nerves and the spinal cord during administration if anaesthetic negligence occurs.
- Wrong size hip implant
If your doctor has failed to choose the most suitable size or type of implant for you, this could be due to negligence. A wrong size implant could lead to poor rotational control and mobility, deformity and crippling pain. If you suffered complications due to a mismatched implant, you might be able to make a hip replacement claim.
- Femur fractures
During a hip replacement surgery, the hip implant needs to be pushed deep into the thigh bone. The femur can break when the stem is being inserted, but this is not always due to negligence. A loosened femoral stem can also increase the risk of fractures and may entitle you to hip replacement compensation.
- Incorrectly fitted implant
Failure to insert a hip implant at the correct angle or depth can irritate the nearby structures and result in a condition called iliopsoas tendonitis. This can cause pain at the front of the hip or groin region, difficulty standing up and spasms when rising. An incorrectly placed implant can also cause dislocation of the hip, which may lead to further surgery and nerve damage.
While some hip replacement complications are minor and can improve with medication, others can badly affect your daily life. Not all mistakes or complications are considered negligence, but you may also be eligible to make a hip replacement claim for:
- Nerve injury, commonly resulting in a foot drop
- An unnecessary hip replacement surgery when more suitable treatments would have been available
- A change in leg length after the intervention
- Infections that were not properly diagnosed, resulting in joint failure and further surgery
- Blood clots that were not correctly diagnosed or treated
- Metal toxicity due to the choice of metal implant used
If you suffered any of the above or another injury because your hip replacement has gone wrong, you might be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. To find out if you have a valid hip replacement negligence claim, call 0800 678 1410 to speak to a legal adviser.
How do I make a hip replacement claim?
If you believe you have a valid hip replacement claim, the first thing you should do is contact an experienced solicitor. They will ask you a few questions about your injury and what you believe happened to determine if you have valid grounds to claim compensation.
If your solicitor thinks that you have a fair chance of success, they will offer you a no win no fee agreement. This makes the whole claiming process less stressful, as you do not have to pay any solicitor or legal fees if you do not receive hip replacement compensation.
After accepting your case, your solicitor will help you gather all the evidence you need to prove that you suffered a hip replacement injury due to medical negligence.
The most important piece of evidence in a hip replacement negligence claim is your medical records. These should include:
- A complete medical history of your hip injury
- Surgical records from your orthopaedic surgeon
- X-rays, CT scans, MRIs or other imaging results confirming your hip replacement injury
- Records of any complications you suffered after surgery, such as infections or blood clots
- Medications and examinations you received after surgery
- Any physical therapy you received
- Changes to your lifestyle as a result of your hip replacement
Your solicitor will review your medical records with the help of a medicolegal expert to determine if you received a substandard level of care. If your treatment was negligent, they will help you gather further evidence to support your claim, including:
- A professional evaluation report with an independent expert in the field
- Your notes about how your daily life changed due to the hip replacement going wrong
- Witness statements from friends and family
- Official reports from medical staff attesting to your poor treatment
- Photographs of any visible injuries or deformities
- Evidence of any related financial losses and expenses you incurred
Once you have everything you need for a strong metal hip replacement claim, your solicitor will contact the other side and inform them of your allegations of negligence. The defendant will have up to four months to acknowledge your claim and respond to the allegations.
If they admit to being at fault for your hip replacement gone wrong, you can begin to negotiate a settlement. Otherwise, your solicitor will issue court proceedings, and you might have to argue your claim before a judge, although this rarely happens. In 2020/21, only 0.3% of all negligence claims against the NHS reached trial according to NHS Resolution.
To start your claim for hip replacement compensation, speak to a trained legal adviser by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation.
How much hip replacement compensation could I receive?
If you suffered due to a hip replacement gone wrong, you might want to pursue compensation. As the circumstances of your case are unique, it is hard to estimate how much you could receive if you make a successful claim.
Special damages awarded for the financial losses and expenses you incurred, such as:
- Medication and hospitalisation costs
- Restorative medical treatments
- Loss of earnings, including promotions and bonuses
- Travel expenses to and from healthcare providers
- Adaptations to your home and vehicle
- Physical therapy and psychological counselling
- Personal care and assistance needs, even if provided by a family member
- Coasts associated with surgery, prostheses and mobility aids
General damages awarded for the injury itself and the personal damages it caused you, including:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Psychiatric injury
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of amenity, such as the ability to pursue a hobby
- Loss of a unique career
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Loss of perspectives and enjoyment of life
- Physical impairment and disability
Calculating compensation for hip replacement negligence can be a complex process. This will usually be determined by referring to similar cases and the guidelines provided by the Judicial College. The average compensation awards for the general damages part of a hip injury are listed below:
- Up to £3,710 for a minor soft tissue injury that will fully heal within several months
- £3,710 to £11,820 for injuries causing minor or temporary disability
- £11,820 to £24,950 if the hip replacement surgery led to moderate continued symptoms
- £26,590 to £39,170 for a severe hip replacement injury that caused minor long-term disability
- £36,770 to £49,270 if the injury led to hip instability, mobility issues or might require further surgery
- £58,100 to £122,860 for very severe hip damage that caused significant permanent disability
Keep in mind that these awards only cover the pain and suffering caused by hip replacement negligence. Your past and future economic losses and expenses will also be added to your compensation award, so this could reach a much higher value.
To learn more about your compensation prospects, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with a legal adviser. After assessing your case, they will be able to give you a fair estimate of how much damages you could recover if you make a successful hip replacement claim.
How long do I have to make a hip replacement claim?
Under the Limitation Act 1980, the limitation period to bring a hip replacement claim is usually three years after:
- The date of the negligent treatment; or
- The date of knowledge
The date of knowledge refers to the date you became aware that your hip replacement has gone wrong. A judge may determine that date by which you were reasonably expected to suspect negligence and take legal action, based on:
- The type and severity of your symptoms
- Whether you asked for a second medical opinion
- Your circumstances and the extent of your delay
If you do not bring a hip replacement claim within the time limit, your case becomes statute-barred, and the court will no longer consider it, even if it has merit. To make sure you do not miss your chance to get compensation for your injury, you should speak to a solicitor as soon as possible.
There are several exceptions to the three-year limitation period, such as:
- If the victim is a child, the three-year time limit is suspended until their 18th birthday. Until that point, a parent, guardian or another adult acting as a litigation friend could make a hip replacement negligence claim on their behalf at any time.
- There is no time limit to claim hip replacement compensation for an individual who is unable to conduct legal proceedings due to:
- If you received medical treatment abroad, the time limit and eligibility to make a metal hip replacement claim might depend on foreign laws. In certain countries, the limitation period is much shorter than in the UK, so you should seek legal advice as soon as possible if you find yourself in this situation.
- If you lost a loved one due to hip replacement negligence, you have three years to claim compensation from the date of death or the date of knowledge.
As a general rule, the sooner you speak to a solicitor, the easier it is to collect evidence and build a winning claim. If you feel you have valid grounds to pursue compensation, enter your details into our online claim form or call 0800 678 1410 to speak to a legal adviser.
Can I claim for hip replacement negligence using no win no fee?
Yes, if you have a valid hip replacement claim and no legal expenses insurance, your solicitor will offer you a no win no fee service. No win no fee allows you to claim compensation without taking any financial risks due to:
The conditional fee agreement (CFA)
This is a legal funding arrangement between you and your solicitor, according to which:
- You do not have to pay any upfront fees to your no win no fee solicitor.
- You do not have to pay them a single penny if you do not win hip replacement compensation.
- If your case is successful, you will pay a success fee to your solicitor. The success fee cannot exceed 25% of your compensation for general damages and past financial losses and cannot be deducted from future losses. Your solicitor will explain this to you in detail, and you will agree to it from the beginning.
The After the Event (ATE) insurance policy
ATE is a legal expenses insurance policy you can take out after becoming aware that you will be involved in a legal dispute. If you lose the hip replacement claim, the ATE insurance will cover all the legal expenses you and the defendant incurred during the claiming process, including:
- The defendant’s solicitor fees
- Court and counsel’s fees
- Medical and police reports
- Travel expenses
- Barrister fees
- Expert witness fees
You only have to pay the cost of the ATE insurance premium if you receive compensation for your damages. If your case fails, the policy is seen as a disbursement and is self-insuring.
The no win no fee service offers anyone the chance to pursue compensation, regardless of their financial situation. The conditional fee agreement gives you the certainty that you have a valid claim for hip replacement negligence, and your solicitor will do their best to get you the maximum settlement possible.