A broken wrist is not the worst-case scenario, but it can be painful and potentially affect your ability to work, play sports or carry out day to day tasks for at least a limited amount of time. We all need to be able to rely on doctors when we have an injury to diagnose the injury correctly so we can receive the proper treatment. A misdiagnosis of a distal radius fracture could result in a lack of treatment or ineffective treatment, affecting your recovery and causing you unnecessary hardship.
This could give you grounds to make a no win no fee personal injury claim if it is proven that the misdiagnosis and subsequent health problems were the faults of a doctor who was negligent. Medical Negligence Assist specialises in helping people who have suffered from medical negligence, such as a negligent missed fracture of the distal radius, make no win no fee personal injury claims for compensation.
This guide will go over some of the things you need to know about making a personal injury claim before contacting us to reach a medical negligence lawyer.
Choose A Section
- A Guide To Claiming For A Missed Distal Radius Fracture
- What Is A Missed Fracture Of The Distal Radius?
- Causes Of Wrist Fractures Being Misdiagnosed
- Causes Of A Distal Radius Fracture
- Symptoms Of Fractures To The Distal Radius
- Distal Radius Fracture Diagnosis And Treatment
- When Medical Misdiagnosis Claims Could Be Made
- Claims Against Doctors Or GP’s For Missed Distal Radius Fracture
- Claims Against Hospitals For Missed Distal Radius Fractures
- Rights For Patients Under NHS Care
- How Long You Have To Claim For A Missed Distal Radius Fracture
- Missed Distal Radius Fracture Compensation Calculator
- No Win No Fee Compensation Claims For A Misdiagnosed Distal Radius Fracture
- Start Your Claim
- Supporting Resources
Diagnosing an injury is a crucial part of ensuring a patients recovery. This guide will teach you some of the ways that this could go wrong, what its effects of that might be, and when it could justify you making a compensation claim against the hospital or doctor responsible.
We also will aim to answer some of your questions, such as how long can you wait to start making a claim, how is compensation calculated, and what is an easy way to make sure that making a personal injury claim is affordable for those who are worried about heavy legal bills.
The distal radius is the wrist joint that makes up the important part of the wrist. It is nearly always the distal radius that has been damaged when people suffer a broken wrist. It is important that you go and see a doctor to have your wrist looked at in order to properly diagnose it and receive treatment.
When you go to be examined by a doctor, it is expected of them to be able to spot and correctly diagnose a broken wrist. A fracture of the distal radius could be missed if a doctor is negligent, meaning that they fail to carry out treatment for their patient to the standard expected of all medical professionals.
An undiagnosed fracture could lead to severe health problems and unnecessary, preventable harm and suffering. If it is not diagnosed, it will probably not be treated properly. A lack of treatment could lead to the bone suffering further damage, healing and fusing incorrectly leading to deformation and loss of use of the wrist, as well as causing the victim to experience significant pain.
If doctors and hospitals are carrying out their duties correctly, then there should be little chance of a fractured wrist going unnoticed or misdiagnosed. However, there are a number of ways in which a misdiagnosis could occur if these duties are not carried out to the proper standard. Some of the mistakes and failures resulting in a misdiagnosis could include:
- A doctor failing to fully examine the injury
- A doctor failing to order an X-ray for the patient’s wrist
- An X-ray being performed incorrectly
- The results of an X-ray not being passed on correctly
Bone fractures can be caused by any blow or strain of sufficient force. Many wrist fractures can be caused by falls, specifically people landing on their outstretched hands when they try and break their fall. Older people or people suffering from health problems that can weaken the bone are particularly at risk of suffering from bone fractures as a result of having accidents and falling.
Other situations in which distal radius fractures can occur can include being in a car accident, falling off a bike or suffering a sports injury.
If you have hurt your wrist, you may be wondering whether or not you have broken it. If you have already been told by a doctor that you don’t have a broken bone, but you are still concerned then keep an eye out for the following symptoms which could indicate a fractured distal radius.
- Swelling or bruising around the wrist
- Difficulty moving the hand or the wrist.
- Deformities such as your arm seeming bent or the hand being out of place.
- Pain, with the wrist being especially painful when you attempt to move it.
- Feeling the sensation of a snap-in your wrist and sudden pain at the moment of impact.
If you experience any of these symptoms, then there is a good chance that you may have suffered a distal radius fracture, in which case you should probably get yourself seen by a doctor. If you have already been seen by a doctor or have been to the hospital and were told you hadn’t broken a bone, then you should consider getting a second opinion.
If you suffer a distal radius fracture that is untreated due to misdiagnosis, then there are a number of potential long term problems.
- Stiffness or full immobilisation of the joint
- Greatly increased risk of developing arthritis
- Lasting pain
- Damage to blood vessels and nerves
A doctor will diagnose your injury by examining the area which has been injured and asking you questions about how the accident occurred. They will be on the lookout for the symptoms which were listed in the previous section. Any doctor can be expected to at least confirm that some kind of fracture has occurred or at least send you to have further tests to confirm. Even in cases where the doctor is able to tell that you have a fracture through this simple examination, they will still most likely send you off for a scan in order to ascertain the location and nature of the fracture.
There are a variety of scanning and imaging techniques that can be used to give doctors a clear picture of the bone and its fracture. These include MRI scans, CT scans and X-rays. CT scans and MRI’s may be used in some cases, but for most fracture injuries such as a distal radius fracture, only an X-ray will be necessary. Having an exact picture of where and how the bone is broken allows the doctors to provide appropriate and effective treatment.
Depending on the nature of the fracture, there are a number of ways in which the fracture can be treated.
- Resetting the bone. In some cases, doctors can simply manually push the bone back into place. In some cases, this will take a dose of anaesthetic or painkillers in order to be done without unnecessary pain and distress for the patient.
- You may be given a splint, a cast or a brace in order to keep your arm still and keep the bones in place until they have healed sufficiently.
- Broken bones are often painful and can also continue to cause pain during the healing process. Painkillers can be administered or prescribed to help the patient get through the process. Anti-inflammatory drugs may also be administered to ensure that tissues around the bones don’t obstruct the process.
- Although it is unwise to try and move a broken wrist very much in the early stages, at a certain point after a few weeks, it will be necessary to begin exercises as directed by a doctor in order to regain motion in the wrist.
- Surgical treatment. In more severe cases, surgery might be necessary in order to get the bones to reset in the right place. Pins, braces and wires may also be implanted in some cases in order to keep the bones in place for them to heal.
Medical misdiagnosis claims can be made when it is proven that a doctor or a hospital has failed to provide medical care of the standard expected of them, and when it can be proven that harm has been caused to the patient as a result. Only if both these issues are the case could a personal injury claim be made? Just because a patient has suffered an injury or failed to make a full recovery does not necessarily mean that the doctor or hospital which treated them is at fault, and not all instances of medical negligence necessarily cause the patient to suffer harm.
As mentioned in the section on wrist fracture symptoms, failure to correctly diagnose a broken distal radius can lead to a much worse condition, as well as potentially causing the bone to fail to heal properly and causing the patient unnecessary pain. If a doctor’s negligence has caused this, then they could be classed as having failed in their duty of care towards you. In these circumstances, you could be entitled to make a personal injury claim.
A claim could potentially be made if a doctor was negligent or made a mistake, causing them to miss the signs of a fracture, resulting in the fracture going untreated. Mistakes or negligence by a doctor may involve:
- Not performing a proper examination of the patient’s wrist, thus failing to spot the signs of a fracture.
- Not referring the patient to an X-ray.
- Prescribing a treatment for the wrist fracture that is inappropriate.
The diagnosis of a fractured wrist will be made in a hospital. Either because the injury was severe enough to warrant going to the Accident & Emergency department, or because you were sent to the hospital to have an X-ray or other scan done.
The doctors in the A&E department of a hospital could make the same mistakes as a doctor in a GP surgery. A&E staff and doctors could more often find themselves under more pressure than a doctor in a GP surgery, due to the number of patients they treat who have critical injuries, and it is potentially possible that an injury such as a fractured wrist could get overlooked if the patient has come in with more severe injuries as well. Nevertheless, the duty of care to which all doctors are bound means that the hospital staff must be able to correctly diagnose all of a patients wounds and provide the appropriate treatment.
If a patient is having an X-ray done (or a CT scan or an MRI scan) in a hospital and it is performed negligently, or the results are not recorded and passed on to the correct specialists correctly, then it could prevent a correct diagnosis.
When you are a patient of the NHS, the staff and doctors have a duty of care to you, meaning it is their responsibility to ensure that you are treated correctly and that no avoidable harm comes to you. It is not acceptable for you to have an injury misdiagnosed because of mistakes or negligence on behalf of a doctor or member of staff in the NHS. If this were to occur, then you could be entitled to begin a personal injury claim and to file a complaint against the NHS.
You are entitled to treatment at a GP’s surgery, though not necessarily always with the doctor you prefer. You are entitled to request a second opinion if you have reason to believe that the diagnosis you received was not accurate, but you are not necessarily entitled to actually receive one.
You do not have to start making a claim immediately after you realise that a misdiagnosis has occurred, but you cannot wait indefinitely either. There is a personal injury claims time limit which requires you to begin a claim within three years of the diagnosis of avoidable harm. After this time limit has expired, you will not be likely to be permitted to begin a personal injury claim regardless of how valid such a claim might have been.
An important part of making a personal injury claim is assessing the value of the damages caused by the injury. That means two things; firstly it means estimating the financial worth of the injury itself based on how much suffering and long term harm it has caused or will cause. That is assessed according to guidelines. You can see how wrist/arm/hand injuries are valued on this personal injuries claims calculator attached here.
|Wrist Injury (a)
|Complete loss of function of the wrist
|£44,690 to £56,180
|Wrist injury (b)
|Significant permanent disability with some movement left
|£22,990 to £36,770
|Wrist injury (c)
|Less severe injuries where these still result in some permanent disability.
|£11,820 to £22,990
|Wrist injury (d)
|Where a recovery takes a prolonged time, but eventually, full recovery.
|Rarely exceed £9,620
|Wrist injury (e)
|An uncomplicated Colle's fracture
|In the region of £6,970
|Wrist injury (f)
|Minor injuries with a full complete recovery within 12 months.
|£3,310 to £4,450
|Simple fracture of the forearm
|Simple fracture of the forearm
|£6,190 to £18,020
|Less severe arm injury.
|A period of significant disability with substantial degree of recovery.
|£18,020 to £36,770
|Serious forearm injury.
|One or both forearms left with a lasting significant disability or cosmetic effect.
|£36,770 to £56,180
|Severe arm injury
|Where the effect on function is nearly equivalent to having the arm amputated.
|£90,250 to £122,860
The second part of assessing how much compensation a victim is entitled to is assessing how much they have lost out financially as a result of the injury. There are a number of ways in which a person could lose money through a personal injury. These include:
- Taking time off work, or being forced to discontinue an occupation due to an injury.
- Having to spend money on medical treatment, therapy or medication.
- Having to spend money on travelling as a result of having to reach medical appointments.
- Having to spend money on receiving personal care as a result of needing others to care for your needs.
There needs to be a record of your losses and expenses in order to prove and calculate the amount you have lost and can receive in compensation. So make sure you keep paperwork such as invoices, wage slips and receipts to they can be used to calculate and corroborate what you wish to claim for.
Medical Negligence Assist doesn’t want anyone to be turned away from making a personal injury claim due to being unable to afford to pay a personal injury solicitor legal fees. So we make sure that all of our claimants can access a medical negligence solicitor who will make a no win no fee claim. By making a no win no fee claim, you will not be expected to pay legal fees to a solicitor if you are not awarded compensation. If you do get awarded compensation, instead of legal fee’s you will pay a “success fee”. This will be a share of your compensation which will be awarded to your solicitor for their services. How much this success fee will amount to can be negotiated and is capped at 25% of the compensations total value.
Starting a claim is nice and simple. Just call our team on 0800 652 3087 or fill out our contact form here. You don’t have to be sure about wanting to start a claim with us in order to get in touch; our personal injuries claims team will be more than happy to offer you a free consultation on making personal injury claims.
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Written by Jack
Edited by LisM