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Failure to diagnose a fracture
compensation claims

Failure to diagnose a fracture compensation claims

How much can you claim?

A 56 year old man's fractured wrist was misdiagnosed as a ligament injury for 6 months. The fracture widened which caused permenant damage and forced him to leave his job as a groundsman. He was awarded:


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Claiming for fracture misdiagnosis

Medical negligence whilst uncommon can have a big impact on your life and wellbeing.

Fractures, or broken bones, are a common medical issue. Most patients suffering from a fracture in the UK receive an excellent level of care, with a quick diagnosis and treatment delivery. However, some of those affected are misdiagnosed when they visit their GP or A&E, resulting in vital treatment being postponed.

An undiagnosed fracture doesn’t only prolong the pain experienced but can also lead to complications being more likely and progressing further. While rare, delay in fracture diagnosis complications can be severe and lead to life changing effects and, in some case, can lead to amputations or even be fatal. If you’ve been affected by medical negligence when you had broken a bone it’s right that you should be able to hold those at fault to account. The legal system can provide you with a route to not only get the answers that you deserve but receive financial compensation too.

If you’re interested in taking your fracture misdiagnosis claim further, we’re here to offer you the support and guidance you need. We have experience investigating  medical negligence cases and representing those affected, including when cases have gone to court. We work on the behalf of all our clients to ensure the best outcome possible in each of their cases.

We understand that a legal claim can seem like a daunting and complicated process but with our team on hand you know you always have someone you can turn to for advice. Whether you’re ready to take the next step after your fracture was misdiagnosed or would like to understand if you have a case you can take forward, we can help you.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

The time limit on making a fracture claim

All medical negligence claims must be made within a three-year timeframe. This time limit starts from the point that your first realised you had been let down by those responsible for your care.

If you do not claim within the set time period, your claim will be considered ‘statute barred’ or ‘out of time’ and will unfortunately not be taken further. There are two exceptions to this rule, in the case of children and if the negligence directly led to a fatality. In these cases suing the NHS for negligence is still possible as the date on which time begins to run is the date of the child’s 18th birthday, and in the case of fatalities, from the date of death.

In some cases, it can be some time before you realise that mistakes have been made, especially if you have been misdiagnosed multiple times. We’ll help you understand exactly how long you have to act by listening to your experience and pinpointing the ‘date of knowledge’.

You have up to three years to make a claim but we advise our clients to take action as soon as they are able. We know that taking on a medical negligence claim after suffering from a misdiagnosed fracture is likely to be the last thing on your mind. But when you instruct  us, you won’t have to worry. Our expert team will handle the case on your behalf, working with you to ensure the best outcome possible.

The reason we advise that you take action sooner rather than later is that is can help your case. We’ll use evidence to support you case, demonstrating the effect medical negligence has had. This will include a witness statement given by you. The more details you can include, the better we’re able to build your case. Most patients find that this is easier to do when they undertake the task sooner.

Throughout your claim, Your Legal Friend will help you every step of the way

  • Specialist team of medical negligence solicitors
  • A wealth of knowledge and expertise
  • Advice, support and guidance throughout your claim
  • No win, no fee – guaranteed
I am very happy and satisfied with the settlement you achieved for me and the service was excellent and thank you very much

Mrs E. Swaffield

Our fracture claims experience

Our medical negligence team has years of experience working on a wide variety of misdiagnosis cases so we understand just how difficult a decision it can be to bring an fracture case.

That’s why we are committed to guiding you through every step of the process. We ensure that your claim is handled carefully and professionally by our specialist solicitors, while working alongside medical experts, to guarantee the best results for you.

Our medical misdiagnosis team is headed by Laura Morgan who has a wealth of experience in leading complicated, high value fracture cases.

Laura is recognised within the legal profession as a leader in the field of medical negligence and serious injury compensation. Laura has acted in a wide range of cases over her 17 years of practice and has particular expertise in acting for children who have suffered brain injury due to mismanaged birth or surgical errors, and in managing claims that have resulted in the death of a loved one. Laura has achieved a number of large settlements including £5.4 million for a 7 year old and £4 million for an 11 year old child.

Laura’s expertise and dedication to her clients is recognised in the Chambers guide to the Legal Profession in which she was praised for the efficiency of her approach to case handling and described as “tenacious and detail-oriented”.

Laura has been a member of the Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel since 2005 and accredited as a Senior Litigator in the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) since 2006. Laura is also a member of the specialist lawyers panel for Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA), the UK’s leading charity committed to patient safety and justice.

The effects of medical negligence can be devastating for the individual and their families, so securing appropriate compensation for them as quickly as possible is our top priority.

Laura Morgan
Director of Medical Negligence

*Our No Win, No Fee agreement

Pay nothing if you lose your case, get maximum compensation if you win

Whatever the nature of your fracture claim, we always seek the maximum level of compensation for our clients – and if your case is unsuccessful, we don’t charge you any fees. This is our guarantee for all standard fracture claims.

With our no win, no fee guarantee, you pay nothing, unless you win your compensation claim. At that point you will only pay your insurance premium, if applicable, and the success fee, which will never be more than 25% of the amount you win.

No Win, No Fee Solicitors

Start your claim in 10 minutes

For a FREE, confidential, no-obligation assessment of your claim, simply complete this short form. We aim to call you back within 10 minutes.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

The fracture claims process

Step 1 - Obtaining your medical records

We ask you to sign forms of authority so that we can obtain your medical records from your GP and any hospitals that have treated you.

Step 2 - Providing your statement of what happened

As the medical experts we instruct need to know what happened during your treatment, we work with you to draft a detailed, accurate statement in your own words.

Step 3 - Minimising your loss

You are responsible for minimising the losses you have incurred as a result of the alleged medical negligence, so you need to attend any available treatments that could aid your recovery.  You may also need to return to work as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Step 4 - Establishing that a breach of duty occurred

You must prove that the treatment you received fell below the standard expected of a reasonably competent and skilful medical specialist of the type who treated you and that, as a result, you suffered a loss or injury.  To do this, we obtain independent medical evidence from an expert in the appropriate area of medicine.

Step 5 - Establishing the effect of the breach of duty

We have to establish whether the sub-standard treatment you received is likely to have led to your injury or loss. As this can be difficult to establish, you may need to see one or more medical experts who will assess your current condition and what the future holds for you.

Step 6 - Calculating the value of your claim

The value of your claim comprises:

  • general damages for the pain, suffering and impact of the negligence on your daily life both now and in the future
  • actual financial losses such as loss of earnings, cost of care, medical and travel expenses.

Step 7 - Proving your loss

You need to keep all original financial documents safe as these will be needed when we prepare your case to go to Court. These documents include accounts, payslips, and receipts for expenses and medical treatments.

Step 8 - Preparing your case for Court

Although only a small number of cases proceed to a trial, we prepare every case for this eventuality.

Step 9 - Attending the trial in Court

The trial takes place before a Circuit or High Court judge who will make a decision based on the evidence we have prepared.

Step 10 - Awarding your compensation claim

If you win your case, the amount of compensation will be decided by negotiation with the defendant or, if your case goes to trial, by the judge. The defendant will usually be ordered to pay us the costs we have incurred in preparing your case. We will also agree a date by which your compensation will be paid to us so that we can pay your compensation as quickly as possible.

Frequently asked questions

Can I claim for a fracture misdiagnosis?

If a delayed diagnosis of a fracture has caused you undue suffering or resulted in complications occurring, you may be able to make a successful failure to diagnose claim.

Failure to diagnose a fracture can have serious consequences but you must be able to show that those responsible for your care missed an opportunity to accurately diagnose you. Fracture misdiagnosis claims are all different and, as a result, how this is demonstrated can vary. You may show:

  • A delay is diagnosis of fracture occurring after your symptoms were examined but an x-ray was not ordered
  • Misdiagnosis occurring after an x-ray was conducted but the results were not accurately interpreted
  • Further tests not being conducted to rule out other potential causes of the symptoms

Compensation cases of misdiagnosis of fractures must also show that you suffered as a result of the delay in treatment. This could range from the additional pain you experienced to long-term complications that are a result of treatment not being delivered quick enough.

How much compensation will I get?

Fracture misdiagnosis compensation takes your personal experiences into account when deciding on the financial amount given. For this reason, it’s impossible to say how much your misdiagnosed fracture lawsuit could be worth without first speaking to you.

When you choose to work with Your Legal Friend, we’ll take the time to listen to you. Backed by years of experience, our fracture misdiagnosis lawyers will use their skills to give your case a value.

Financial compensation is split into two areas – general damages and special damages – and we’ll consider both. Special damages reflect the pain and suffering that has been caused, for instance, your claim’s value will rise if you experienced misdiagnosed fracture complications. Special damages could include areas such as recouping lost earnings after not being able to work, travel expenses, and medical costs, or other areas where you have been left out of pocket due to the negligence.

Fracture misdiagnosis compensation claims combine both general and special damages. If you want to learn how much your case could be worth, you can speak to a fracture misdiagnosis lawyer at Your Legal Friend to start the process of taking a claim forward.

How long do I have to make a claim?

If you want to make a misdiagnosis of fracture compensation claim you have up to three years to act from the ‘date of knowledge’.

The term ‘date of knowledge’ can confuse some claimants about the timeframe they are operating in. If you’re unsure how long you have to take action, the team at Your Legal Friend is here to help. We understand that fracture misdiagnosis claims can be complicated but work with you to make them as simple as possible. The ‘date of knowledge’ is when you realised that mistakes had been made in your level of care. For fractures, this is often when the fracture is identified and treatment is started.

You have a maximum of three years to make a fracture misdiagnosis malpractice case but we recommend that you take action sooner. We’ll use a witness statement and evidence to support your case and ensure it has a strong foundation. It’s typically easier to gather evidence the closer to the date of knowledge that fracture misdiagnosis claims are started.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

What is a fracture?

A fracture is a break in the bone. Fractures can occur to any of the 200 bones in the body but breaks are more likely to occur to the collarbone, arm, wrist, hip, or ankle. It’s possible to partially fracture a bone or completely break one and they’re most likely to occur in children and elderly people, as their bones tend to be weaker.

There are different types of fractures, including:

  • Complete fracture – This is where the bones snaps completely into two or more pieces.
  • Incomplete fracture – Where the bone breaks but not all the way through.
  • Open or compound fracture – This is where the bone breaks through the skin, resulting in a wound. The bone may be visible through the wound or it may recede.
  • Simple fracture – A simple fracture is when a break occurs but doesn’t pierce the skin.
  • Communuted fracture – This is where the force has caused the bone to fracture into several fragmented pieces, it’s most common in high-impact accidents.
  • Greenstick fracture – This is a type of fracture that most commonly occurs in children. It’s a type of incomplete fracture where the bone bends because the bone it’s still soft.

What causes a fracture?

A fracture occurs when excessive force is applied to the bone, resulting in it breaking or shattering. This can happen from simply falling over to being involved in a serious accident. Bones are usually strong and will typically absorb pressure when force is applied, where the force exceeds the amount of pressure a bone can withstand, a fracture occurs.

Common ways bone breakages can occur include:

  • Vehicle collisions
  • Sporting injuries
  • Falling from height
  • A heavy object falling onto the bone

Some people are more susceptible to a fracture. For instance, those with osteoporosis, a disease that weakens the bone, are more likely to sustain a fracture, even when limited force is applied. Children are also more likely to break their bones, as they are still developing.

What are the symptoms of a fracture?

The most common symptom of a fracture is pain. Most people that suffer from a fracture experience pain in the bone and surrounding area. When the fracture occurs, you may be able to hear a popping or snapping sound.

Other symptoms of a fracture may include:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Bruising
  • Limb that is bent at an unusual angle or looks deformed
  • Loss of function

If you’ve experienced a compound fracture, where the bone breaks through the skin, you will also be left with an open wound, where the bone may protrude.

How is a fracture diagnosed and treated?

The most common way for a broken bone to be diagnosed is through an x-ray. This will give medical professionals an image to assess how severe the fracture is.

In most cases, where the fracture is only minor, treatment will make sure the bones are in the correct position and allow them to heal naturally, sometimes with the aid of a splint, brace, or cast. Where fractures are more severe, surgery may be needed to insert metal rods or plates that will hold the pieces of bone together.

How can a fracture be misdiagnosed?

In most cases an x-ray will clearly show where a fracture has occurred. But that doesn’t mean that misdiagnosed fracture cases don’t happen.

While some fractures are easy to identify, others can be mistaken for a sprain and an x-ray may also not be conducted. If this has been the case it can lead to treatment being significantly delayed, potentially leading to long-term issues. Even if an x-ray is undertaken the results can occasionally by misinterpreted, especially if the fracture has occurred in small bones or an area that is difficult to see, such as the pelvis, wrist or hip, leading to fracture misdiagnosis cases.

In some cases, doctors would have been able to do little to treat the fracture. But in other circumstances delayed treatment can mean long-term pain and issues that can have an impact on areas such as mobility. If you’re fracture misdiagnosis has had an impact on your mobility, or another area of your life, you may be able to make a successful fracture misdiagnosis lawsuit against those to blame.

What are the complications of a misdiagnosed fracture?

Where a late fracture diagnosis has occurred, it’s possible for complications to develop. The misdiagnosis of a fracture can not only mean that the recovery process is longer but can lead to other, long-term conditions developing that may also need further treatment.

Among the conditions that can develop after a wrong fracture diagnosis are:

  • Compartment syndrome – This is a painful condition when pressure within the muscles builds, which can decrease blood flow. If left untreated it can cause permeant tissue damage, resulting in numbness, paralysis, and, in rare cases, the need for amputation.
  • Fat embolism – Bone breakages can cause fat tissue from the bone marrow to enter your blood stream. In most cases, this doesn’t result in any complications. However, where multiple bones or a large bone has broken it can lead to potentially life threatening fat embolism.
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – DVT is a blood clot that develops within a deep vein in the body. A breakage can cause blood vessels to become damaged, increasing the risk of DVT.
  • Avascular necrosis – If a breakage interrupts the blood supply to a bone it can lead to avascular necrosis, the death of the bone. It can lead to the bone eventually collapsing.
  • Mal-union – This is where the bone heals in an abnormal position and is the result of a fracture not receiving treatment quick enough. It can cause difficulty with movement in the long-term.
  • Joint stiffness – If a fracture isn’t properly treated, it can lead to long-term complications, such as joint stiffness and tenderness around the affected area.
  • Osteomyelitis – Osteomyelitis is the inflammation of a bone or bone marrow, usually caused by an infection. A fracture exposures the deep tissue, allowing bacteria to enter.

While you may be able to make a claim for a doctor misdiagnosed fracture, if the symptoms of a complication were not recognised, you may also be able to make a claim for this. You should be able to rely on those responsible for you care to first accurately diagnose a fracture and then treat any complications that arise. If this hasn’t occurred, fracture misdiagnosis claims can help those that have been affected.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

What conditions can a fracture be misdiagnosed as?

In many cases a misdiagnosed fracture isn’t linked to another serious condition but the symptoms are instead dismissed as a minor bump or sprain. This is more likely to happen if you’ve experienced an incomplete fracture or a fracture in a part of the body that is difficult to assess, as the results of an x-ray will be less obvious.

A missed fracture diagnosis can lead to longer recovery periods, as patients may continue to use the area rather than resting, and in some circumstances a wrong diagnosis fracture can lead to long-term complications. If you have experienced an A&E or GP misdiagnosis fracture that has affected how you recovered, you may be able to make a claim for compensation, reflecting the pain and suffering that the delay in vital treatment has caused.

How often is a fracture misdiagnosed?

There aren’t any official statistics showing the percentage of facture misdiagnosis in the UK. However, research in the British Medical Journal found that junior doctors miss around a third of abnormalities on x-rays, it’s findings led to some hospitals introducing a new process to ensure specialists review x-ray results. The findings highlight how it’s possible for a delay in fracture diagnosis to occur within hospitals.

Among the most common reasons for missing a fracture are misreading the results of tests or a failure to perform radiography.

Case studies of misdiagnosis of fracture include:

  • A patient suffering a fracture to the tip of the elbow being told there was no sign of a break at A&E despite an x-ray being conducted. Read more.
  • A hospital failing to spot fractures sustained by a disabled youngster. He later died as a result of trauma, resulting surgical procedure, and natural causes. Read more.
  • A man’s broken back being undiagnosed, despite an x-ray being conducted. Read more.
  • A man that was seriously injured in a car crash living with a broken neck for five months after doctors wrongly gave him the all clear. Read more.

How many fractures occur in the UK?

Fractures are a common medical issue in the UK, with around 1% of the population experiencing breaking a bone every year.