How To Claim If Your Fingertip Fracture Is Misdiagnosed
If you’re involved in any form of accident and you sustain injuries, you would typically need to be assessed by your GP or a doctor at a hospital. Medical professionals should examine your injuries thoroughly, diagnose the problem and provide a suitable treatment plan. Should they fail to do so, your injury could become worse and cause further problems for you in the future. If that’s the case, you might be entitled to claim compensation by filing a negligence claim against the party responsible.
This guide looks at the specific case of a missed finger fracture. We’ll look at different fractures that could occur, how they can be caused and why a medical professional might fail to spot them.
Medical Negligence Assist are able to help anybody with a potential claim by offering free legal advice on how to pursue a medical negligence claim. We also offer a no obligation assessment of your claim. If your case has a sufficient chance of success, we would introduce you to one of our panel of solicitors. If they agree to work on your claim, it’ll be on a No Win No Fee basis.
We could help you begin your claim right away if you call our advisers on 0800 652 3087. Alternatively, if you’d like to know more about claiming for a misdiagnosed fracture of the fingertip, please carry on reading.
Choose A Section
- A Guide On Missed Fingertip Fracture Compensation Claims
- What Is A Misdiagnosed Bone Fracture?
- Causes Of Fracture Diagnostic Errors
- Fingertip Fracture Causes
- Symptoms And Signs Of Fingertip Fractures
- Treatment And Diagnosis For Fingertip Fractures
- Misdiagnosis – Are You Eligible To Claim Compensation?
- Claims Where Your GP Missed A Fingertip Fracture
- Claims Where Your Hospital Doctor Missed A Fingertip Fracture
- The NHS Responsibilities To Patients
- Missed Fracture Claim Limitation Period
- Calculating Compensation For A Missed Fingertip Fracture
- No Win No Fee Claims For Missed Fingertip Fractures
- Start A Claim
A Guide On Missed Fingertip Fracture Compensation Claims
A fingertip bone fracture can be a very painful injury which could b caused by a number of different accidents. Treated correctly, a patient typically recovers fully with no long-lasting effects. However, if the fracture in the fingertip is missed and therefore not treated, there could be problems with the healing process which could lead to long-term issues. Should this be the case, you may be entitled to claim medical negligence compensation for the additional pain and suffering caused by the misdiagnosis.
This guide looks at the types of fingertip fractures, why a doctor might miss the injury, fingertip fracture treatments, and when it might be possible to seek for compensation following a misdiagnosed fracture. As we progress through the guide, we answer the following questions:
- How do you tell if you broke the tip of your finger?
- How do you treat a broken fingertip?
- How long does a fractured fingertip take to heal?
When you’ve read through this guide, if there are any questions left unanswered, you can speak with our advisers. They offer free advice about the claims process and could advise you on what type of evidence you could use to support the claim.
It’s important to note that, although you could be eligible to claim compensation from the person who caused your initial injury, this guide is about claiming against a medical professional who’s caused you additional suffering because they failed to diagnose your injuries correctly.
What Is A Misdiagnosed Bone Fracture?
The fingers are made up of three bones: proximal, middle and distal phalanxes. The fingertip is the distal phalanx. When discussing a distal phalanx fracture, we mean the injury was caused in an accident and the patient visited A&E or their GP, and the fracture was not spotted.
Any fracture that isn’t spotted has the potential to cause problems for the patient. This could be additional pain suffered until the fracture is diagnosed correctly, or it could mean that the bone doesn’t heal correctly which leads to long-term pain and suffering.
Causes Of Fracture Diagnostic Errors
All medical professionals, whether GPs, nurses, surgeons or consultants, will undergo many years training prior to treating patients. This training should provide them with the required medical knowledge to recognise, diagnose and treat different injuries. They gain further experience of diagnosing injuries through mentoring and on the job. However, even with all of this training, there are a number of reasons why a fracture could be missed. These include:
- When a doctor fails to order an X-ray. This could happen because the emergency department is overly busy, and consultations are rushed
- If the X-ray isn’t clear enough or the fracture is obstructed from view
- Where a doctor fails to ask advice from a senior colleague if they’re unsure about a fracture
- When a GP fails to diagnose the injury correctly meaning that it’s treated as something else and the patient isn’t referred to a hospital for further tests
In some cases, a misdiagnosed fracture of the fingertip might mean the patient suffers a little more pain, but the fracture still heals correctly. However, in other cases, where the pieces of bone do not align properly, the failure to treat the injury could lead to long-term suffering. Should this be the case, you may be entitled to seek compensation by filing a medical negligence claim against the party responsible.
Fingertip Fracture Causes
There are many potential incidents which could lead to a fingertip being fractured. These include:
- Sporting injuries
- Workplace accidents
- Slips or falls where the hand is used to break the fall
- Items falling on the hand and crushing the bones
- The hand becoming trapped in a collision
As mentioned earlier, this guide covers when a medical professional does not spot the fracture and as a result, you suffer more pain which could entitle you to seek compensation by filing a claim against the party responsible.
Symptoms And Signs Of Fingertip Fractures
There are a number of different types of finger fractures that could occur, these include:
- Hairline fractures of the finger
- Spiral finger fractures caused by a twisting motion
- Avulsion fracture of the finger where tendon pulls part of the bone away
- Open fingertip fracture where the bone breaks through the skin
Whatever type of fracture you’ve suffered, there are some common symptoms which can be used to diagnose it including:
- Pain in the area of the fracture
- Bruising and swelling
- Difficulty bending the finger
- The finger looking shorter than normal
Treatment And Diagnosis For Fingertip Fractures
A GP or doctor in A&E should assess your injury before setting in place a treatment plan and would have been looking for some of the symptoms listed above. They should ask you to perform some movement tests and also ask how the accident occurred. If they believe the bone might be fractured, the next step is for an X-ray to be performed.
If a fracture is spotted on the X-ray, the doctor treating you should set in place a fingertip fracture treatment plan. In cases where the parts of the bone are aligned properly, the finger might be bandaged and taped to the finger next to it to prevent movement while it heals. Where the fracture is more complicated or the bone has broken through the skin, surgery may be required to align the bones so that they can heal correctly.
Medication such as painkillers might be prescribed to ease the pain during the healing process and a doctor may provide information on exercises that can be performed while the bone is healing. This will either be to aid the healing process or to prevent stiffness in the finger while it recovers.
Misdiagnosis – Are You Eligible To Claim Compensation?
A medical negligence claim requires slightly different evidence than a personal injury claim would need. To prove medical negligence, you’ll need to demonstrate that:
- The medical professional (doctor, nurse, or GP), has treated you at a lower standard than you could reasonably expect from a competent professional performing the exact same treatment. This is known legally as a breach of duty
- You were made to suffer, or your condition was made worse
- Your suffering was caused directly by the breach of duty. The legal term for this is causation
When you make a claim, each of the above needs to be proven. In cases where breach of duty occurred but didn’t cause you any adverse medical effects, you probably wouldn’t be able to make a claim.
Claims Where Your GP Missed A Fingertip Fracture
It’s fair to say that GPs have to see a lot of patients every day. They can sometimes have very little time with each patient. In that time, they need to understand the symptoms, diagnose the problem and then plan the treatment required which is exactly what happens in the majority of cases, and the patient goes on to recover from an injury/illness.
However, even when GPs have years of experience, mistakes can sometimes be made. If they cause you to suffer in some way, then it might be possible to make a claim against the GP for medical negligence compensation.
The main way a GP could cause suffering linked to a fingertip fracture is if they diagnose it as something else. For instance, if they diagnose a bruised finger and prescribe painkillers and nothing else. Should this be the case, your symptoms may worsen due to a lack of timely treatment.
Claims Where Your Hospital Doctor Missed A Fingertip Fracture
Instead of visiting your GP for an assessment of your finger injury, you might go directly to your local Accident and Emergency department. If you do, the doctor or triage nurse should assess your injuries in a similar way to that of your GP. They should ask questions about how the accident happened and then assess you physically to determine what injury you sustained. Some reasons why a fracture might be missed in a hospital include:
- If your finger does not undergo an X-ray because your injury was assessed as a bruised finger
- Where the fracture wasn’t spotted on the X-ray
- If your consultation wasn’t performed adequately due to a busy department (short-staffed or overrun)
- A doctor failed to ask a colleague for a second opinion when they were unsure if there was a fracture or not
Although hospitals can be very busy places, the doctors have a duty of care towards you. Therefore, you could be entitled to claim compensation if your missed fracture was caused by some form of negligence on the part of the medical professional who treated you.
The NHS Responsibilities To Patients
When you use NHS services, you have a number of rights under the NHS constitution for England. We won’t provide all your rights in this guide, but we’ve picked out a few for you that are listed below:
- There is a right to register with a GP when you live in their area. You also have a right to receive treatment but that can be performed by another GP in the surgery
- GPs have to provide out of hours services too. This might be in the form or telephone-based locum service
- Second opinions aren’t an automatic right. You may ask for one, and you may get one, but a doctor can refuse if there are no medical grounds for one
- Doctor’s don’t have to provide home visits either, though they can do if they believe your condition warrants it
- NHS patients living in the UK are entitled to free treatment
- If you need inpatient treatment, you have the right to specify which consultant you’d like to use, so long as your GP agrees their suitable
- You have the right to ask a clinical commissioning group for a list of alternative treatment providers should your wait for hospital treatment exceed the maximum waiting time
- You have the right to attend accident and emergency departments should you require treatment. However, most other hospital treatments must be requested by your GP
Missed Fracture Claim Limitation Period
Any claim for clinical negligence or medical malpractice has a time limit associated with it. In the UK, the personal injury claims time limit, in normal circumstances, is 3-years from the date of the accident that caused your injuries.
However, when claiming for a missed fingertip fracture, the date your time limit commences will be the date when you found out the fracture had been misdiagnosed.
If you’re claiming on behalf of your child, then you can make a claim at any point before the child turns 18. If you don’t, they have 3-years to claim from their 18th birthday which in short, means they would be able to seek medical negligence compensation right up till their twenty first birthday.
Calculating Compensation For A Missed Fingertip Fracture
If you’re reading this guide and wondering how much compensation you would receive in a successful claim, the best thing to do is to speak with one of our team. That’s because every injury is different and affects claimants in different ways. However, before you call us, the personal injury claims compensation table below provides some figures for different finger injuries. It’s important to note that these figures make up just one part of your claim.
|Injury Type||How Severe?||Range of Compensation||Further Information|
|Finger||Loss of Fingers||£58,100 to £85,170||The amputation of the index and middle or ring fingers. Following such injuries, grip will be very weak and the function of the hand extremely limited.|
|Finger||Loss of Finger||£11,420 to £17,590||This bracket covers the complete loss or partial loss of the index finger.|
|Finger||Loss of Finger||In the region of £20,480||This bracket is for injuries meaning that the little finger is amputated.|
|Finger||Severe||Up to £34,480||If severe fractures of the fingers means a partial amputation is required that causes a deformity, reduced function, reduced sensation and impairment of grip.|
|Finger||Fracture||£8,550 to £11,480||Fractures of the index finger which do recover but grip is still reduced and pain is felt when the finger is used heavily.|
|Finger||Serious||£13,970 to £15,330||This bracket covers serious injuries to the ring or middle fingers.|
The figures listed above are to cover compensation known as ‘general damages’. This element covers the pain, suffering and loss of amenity your injuries have caused you. It’s important that your personal injury lawyer can demonstrate the exact nature of your injury as general damages are based on the severity of the injury. That’s why our panel of solicitors will use medical records as well as reports from independent doctors to try and ensure you’re compensated fully.
As well as general damages, your solicitor can ask for special damages to be paid too. This is compensation for financial losses incurred because of your misdiagnosed fingertip fracture. Special damages can include:
- Travelling costs – such as fuel costs and car park fees linked to medical appointments
- Care costs – if you need to be cared for while recovering
- Medical costs – such as prescription fees or charges for other medications
- Lost earnings – if your injury means you need time off work to recover
- Future lost income – to cover losses if your ability to work is affected long-term
No Win No Fee Claims For Missed Fingertip Fractures
There is a common worry that hiring a personal injury solicitor could cost a lot of money and that sometimes puts potential claimants off from doing so. Therefore, to reduce the financial risks involved, our panel of solicitors always work on a No Win No Fee basis for any claim they handle.
When we have discussed your claim, if the solicitor is happy that there’s a chance they can win compensation for you, they’ll provide you with a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) to sign. This is the legal term for a No Win No Fee agreement. Contained within the CFA is a statement that you’ll only have to pay solicitor’s fees if compensation is awarded.
The CFA lists the success fee you’ll pay if the case is settled in your favour. Importantly, you don’t have to send the money to pay the success fee. Instead, it’s deducted from the medical negligence compensation you are awarded.
Start A Claim
Thanks for reading our guide about claiming for a missed fractured fingertip. Hopefully you’ve decided that you would now like to begin a claim using Medical Negligence Assist. If that’s the case, there are a number of ways to contact us, these include:
- Calling our team of friendly specialists on 0800 652 3087
- Asking us to call you back when it’s convenient. To arrange this, please complete this online enquiry form
- Finally, if it’s easier for you, it’s possible to connect with our adviser via live chat
Our website and claims line is open 24-hours a day, 7-days a week so you can begin when it suits you best. Our team will start by asking what happened and reviewing the evidence you have. They’ll provide free legal advice and let you know if they believe that you have a chance of winning compensation. If they do, you could be introduced to a medical negligence solicitor from our panel. Should they take your case on, then they’ll work on a No Win No Fee basis.
This is the last section of this guide about claiming for a missed fingertip fracture. Therefore, we’ve decided to provide some links to some of our other guides as well as information from external resources which could prove useful.
Broken Finger Information – An article from the NHS explaining when you should visit A&E following a finger injury.
NHS Resolution – The division of the NHS which deals with claims management for NHS negligence.
The General Medical Council – This is the organisation which sets the standards doctors should follow.
Misdiagnosis Compensation – Information on when a medical negligence lawyer could help you claim for suffering caused by a misdiagnosis.
Hospital Negligence – Our guide which explains how personal injury claims could be made when a medical professional within a hospital causes you to suffer.
How Long Does A Medical Negligence Claim Take? – A guide explaining the medical negligence claims process and how long different types of claim can take.
Article by BH