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An orthopaedic surgeon will treat patients who have suffered bone fractures or other orthopaedic trauma or need joint replacement or ligament reconstruction surgery. In the vast majority of cases, patients receive adequate treatment and make a full recovery but surgeons and other medical practitioners can and do make mistakes.
Hip replacement surgery is a common orthopaedic procedure. Replacing a worn and damaged hip joint caused by degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, traumatic arthritis, dysplasia, or avascular necrosis with an artificial version aims to provide a long term solution and relieve pain.
Unfortunately, not every hip replacement is a success and can give rise to a hip replacement claim for compensation. Failure of a hip replacement can occur because the surgeon has chosen the wrong type or size of hip prosthesis; the surgeon has used a sub-standard surgical technique; the hip has become infected and the infection has not been properly treated or there is a defect in the components of the artificial hip such as the DePuy Orthopaedics' ASR™ metal-on-metal system which is currently under investigation.
Failure of the hip may lead to the need for revision surgery which is often more difficult and may result in a worse outcome or in some circumstances it may not be possible to replace the hip leaving a permanent and significant disability.
How do I make a claim relating to my hip surgery
If you or a relative are experiencing problems following a hip replacement you should contact us as soon as possible.
In claims involving negligent care there is a three year time limit for issuing a claim at court starting from the date of the negligence or from the date you knew your injury may have been caused by substandard care. In claims involving defective hip products, the claim must be within 10 years from the date that the product was supplied.
These claims can be complex and demanding. It is important to use an expert law firm like Shoosmiths which specialises in this work. It is important that your chosen law firm has relationships with the appropriate medical and other experts whose evidence will be crucial to your claim.
It would be helpful to have confirmation of the brand or type of your hip replacement component when you talk to our specialist lawyers who are expert in clinical negligence and product liability claims. We can give you a free initial consultation and handle you case on a No-Win-No-Fee basis.
How long will my claim take
We will also need to obtain medical evidence from independent orthopaedic hip experts to establish whether the treatment you received was substandard and to detail exactly what physical and psychological injury you have suffered.
Even if your opponent admits liability early on in the proceedings, it can take several months to build up a complete picture about your condition and your future health.
The way your opponent responds to a hip surgery or orthopaedic claim will affect timescales. Sometimes they will agree the basis of our evidence and valuation. In other cases, they may require you to be assessed by their own expert. We will attempt negotiations in order to reach a resolution in your best interests.
We will always aim to resolve your claim without delay.
More about claims involving hip replacement surgery
Hip replacement operations are routinely carried out by both the NHS and by surgeons on a private basis. The standard of care should be the same irrespective of who performed the surgery and where it was performed.
A total hip replacement will involve replacing both the natural socket in the pelvis and the rounded ball at the head of the thigh bone (femoral head) with an artificial joint made of metal or plastic.
Hip resurfacing procedures involve covering the hip socket with a metal or plastic lined cup and the femoral head is covered with a cap preserving as much of the patient's bone tissue as possible.
Substandard surgical technique or the use of a the wrong type or size of prosthesis or a failure to adequately manage and treat an infection are common reasons why hip replacement surgery fails giving rise to a claim for compensation. Defects in the replacement prosthesis can give rise to a claim against the manufacturer and/or supplier.
What do I need to prove?
To establish that you have claim for compensation for negligently performed or negligent management of your hip replacement surgery you must prove that the treatment provided to you by the medical team fell below the standard of care that you should expect to receive or there was a defect in the prosthesis and that this has caused you an injury.
To prove that the care was substandard you will need to obtain supportive opinion from an independent orthopaedic surgeon. The orthopaedic surgeon will review your medical records and your evidence and given an opinion on whether the standard of treatment you received fell below the standard expected of a reasonable and competent body of orthopaedic surgeons.
The treatment will be considered to be substandard if, on the balance of probabilities (i.e 51% or more), no reasonable or responsible body of orthopaedic surgeons would have provided the care that was provided to you and you can prove on the balance of probabilities (i.e. 51% or more) that the identified substandard care caused or materially contributed to your injury.
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