Knee arthroplasty and lawsuits: the experience in France. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 23, 3723–3728 (2015) doi:10.1007/s00167-014-3292-y

Knee arthroplasty and lawsuits: the experience in France

Gibon, E., Farman, T. & Marmor, S.


Data regarding knee arthroplasty and lawsuit are scarce. With the expected increase in knee arthroplasty over the next 25 years, the number of claims might follow the same trend. Therefore, the most frequent causes of litigation after knee arthroplasty in France, and what is considered as malpractice by the expert, were determined.



Over 8-year period, data gathered from a French private insurance company specializing in malpractice for private practitioners were analyzed. Demographics, type of knee arthroplasty, reason for claim, details of the legal procedure and the expert’s decision were reviewed.



One hundred and five claims were processed by four jurisdictions. Most of the cases concerned primary total knee arthroplasty. Surgeons and anesthesiologists were charged in 84 and 16 % of claims, respectively. The most frequent causes of litigation were infection, neurological deficit and unsatisfactory result, whereas the most common reasons for the surgeon’s liability, as stated by the expert, were delay in diagnosis or treatment of a complication, infection and technical error.



Our findings show that frequent complications are not those which raise most of the claims. Patients sue the surgeon when the outcome of the surgery is different from what they were expecting. An unsatisfactory result, according to the patient’s point of view, is the second most frequent cause of claim.


Level of evidence

IV, Economic and Decision Analysis. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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