Knee replacement surgery: How can I make a negligence claim?

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Terry Regan

Director and Head of Medical and Clinical Negligence

When an experienced surgeon performs a knee replacement procedure, the results are usually positive. However, there are some rare occasions when complications can occur during a knee replacement operation.

Here, we explain how you could claim compensation due to negligence if your knee replacement surgery is unsuccessful, or you encounter problems due to surgical error.

What are the signs of knee replacement failure?

Total knee replacement failure is a serious matter, and it can be difficult to know whether or not your knee replacement has failed. However, if you experience any of the following symptoms, your knee replacement has likely failed:

  • Pain: If you are experiencing more pain than you did before surgery, it is possible that something went wrong during surgery or that there is a problem with your prosthesis.
  • Instability: Instability occurs when the artificial joint no longer works as intended. This can be caused by several factors, including improper alignment of your new prosthesis or failure of the ligaments surrounding the joint.
  • Swelling: Swelling in your knee may indicate something wrong with either one of these two areas: your tissues around the joint or your tendons inside the knee joint itself. If swelling persists after surgery, it may mean that something went wrong during surgery.
  • Decrease in joint function: If you notice that you're having trouble standing up straight or walking normally after resting, this could signify decreased mobility due to knee replacement failure.

How do I know negligence occurred during my knee replacement?

When you have a knee replacement, you may be concerned about whether medical negligence occurred during the procedure. This is a common fear among patients and one that can be very valid. Here are some common signs of negligence:

Not advising patients of risks or outcomes

A good surgeon will be sure to inform you of all the risks associated with surgery and will discuss them with you in detail. If they do not do this, it could indicate negligence.

Surgical errors

A surgeon making an error during surgery can result in serious injury or even death for the patient. These can be anything from leaving a tool inside your body after surgery to cutting nerves or muscles in the wrong place.

Faults in the manufacture of the parts

If your surgeon suspects that there are defects in the implant itself, they should take steps to ensure that this does not happen again by reporting it to the manufacturer or other appropriate parties involved in your care and treatment (such as your insurance company).

Inadequate post-op care

After your knee surgery, you need to have access to physical therapy and follow-up visits with your surgeon so that you can recover properly. If your surgeon failed to provide these services, this could be a sign of negligence on their part.


Misdiagnosis is a type of medical malpractice that can lead to unnecessary surgeries or other treatments performed on the patient. This could be considered negligence because they should have known better than to proceed with the surgery or treatment in this case.

If you believe any of these situations have occurred, you should consult with a medical negligence solicitor immediately.

Complications following knee replacement surgery

One of the most common complications is infection. Infection can lead to long-term issues if not treated properly. You might also find that your mobility has suffered because of your condition. The knee may not be able to bear any weight at all and will require further surgery to correct the problem. This can result in permanent damage to the joint and long-term pain and disability for some patients.

The impact on your life can be devastating. You may have to give up your job or other hobbies that require you to walk or stand for long periods. You may also be unable to climb stairs or go up hills without help from others.

Patients who experience these complications will likely need revision surgeries that could result in more complications down the line.

If any of these problems occur post-surgery, you may be entitled to compensation and build a medical negligence case. With this in mind, you should contact experienced clinical negligence solicitors.

How can I make a negligence claim?

Making a knee replacement negligence claim is simple, but it's essential to take the time to do it right. Here are three steps you can take to ensure that your claim is successful:

Gather evidence of the negligence

Your solicitor should be able to initially investigate what has happened by obtaining the medical records and medical scans. If you have any evidence yourself, that will also be helpful. This may include letters or emails documenting what happened and how it affected you. This will help your medical negligence solicitor make an argument against the hospital or surgeon who caused your injury.

Make a note of the consequences of the error

If you suffered more than just physical injuries after an error occurred during surgery, then write down everything that happened. This could include things like additional medical bills or lost income due to missed workdays due to recovery from surgery complications.

Contact a law firm

We would advise that it is best to an experienced law firm such as Wake Smith as early as possible. They can help you make your claim and will be able to advise you on what to do next and how much compensation you may be entitled to if successful.

How Wake Smith can help

Wake Smith is a law firm based in Sheffield, and we have a longstanding speciality in pursuing negligence claims.

We can pursue various types of claims, such as surgery claims, and offer advice and representation to claimants throughout the country.

We understand that these cases can be complex, so we'll work with you every step of the way, from the initial consultation to trial preparation and beyond, to ensure you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Most cases do not need to go to court. We can resolve most claims out of court by negotiating with the other party. But if your case ends up going to trial, we're here for you too.

Please contact us today for more information about how we can help you file a claim.

Common queries

What is the most commonly reported problem after knee replacement surgery?

The most commonly reported problem after total knee replacement surgery is knee stiffness. This is usually caused by swelling around the joints, which can be treated with painkillers and sometimes surgery. It's important to get medical advice if you have any concerns about your knee after this type of surgery.

How long should a knee replacement last?

The longevity of a knee replacement varies from person to person, but you should expect it to last at least 15 years.

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Director and Head of Medical and Clinical Negligence

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