Making a claim for the misdiagnosis of a fracture is not as straightforward as many people believe. There are a number of scenarios in which a misdiagnosis would not necessarily prevent the fracture from healing as it normally would, or in which a misdiagnosis would be considered acceptable “at the time and in the circumstances” by the general medical community.
Without an injury it is not possible to claim for the misdiagnosis of a fracture – even though it is plainly obvious that a medical mistake has been made. Similarly, if the failure to diagnose a fracture was attributable to known medical event – for example an examination being conducted too early after an accident – the examining medical practitioner might not be considered to have acted negligently.
Furthermore, even when strong evidence of negligence exists to support a claim for the misdiagnosis of a fracture, the settlement of compensation for misdiagnosing a fracture can be difficult to calculate accurately. This is because it may be many years – even decades – before the symptoms of bone degeneration or osteoarthritis manifest.
Claiming Compensation for Misdiagnosing a Fracture
If you believe that you have suffered an avoidable injury due to the negligence of an examining medical practitioner, you should speak with a medical negligence solicitor at the first practical opportunity. After discussing how your accident happened and how soon after your accident you sought medical attention, your solicitor will request access to your medical records.
Your medical records will be reviewed by an independent medical expert to establish whether there was any excusable reason for the misdiagnosis of a fracture and – if not – whether “on the balance of probabilities” your injury deteriorated due to the examining medical professional´s lack of care. Provided that there is evidence of negligence and a significant injury, your solicitor will send a “Letter of Claim” to the medical facility responsible for your care.
The Letter of Claim simply informs the medical centre that you have suffered an injury due to medical negligence and are making a claim for the misdiagnosis of a fracture. The medical centre (usually an NHS Trust or a GP practice) has ninety days in which to conduct its own investigation and admit liability for your injury, after which your solicitor will negotiate a settlement of compensation for misdiagnosing a fracture.
Settling a Claim for the Misdiagnosis of a Fracture
How much compensation for misdiagnosing a fracture you receive depends on many different factors. Your solicitor will be guided by the independent medical expert on the possibility of bone degeneration or osteoarthritis in the future, and other considerations to be taken into account would include the location of the misdiagnosed fracture, whether it affected a weight-bearing bone, and the time that passed until the fracture was diagnosed correctly.
If you require further treatment for the bone to heal correctly – and will lose income because you have to take time off from work – that will also be taken in account, as well any impact that the undiagnosed fracture has had on your quality of life. This means that you will be able to claim compensation for misdiagnosing a fracture if you are unable to engage in social or recreational pursuits that formed part of your regular routine because of the examining medical practitioner´s negligence.
It is important to understand that a time limit exists for making a claim for the misdiagnosis of a fracture. This limit is three years from the date you are aware your fracture was misdiagnosed – not the date on which you originally had an accident or went to hospital. Although three years may seem plenty long enough to make a claim for the misdiagnosis of a fracture, you should not delay in seeking professional legal advice from a medical negligence solicitor.
Legal Advice about Claims for Misdiagnosed Bone Fractures
Because making a claim for the misdiagnosis of a fracture is not as straightforward as many people believe, we have set up a Medical Negligence Advice Bureau that you are invited to call if you would like legal advice about claiming compensation for misdiagnosing a fracture. Our service is completely confidential, free of charge, and does not put you under any obligation to make a claim for the misdiagnosis of a fracture.
Our Medical Negligence Advice Bureau enables you to obtain the information you need to decide for yourself whether you have a claim for the misdiagnosis of a fracture that may be worth your while to pursue. As there are so many circumstances in which it may not be possible to claim compensation for misdiagnosing a fracture, it is in your best interests to discuss your specific situation with an experienced medical negligence solicitor to get the most appropriate legal advice.