A Guide to Claiming Fracture Misdiagnosis Compensation

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a missed fracture diagnosis we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a missed fracture diagnosis and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

Introduction

A fracture is a serious injury that should be treated as a priority medical event. Despite this, missed diagnosis of fracture is one of the leading causes of complaint against Accident and Emergency Departments across the UK.

If not dealt with correctly, fractures can have severe and long-term consequences. Missed diagnosis of fracture can cause the bone to degenerate further or lead to complications such as osteoarthritis or infection.

In many cases, the outcome for the patient will be significantly worse than if the fracture had been identified when the patient first sought medical attention.

Anyone who has suffered injury after a missed fracture diagnosis may be eligible to make a clinical and medical negligence claim.

Do I have a fracture misdiagnosis claim?

Medical negligence claims differ from personal injury claims as the following will need to be established:

  • there was a breach of duty ("negligence" or "fault"); and
  • the breach of duty was the cause of your injury, damage or loss ("causation" or "avoidable harm").

Breach of Duty

A breach of duty means that the standard of care you received was below the standard that could reasonably be expected of a competent healthcare professional.

Causation

To establish causation, it will need to be demonstrated that the injury you suffered resulted from the negligent care rather than the underlying condition.

Get an impartial opinion

To get impartial advice on whether you have a claim, speak to a fracture misdiagnosis claim expert on 0800 612 7456.

A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.

You can also find out if you have a claim with our Online Claim Checker.

Is compensation always payable?

If an error occurred during treatment and the patient was harmed as a result, this may be referred to as an "undesirable outcome".

Not all treatment that results in an undesirable outcome will result in the payment of compensation.

Sometimes an undesirable outcome is due to a known risk associated with the treatment, or due to a mistake that a doctor could reasonably have made in the circumstances.

How long do I have to start a claim?

If your injury is apparent immediately after medical treatment, you will have 3 years to start a claim.

It may be that the negligent procedure happened more than 3 years ago, but your injury was only diagnosed recently, within the last 3 years. If so, you may still be able to make a claim.

What if your injury was diagnosed months or years after treatment?

You may not be immediately aware of your injury. In some cases, months and even years can pass before symptoms appear.

The law allows you to make a medical negligence claim up to three years after the 'date of knowledge' (when you first learned of the injury).

It is recommended that you start a claim as soon as possible, as medical negligence cases can be complex. Starting your claim sooner will give your solicitor more time to gather medical evidence, assess the extent of your injury and to negotiate interim payments and your final compensation amount.

How much compensation can I claim for fracture misdiagnosis?

The amount of money you could claim for your fracture misdiagnosis will depend on:

  • the extent of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your fracture misdiagnosis has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after a fracture misdiagnosis? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

What is the average injury compensation for a fracture misdiagnosis claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following a fracture misdiagnosis will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your fracture misdiagnosis compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

See the injury table above for some examples.

Can I claim for an existing fracture misdiagnosis that has got worse?

Yes, it is possible to pursue a claim in the event that a pre-existing medical condition, illness or injury is made worse or aggravated by an accident or someone else's negligence.

Can I get an interim payment?

Interim payments are effectively an advance on a probable compensation award. An interim payment may be awarded if the claimant is in immediate financial hardship.

Fracture misdiagnosis compensation calculator

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a fracture misdiagnosis injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your fracture misdiagnosis claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a missed fracture diagnosis claim take?

How long it can take to get compensation for a missed fracture diagnosis can vary considerably.

For instance, a simple uncontested medical negligence claim might be concluded in 12 to 24 months. However, if liability is denied the process might take a few years. On average a medical negligence claim takes between 12 and 36 months. For more information on how long your claim could take, read:

How long will my claim take?

Will I still be able to claim for a fracture misdiagnosis after the law changes in April 2020?

The law relating to personal injury claims is changing in April 2020.

You will no longer be able to claim no win, no fee compensation using a solicitor for lower value claims (under £5,000).

In addition, compensation for whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries will be reduced.

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your fracture misdiagnosis claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

How might a fracture be missed?

A missed diagnosis, or misdiagnosis, occurs whenever a doctor fails to identify the fracture. Misdiagnosis can occur for a number of reasons, including:

  • Doctors failing to investigate the symptoms of a fracture
  • Inexperienced doctors failing to request an x-ray
  • GP negligence, for example, where the doctors misidentifies the fracture as a pulled muscle or sprain
  • Lack of swelling and other symptoms in certain types of fracture, such as a scaphoid fracture, such that the doctor fails to spot the problem
  • The x-ray being taken from the wrong angle so the fracture is not seen
  • Misinterpretation of x-ray results
  • The x-ray not being passed on to the medical team for further action.

What are the consequences of a missed fracture?

Without timely treatment, the fracture may fail to knit together or heal in the wrong position. In the short term, the patient is likely to experience additional pain. The delay in diagnosis may also result in the treatment becoming more complicated than it would have been had the fracture been spotted when the patient first visited their doctor.

Missed fractures can also lead to serious long-term problems including reduced range of movement and an increased risk of the patient developing osteoarthritis in the affected area.

These complications can have ramifications for a person's mobility and their ability to work, drive or enjoy hobbies. Loss of earnings and loss of amenity are frequently assessed as part of a missed diagnosis of fracture compensation claim.

Making a missed diagnosis of fracture claim

To make a successful claim, the injury lawyer will need to establish negligence on the part of the medical team.

Breach of duty occurs whenever the medical professional failed to act reasonably in assessing the injury, by reference to the actions that a competent doctor in the same field might reasonably be expected to have taken.

The injury lawyer must also demonstrate that the missed or late diagnosis of the fracture caused the patient further pain or injury.

As an initial step, the injury lawyer will commission an independent medical examination to assess the impact of the missed diagnosis and determine whether further suffering could have been avoided. The medical report will form the basis of the compensation claim.

Regrettably, not all cases of missed fracture diagnosis will be eligible for a compensation claim. For example, if the mistake was discovered before the patient suffered any damage as a result of the missed diagnosis, then it is unlikely that a claim may be made. An injury solicitor will be able to assess whether or not your potential claim is likely to succeed.

No win, no fee, no risk

'No win, no fee' means that if your fracture misdiagnosis claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay your solicitor any money. Known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA', no win, no fee is a legal contract between you (the 'claimant') and your solicitor.

No win, no fee guarantee

If you have been injured and it wasn't your fault, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of claiming compensation for your fracture misdiagnosis injury.

What do I pay if I win my fracture misdiagnosis claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, once your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my fracture misdiagnosis claim?

If your fracture misdiagnosis claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees whatsoever. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

Is there a catch?

The Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) sets out the terms between you and your solicitor., No Win No Fee is a regulated activity and as such there should be no nasty surprises in the agreement. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you read the agreement carefully and ask any questions if you are unsure.

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning medical negligence claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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Fracture misdiagnosis FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert