How Do You Make An Orthopaedic Negligence Injury Compensation Claim?

If you have suffered an injury to your bones, tendons or muscles, or any other orthopaedic injury, you could seek help and treatment from NHS or private doctors. However, if the treatment or advice they give you is negligent, you may suffer harm that you would not have experienced if you had received the correct treatment and advice. 

The consequences of orthopaedic negligence could range in severity, and if you have suffered any kind of physical harm because of such negligence, you could be eligible for compensation. If you would like to talk to our advisors about a case of orthopaedic negligence that has caused you harm, or you would like to begin a personal injury claim against the medical professional that has failed you, then do not hesitate to call Legal Helpline on 0161 696 9685. To learn more, read on.

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A Guide To Making An Orthopaedic Injury Claim

Orthopaedic injury claim

Orthopaedic injury claim

If you have suffered an orthopaedic injury to any of the bones in your body, you may have experienced pain and suffering as a result. Seeking treatment and advice on how to manage such an injury could give you a good chance of recovery. But, if you seek professional help from a GP or hospital and they provide negligent advice or treatment, you may end up suffering more than you would have done had the right advice and treatment been administered. 

If you have suffered harm because of negligent orthopaedic advice, or negligent orthopaedic surgery, or your treatment has not been carried out to the minimum standards expected of medical professionals, you could be eligible for compensation.

Below, you’ll find a wealth of information and guidance on making an orthopaedic injury claim, including an explanation of what orthopaedic injuries are, how they could be made worse because of clinical negligence, and how you could take action against the negligence you have faced if it has caused you to suffer harm.

What Are Orthopaedic Injuries?

Any injury that affects the bones, nerves, muscles, tendons and ligaments within your body could be classed as an orthopaedic injury. These injuries could occur in a number of different ways, but would usually affect how our body moves. The causes of orthopaedic injuries can be varied, but blunt force trauma could be considered one of the most common causes. Other causes include:

  • Slipping, tripping or falling
  • Car accidents
  • Workplace accidents
  • Assaults
  • Sporting activities

The severity of orthopaedic injuries can range from minor sprains and strains to more serious injuries which could include broken bones. Depending on the seriousness of the injury, treatment options could range from immobilisation, rest, painkillers, or even orthopaedic surgery. In some cases, damage from an orthopaedic injury could be irreparable.

How Is An Orthopaedic Injury Diagnosed?

Diagnosing orthopaedic injuries early could make a difference in how successful treatment could be. In order to diagnose an orthopaedic injury, a combination of diagnostic tests may be required. In some cases, a simple examination by a medical professional could be sufficient, whereas, with other injuries, you may be required to undergo an X-Ray, MRI scan, or even exploratory surgery to take a look at the inside of your body. A correct diagnosis is essential for a patient to get the right treatment and advice and if there is a delay in diagnosis, or you suffer an undiagnosed fracture, for example, this could cause the bones not to knit properly together, which could lead to a poorer prognosis and lasting complications.

How Is An Orthopaedic Injury Treated?

Treatment for an orthopaedic injury would be determined by the injury itself. For minor injuries such as sprains and strains, you may need to rest the affected area, take painkillers, or perform physiotherapy exercises. However, if the injury cannot be treated in this way, or is not healing in the manner that it should, then surgical intervention may be necessary.

Some common types of surgery that could be performed on orthopaedic injuries include:

  • Arthroscopy – If there is tendon, muscle, ligament or nerve damage, or bursitis is present, keyhole surgery or arthroscopic surgery may be required to fix any damage.
  • Open surgery – More serious injuries could be repaired with open surgery. Surgeries that could be performed on orthopaedic injuries could include: amputation surgery (either partial or full amputation), joint replacement surgery (such as knee or hip replacement surgeries); fracture repair, with pins, plates and wires; bone fusion, or; bone repositioning.

There are risks with any type of surgery, from infection to blood loss, and if you are to undergo any type of orthopaedic surgery, then you would have these risks explained to you prior to your operation. You would also be asked to sign a consent form to say you have understood the risks of your surgery. However, if you experience orthopaedic surgery negligence, other complications that you may not have been prepared for could occur.

What Is Orthopaedic Negligence?

Orthopaedic negligence occurs when the treatment or advice you have been given is not up to the standards expected of a medical professional. This type of negligence could take many forms, and could include:

  • Failure to diagnose a broken bone
  • Failure to properly align a broken bone
  • Failure to refer a patient to a medical specialist when it would have been considered appropriate to do so
  • Unnecessary surgery (when a plaster cast would have sufficed)
  • Negligent orthopaedic surgery (for example, mistakes in surgery that could lead to a poorer prognosis, or could cause damage that requires further corrective treatment)

If you have suffered harm because of orthopaedic negligence, you could be eligible to claim compensation. Medical professionals have a duty of care towards their patients. If they fail to meet the minimum standards of care expected of them, then they could be held liable for the harm they have caused because of their negligence.

What Is Orthopaedic Surgery Negligence?

Surgery could be required to repair damage from an orthopaedic injury you have suffered. Whether you require an arthroscopy (keyhole) surgery or are required to have open surgery, you could expect the procedure to fix the damage and help you heal. However, if you experience orthopaedic surgery negligence, this could lead you to suffer more damage. Orthopaedic surgery negligence could include:

  • Failure to properly align broken bones – If bones are not aligned correctly in arm surgery, for example, they may knit together incorrectly, and this could lead to loss of function in the area.
  • Failure to affix plates or pins correctly – If, for example, the wrong pin is used in leg surgery, this could cause the plate to move out of place, which could lead to complications.
  • Failure to take proper care of the surgical site – If you underwent ankle surgery, for example, and proper infection control measures were not adhered to, you could develop an infection at the site of the surgery, which could lead to complications.
  • Failure to control instruments – If a patient underwent shoulder surgery for example, and negligence by the surgeon in controlling instruments led to nerve injury, the movement of the shoulder could be compromised.

These are just a few examples of how orthopaedic negligence in surgery could cause harm. If you have suffered harm in any way because of negligence, then you could consider making an orthopaedic injury claim.

Orthopaedic Negligence In Hip Replacement Surgery

We have dedicated a section to hip replacement surgery as it could be considered one of the more common orthopaedic surgeries. If a hip replacement or hip resurfacing treatment is not done properly, it could have a profound effect on your ability to walk and move around properly.

Some common complications that could arise from negligent hip replacement surgery could include:

  • Swelling
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Numbness
  • Bone damage
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Pseudo-tumours
  • Foot drop

Faulty or failed metal-on-metal hip replacements could also be claimed for if the hip replacement product your surgeon used was thought to be faulty, and this caused you to require a further hip replacement earlier than you would usually have required one.

Missed Bone Fractures

We mentioned earlier that a proper diagnosis of orthopaedic injuries could be vital in ensuring they heal correctly. When you present at a medical facility with a suspected broken bone, your symptoms should be assessed and examined, and you may require further tests, such as X-rays, to determine whether a bone is, in fact, broken. If something goes wrong in this diagnostic process, it could cause you to miss the window of opportunity to treat the broken bone optimally. Causes of a missed fracture could include situations where:

  • An X-ray was not ordered
  • An X-ray was not reviewed properly
  • An X-ray was not taken from the correct angle

Consequences of missed fractures could have a severe effect on your recovery. If doctors miss a fracture to the hand, for example, and hand surgery is not performed within the optimal window of opportunity, this could lead to loss of function or grip. If you have suffered harm because a fracture has been missed, then you could look into making an orthopaedic injury claim.

Orthopaedic Negligence In A&E Treatment

While in many cases, the standard of care in UK accident and emergency departments could be considered good, mistakes could happen that could lead to patients suffering harm. Making quick decisions on whether to refer, admit or treat patients is something that A&E doctors do every day. They are sometimes under pressure to meet timescales in triaging and treating patients, and these pressures could affect the standard of care you receive. If the standard of care at A&E falls below what is expected, and you suffer harm because of this, you could consider claiming compensation.

Orthopaedic negligence at A&E could occur because doctors are inexperienced or stressed, leading to them making the wrong decision, or it could simply happen because the department is busy. If sufficient attention is not paid to a patient examination, the correct tests (such as X-rays) might not be ordered. 

Similarly, if the person performing the tests does not do so correctly, then those test results may not provide an accurate picture of the patient’s condition. And, if the person reviewing the test results does not review them correctly, then this provides another opportunity for the wrong advice or treatment to be given to the patient.

Further Types Of Orthopaedic Injuries

All types of orthopaedic injuries could cause long-term conditions, but it is the correct diagnosis and treatment that gives patients the best chance of recovery, whether injuries are minor or severe. Aside from broken bones, serious orthopaedic injuries, if not diagnosed and treated appropriately, could cause long term damage to a patient. These could include:

  • Missed ruptures to the Achilles’ tendons
  • Missed spinal injuries
  • Surgical errors, including knee surgery, foot surgery and other surgeries

If you are not sure whether you could be eligible for orthopaedic negligence compensation, we could assess your case to see if you could make an orthopaedic injury claim. Simply call us on 0161 696 9685.

Costs, Expenses And Financial Losses You May Claim For

If you make a claim for an orthopaedic injury and succeed, it’s likely your compensation package will be made up of two heads of claim: general damages (which we’ll come to below), and special damages. 

The role of special damages in compensation is to reimburse you for any financial losses or out of pocket expenses incurred because of your injury. These could include:

  • Loss of earnings – both present and future loss of earnings could be included as part of your claim
  • Care claim – if you have needed to be cared for at home because you weren’t able to care for yourself, these costs could also form part of your claim
  • Medical/Travel costs – travel and medical costs that arise because of your injury could also be claimed for

To help succeed in recovering back expenses and costs it’s vitally important you keep hold of all receipts and invoices, even bus tickets! Without evidence, it’s difficult to recover compensation. 

If you have incurred any other costs that arose specifically because of the orthopaedic negligence you’ve experienced and the harm that it has caused you, then please call us to see if they could be included within your orthopaedic injury claim.

Compensation Calculator For Orthopaedic Injury Claims

The other head of claim is general damages. This is intended to compensate you for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity experienced as a result of your injuries. 

If you would like to know how much compensation your claim for orthopaedic negligence could attract, you may be looking for a personal injury claims calculator to give you a rough idea. We have not included a calculator on this page. Instead,  we have chosen to provide information taken from the Judicial College Guidelines—a legal publication which details compensation awards made by the courts for different injuries— which could give you a more relevant idea of the payout bracket your claim could fall into. It’s important to remember that each case is different and the value is determined by its unique set of facts. This will, however, give you an idea. 

InjuryNotesGuideline Payout
Serious shoulder injuryDamage to lower portion of the brachial plexus and dislocation of the claimant’s shoulder. Sensory type symptoms could be present in the hand and forearm. Shoulder movement could be restricted. Symptoms could remain after shoulder surgery.£11,980 to £18,020
Moderate shoulder injuryWhere the shoulder is frozen and there is some movement restriction and discomfort. Symptoms could persist for around 2 years.£7,410 to £11,980
Arm injuries that result in permanent disablement that is substantialFractures where there is substantial cosmetic or functional disablement.£36,770 to £56,180
Less severe arm injuriesWhere substantial recovery has occurred or will take place£18,020 to £36,770
Wrist injuriesWith significant levels of permanent disablement but with some useful movement remaining.£22,990 to £36,770
Minor injuries to hands, fingers or thumbsRecovery would generally have occurred within 6 months.Up to £4,461
Moderate leg injuriesMultiple or complex fractures leading to the risk of some degenerative changes, as well. Imperfectly joined fractures could be included here.£26,050 to £36,790
Severe foot injuriesCases requiring extensive surgery could be included here. Severe restriction to movement and inability to wear normal shoes could result in cases being put in this bracket. Drop foot deformities requiring braces could also be included.£39,390 to £65,710

No Win No Fee Claims For Orthopaedic Injuries

There are certain benefits to using a personal injury lawyer to help you with your claim. Not only could they take on the legwork of building a claim, but they could also help assess any settlement offers to see whether you could fight for more compensation than you have been offered. 

It may be possible for you to retain the services of a personal injury solicitor for your orthopaedic injury on a No Win No Fee basis. A solicitor would ask you to sign a Conditional Fee Agreement, which means there would be no fees to pay at the outset of the case, nor while your claim is in progress, and if your claim is unsuccessful your solicitor will write off their fees, meaning you pay nothing.

If you win your case, your solicitor might ask for a small percentage of the compensation to help cover their fees. This is referred to as a success fee. It would be taken from your compensation at the end of the claim.  This success fee is capped by law, so you would not have to worry that all your compensation would go towards legal fees. 

How Legal Helpline Could Help You

If you’re wondering how to move forward with an orthopaedic injury claim, or how you could check your eligibility to claim compensation for orthopaedic negligence, one simple call to us could ensure you get the advice and support you are looking for. 

We could make an assessment of your case to see if it fits the eligibility criteria to claim, and our advisors could also offer to connect you with a specialist No Win No Fee solicitor to help you with your personal injury claim. We have countless years of experience behind us, and we know only too well how stressful the claims process can be. Therefore, we take care to make it as easy as possible for you to get the most appropriate guidance and assistance. Our previous clients would attest to our helpful, friendly and professional service, and we would like to extend the same level of service to you. We’re here to help, and all the advice we provide is free of charge, with no-obligation for you to use our services.

Start An Orthopaedic Injury Claim

Whether you’re in a position to begin an orthopaedic negligence claim, or you still have questions about the claims process or want to check if you could be eligible for compensation, you can call us on 0161 696 9685 or leave your details via our contact form and we’ll get in touch with you. Either way, we look forward to helping you.

Medical And Claims Resources

Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital Orthopaedics Information – Details of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital NHS Trust’s Orthopaedic services can be found here.

Orthopaedic Surgery Roles – This gives more details of how a doctor could qualify for a job in orthopaedics.

Referral Guide For Orthopaedics – This offers information on referrals for South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Hospital Negligence Resulting In Death – If hospital negligence has resulted in a loved one losing their life, then this guide could provide some useful information.

Making A Personal Injury Claim – This guide offers general advice on personal injury claims.

Broken Bone Case Study – This page explains more about how a compensation payout could be calculated for a broken foot.

 

Guide by JS

Edited by REG