If a fracture misdiagnosis has set you back, we'll help you move forward
Misdiagnosed fractures can worsen over time, leading to claims for delayed treatment and associated pain and suffering.
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a missed fracture diagnosis, we can help. If your injuries were caused by the negligence of a doctor, nurse, midwife or other medical professional, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a specialist clinical negligence solicitor.
In this article
You are not alone
In a study of a single A&E department, 79.9% of 953 diagnostic errors were missed fractures (emj.bmj.com).
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.
If you have been harmed by a missed fracture diagnosis, you may be eligible to make a clinical and medical negligence claim.
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.
Do I qualify for fracture misdiagnosis compensation?
You can claim medical negligence compensation if a medical professional's substandard treatment caused you harm.
Use our injury claim calculator to find out if you can claim. Alternatively, you can speak to a claims advisor on 0800 376 1001 and find out if you have a claim in minutes.
How long do I have to start a fracture misdiagnosis claim?
For a fracture misdiagnosis claim, you usually have 3 years to make a claim from the date you became aware that the harm you suffered was caused by substandard treatment (date of knowledge).
The 3 year limitation period does not apply to minors (under 18s). A parent, guardian or litigation friend can start a claim on a child's behalf up to their 18th birthday and the child has until their 21st birthday to claim for themselves.
How much compensation can I claim for a fracture misdiagnosis?
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness 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 injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.
Updated December 2023
Compensation Calculator v3.04
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 are awarded to compensate you for any costs or losses you've incurred or might incur as a result of your accident. These costs might include loss of wages, commission and any other income, damage to your car, or any other out of pocket expenses.
Special damages may also be awarded for medical treatments or procedures that you might need to treat your fracture misdiagnosis, including surgical repair, physical therapy and pain medication.
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.
Clinical negligence claims
Fracture misdiagnosis injuries are usually categorised as clinical negligence. Click on the icon below for more information.
How we can help you with your medical negligence claim
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning medical negligence claims.
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About the author
Chris Salmon is a co-founder and Director of Quittance Legal Services. Chris has played key roles in the shaping and scaling of a number of legal services brands and is a regular commentator in the legal press.