By Daniel Boimler. Last Updated 11th November 2022. This online guide looks at negligence due to a missed ankle fracture diagnosis, and how in some circumstances it may be possible to claim compensation.
We discuss why mistakes are made, and how, if you fall victim to negligence, you may be eligible to file a medical negligence claim against a third party.
Each claim has its own unique characteristics, and as such although the guide covers as much as possible, it might not answer all the questions you may have. If this turns out to be the case, don’t worry, we can still help you.
All you need to do is reach out to our team on 0800 652 3087. One of our advisers can answer any questions you have, and provide you with free legal advice on how to proceed with a missed ankle fracture claim.
Choose A Section:
- A Guide To Claiming For The Misdiagnosis Of An Ankle Fracture
- What Is A Missed Ankle Fracture?
- Why Are Fractures Misdiagnosed?
- Fractured And Broken Ankle Causes
- Fractured Ankle Symptoms
- Diagnosing And Treating Fractured And Broken Ankles
- Could I Make A Medical Negligence Claim?
- Claims For Ankle Fractures Missed By A GP
- Claims For Ankle Fractures Missed By A Hospital
- What Do Patients Have A Legal Right To Within The NHS Constitution?
- How Long Do I Have To Make A Missed Fracture Claim?
- Missed Broken Ankle Compensation – Payout Examples
- Ankle Claims – No Win No Fee Solicitors
- Speak To Us About Your Missed Fracture Claim
- Supporting Resources
This online guide aims to provide people who suffered due to a missed fracture of the ankle with essential information on whether they could be entitled to seek compensation from a negligent third party. When a serious injury such as this goes untreated for a period of time, the damage can be exacerbated, and the chance of making a full recovery lowered.
Should this be the case, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help you make a medical malpractice claim. We start the guide off by looking at what a missed ankle fracture is, and how negligent acts on the part of a medical professional could mean you have grounds to claim compensation.
The middle section of the guide covers how and why missed ankle fractures might occur. We cover misdiagnosis, as well as some of the many causes of broken ankles. We list the main symptoms of this type of injury, and what could happen when a doctor misses it. We go over how a fractured ankle should be diagnosed and treated.
Next, the guide covers specific examples of claims, such as a GP or a hospital missing your fractured ankle injury. We detail your rights as a National Health Service (NHS) patient, although we also cover mistakes made by a private healthcare facility.
The last section covers information and facts related to the claims process itself and provides key information such as the time limit have to file your claim. You will also find a table that provides possible compensation you may be awarded in a successful claim. This table is based on the Judicial College Guidelines which are used by the courts in England to value a claim.
Lastly, we look at how using the services of a legal team working under a No Win No Fee agreement, can help minimise financial risks of making a compensation claim.
If you have any questions about the process of using a personal injury solicitor to help file a claim for clinical negligence, or you have any queries about the contents of this guide, please call our team. An adviser will talk through your situation, evaluate whether you could have a valid claim or not, while offering legal advice which is free of charge.
What Is A Missed Ankle Fracture?
There are many kinds of commonly missed ankle fractures. The misdiagnosis of a broken ankle could occur for a number of reasons, which we cover a later. The missed diagnosis could take place in a private healthcare facility, or it could be due to NHS negligence in a state-run hospital.
In many cases, the victim will have visited the Accident and Emergency Department following some kind of accident to have their injuries diagnosed and treated. The mistake could be made in the diagnostic process, or the fracture is either overlooked entirely, or diagnosed as a different kind of injury. This means that the fracture either goes untreated, or the wrong treatment is administered. This could have a negative effect on the health of the patient, as their fractured ankle will likely get worse if not treated in the first instance.
Why Are Fractures Misdiagnosed?
In order to understand why ankle fractures are missed, we need to look at the way that a misdiagnosis of fracture could occur. Some fractures, such as a serious compound fracture, are very easily diagnosed. Other fractures, such as hairline fractures are much harder to diagnose, and if they are not visible on an X-ray, it could lead to a missed fracture in an ankle. However, medical professionals have a process for diagnosing fractures that does not rely on an X-Ray or any other test alone. The process is:
- Determine the way the injury was caused, the forces that were applied, and the events that took place following an accident
- To take into consideration any history of injuries to the ankle
- To check the patient’s medical history for anything that could cause them to be prone to fractures
- To examine the lower leg and foot, including moving all joints to determine limits of movement
These tests are carried out by a qualified medical professional, and should ensure that ankle fractures are not missed. However, mistakes can be made and patients could suffer because of this.
If your fractured ankle was missed by a doctor or other medical professional, you could have grounds to file a claim for fracture misdiagnosis compensation if you can prove a mistake lead to the misdiagnosis of an ankle fracture.
Fractured And Broken Ankle Causes
The majority of ankle fractures are caused by a rotational injury. The ankle is twisted, or impacted by a high-force. Sudden fractures of the ankle are referred to as traumatic fractures, whereas fractures caused by repetitive strain on the ankle are called stress fractures.
A broken ankle can be caused in many ways, such as:
- In a road traffic accident
- A slip, trip or fall in the street or in a building
- Sporting accidents – stress fractures caused by too much sport
- Accidents that result in the ankle being crushed
Whenever a person suffers an ankle fracture, and a mistake is made during the diagnostic process resulting in a missed broken ankle, the victim may be able to make a claim if they can prove negligence on the part of a medical professional took place.
Fractured Ankle Symptoms
Many people who break an ankle will suffer symptoms that are severe enough for them to realise they have sustained a serious injury which needs rapid treatment. However, in some cases the symptoms may not be severe, or cause much pain, or manifest themselves until sometime after the injury occurred.
The typical symptoms of a fractured ankle are:
- Pain at the time the injury occurred, followed by steady throbbing pain
- The pain will intensify with movement and dissipate when resting
- Swelling of the ankle, foot and leg
- Severe bruises on the ankle, the foot and the lower leg
- Tenderness to touch
- A misshapen or deformed ankle. For example, the foot sticking out at a strange angle
- Difficulty walking or bearing weight on the ankle
Symptoms such as these could indicate a broken ankle. They should be sufficient to warrant a medical professional checking for a fracture. If the medical professional does not, and the fracture is overlooked, you may be able to claim missed ankle fracture compensation if you can prove negligence took place.
Diagnosing And Treating Fractured And Broken Ankles
When a medical professional suspects that a patient has suffered a fractured ankle, they have a number of tools at their disposal to help them with the diagnosis, these include:
- A physical examination
- A stress test, performed by putting pressure on the ankle to see if a fracture opens up. Generally, this test is carried out in combination with an X-Ray
- An X-Ray to pinpoint the location and severity of a fracture
- A CT scan that takes cross-section images of the ankle
- An MRI scan that shows how both bone and tissue have been damaged
Once a diagnosis has been made, treatment can be administered. There are a number of proven treatments known to be effective and which would alleviate the symptoms of a fractured ankle, and these are:
- The application of ice, which can help to reduce swelling and also combat pain
- A cast or splint to immobilise the ankle while the fracture heals
- Surgical pins and rods to keep ankle bones in place while the fracture heals. The process of resetting the bones is known as reduction
- Corrective surgery to reshape bones, repair damage to the muscles and ligaments of the ankle
This kind of treatment is critical when taking care of a fractured ankle. When a fracture is missed, the treatment could be delayed which can exacerbate the injury. If this happened to you and it is possible to prove a mistake was made, you could have grounds to file a negligence compensation claim.
Could I Make A Medical Negligence Claim?
For your claim to be valid, it must fulfil three requirements. These are:
- A medical professional had a duty of care towards you, which they failed to meet
- The failure to meet the duty of care led to you being harmed in some way
- Had the medical professional taken alternative actions, you would not have been harmed
If you believe that you have been harmed due to clinical negligence, it is down to you to prove that negligence on the part of a medical professional took place. If you can’t do prove this, it is unlikely your claim would be valid. For more information and free legal advice, please speak to our team.
Claims For Ankle Fractures Missed By A GP
Your GP is responsible for making the initial diagnosis of an injury or illness, and then either treating it themselves, or referring you to the correct healthcare unit for treatment.
In the case of a fractured ankle, such as a stress fracture, the GP may not diagnose the fracture correctly, they may believe that it is some other medical condition. This means that you would not receive the treatment you need. When a GP makes this kind of mistake, you could have a valid basis to make a compensation claim for medical negligence.
Claims For Ankle Fractures Missed By A Hospital
When a person visits the hospital to have an injury treated, they expect the doctors, nursing staff and other hospital employees, to deal with them in a professional and competent manner. However, mistakes are made and accidents can happen which results in a patient receiving sub-standard treatment, or having an ankle fracture missed.
When a negligence complaint is made against a hospital, for a hospital misdiagnosed a fracture, the complaint is processed and evaluated. If the board finds that negligence did not occur, it will be down to you, the victim, to prove that it did. If you would like some information about how to prove hospital negligence, please speak to our team.
What Do Patients Have A Legal Right To Within The NHS Constitution?
The NHS Constitution covers every aspect of a patient rights, from the quality of food that must be served in hospitals to the procedure for having a doctor struck off. If you were to become the victim of negligence that results in a missed fracture in an ankle, your patient rights would be used by your lawyer as leverage for filing a hospital negligence compensation claim.
There is also a clearly defined procedure for making negligence complaints against an NHS employed medical professional, or an NHS run healthcare facility. This procedure forms the initial step of starting a negligence claim. Speak to our team to learn more about this process.
How Long Do I Have To Make A Missed Fracture Claim?
There is a personal injury claims time limit that would apply to your claim. You must begin your claim within this time limit or you may find that is is ‘time barred’, and as such, you will not be eligible to make a claim. In relation to negligence claims, the following time limits apply:
- For people over the age of 18, three years from the time they suffered an injury, or the date the symptoms of a medical condition were diagnosed
- For people under the age of 18, three years from their 18th birthday which means they have up till they are 21 to file a negligence claim
In some cases, these time limits may differ. As such, it is best to seek legal advice from a member of our team sooner rather than later so you do not run out of time to file a negligence claim against a third party.
Missed Broken Ankle Compensation – Payout Examples
If you’re making a claim for medical negligence due to a missed diagnosis of a broken ankle, you cannot claim compensation for the broken ankle you suffered initially, only for the effects the missed diagnosis had on your injury.
Factors such as how long your injury has affected you, or how your condition may have worsened could all affect the valuation of your claim, so compensation will be calculated uniquely to you, based on the evidence you can provide.
In a successful claim, you can be awarded compensation for two effects of an injury – the pain and suffering you went through and any financial effects. These are known as general damages and special damages, respectively.
There are materials that may be referred to by the legal professionals working in your claim that can help them calculate broken ankle compensation. One of these is the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG), a periodically updated publication.
The table below includes figures from the 2022 update of this publication to act as a rough guide of what your injury could be worth.
|These are very severe, often unusual injuries such as a transmalleolar fracture of the ankle, the injury would heal but it would deform the ankle in some way. Furthermore, if the leg is injured again in the future, it may mean that the leg needs to be removed from the knee down. Also, injuries such as bilateral ankle fractures that would cause the ankle joint to degrade, even in children, and this degradation would result in some level of disability.
|£50,060 to £69,700
|Severe ankle injuries that will require extensive treatment that could last for a long time. It also might require the victim to spend an extended period in a plaster cast. Surgical pins, rods or plates may have been used to immobilise the ankle until the injury has healed. There would be a significant level of disability in the future, with limited walking ability and an unstable ankle.
|£31,310 to £50,060
|All fractures (hairline, simple, compound, etc.), torn ligaments and other soft tissue injuries that will leave the victim with a measurable disability but not one that will have a dramatic effect on their life, such as preventing them working. This could be difficulty standing for long periods, problems navigating stairs, and unable to walk easily on uneven ground.
|£13,740 to £26,590
|Minor fractures, sprains, strains, ligament damage and other soft tissue injuries. Compensation will include a provision for impairments, such as reduced walking ability due to the ankle being weakened and prone to giving way, or where the injury has left significant permanent scarring.
|Up to £13,740
Missed Broken Ankle Compensation – Other Payout Examples
You could then request special damages for any financial losses.
For example, financial losses caused by:
- Being unable to work due to a lack of treatment
- Continued care or treatment costs
- Adaptations to help you cope with the worsening of your condition.
You can make a claim for losses you have suffered, or losses you expect to suffer, as part of your missed broken ankle compensation payout.
For a personalised valuation that is more relevant to you and your claim, please reach out to a member of our team
When seeking broken ankle compensation, the process could be made easier with the help of a personal injury solicitor. They could even assist you on a No Win No Fee basis.
All of the lawyers on our panel could offer to help you on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that they take a pre-arranged and legally capped percentage from your settlement if your claim succeeds. If you do not receive a settlement, your lawyer does not get paid by you.
You could also potentially avoid having to pay an upfront fee.
Find out more about hiring a solicitor on a No Win No Fee basis to help with ankle injury claims by getting in touch with our advisors today. If you’ve broken your ankle, then permanent damage could be sustained. If the injury was caused by negligence, you could be owed compensation.
Have you suffered due to a missed ankle fracture? Do you think you could have a valid reason to make a claim for the harm you suffered? If so, you may wish to speak to our team about how you can arrange for a medical negligence solicitor to process your claim for you.
These external pages might be of use:
You might also like to read over these other guides that we have published elsewhere on this site:
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Article by MW