How To Make A Medical Negligence Claim For A Missed Growth Plate Fracture
A bone fracture that does not receive the right treatment could cause even further harm, or worse, lifelong repercussions. In some cases, this all could have been avoided if the medical practitioner who examined you was negligent in their assessment of your injuries.
If you or a loved one was made to suffer avoidable injuries following a misdiagnosed growth plate fracture, our panel of expert solicitors could help you secure compensation. In most cases, the claim limit for medical negligence claims is three years from the date of the negligent incident.
This guide will discuss the various implications in both children and adults of missed growth plate fractures and provide you with impartial advice on how a medical negligence lawyer could help conduct a claim on your behalf. If you require further advice or have any questions about missed growth plate fractures, please do not hesitate to call our team of helpful advisers on 0800 652 3087. Our lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Choose A Section
- A Guide On Missed Growth Plate Fracture Claims
- What Is A Missed Fracture?
- Causes Of Different Fractures Being Misdiagnosed
- Causes Of A Growth Plate Fracture
- Growth Plate Fracture Symptoms
- Growth Plate Fracture Treatment And Diagnosis
- Are You Eligible To Claim For An Undiagnosed Fracture?
- Missed Growth Plate Fractures By GP’s
- Missed Growth Plate Fractures By Hospitals
- Rights For Patients Of The NHS
- Missed Fracture Compensation Claim Time Limits
- Calculating Missed Growth Plate Fracture Compensation
- No Win No Fee Claims For Missed Growth Plate Fractures
- Talk To Us And Start A Claim
- References And Resources
While money cannot undo any harm you were made to suffer, it can help alleviate various areas of your daily life which may have been affected by the ramifications of medical negligence. This includes, but is not limited to, travel expenses, medical costs and loss of earnings.
As this guide will explain in further detail, there are a number of factors which can increase the risk of an undiagnosed growth plate fracture, many of which require further invasive treatment to rectify than initially needed had the fracture been correctly diagnosed. In more severe cases, the victim could be left with incomplete recovery and an inability to regain mobility in the affected area.
We understand you may have a plethora of questions about medical negligence claims, which is why we will attempt to answer as many as possible throughout this guide, including:
- “What is a growth plate fracture?”
- “How long does it take for a growth plate fracture to heal?”
- “What happens if you break a growth plate?”
- “Can you walk on a fractured growth plate?”
- “What is a No Win, No Fee Agreement and how will I benefit from it?”
If you find your question has not been answered or you require further information about anything in this guide, then call our team of experts today. Our advisers possess the knowledge and capabilities to help you with your queries.
When we talk about a missed fracture, we refer to an instance whereby a medical professional fails to correctly diagnose a break or crack in a bone. There are a number of reasons why this could happen, and chief among them is when other injuries overshadow those that are not as obvious. Every medical professional owes a duty of care to their patients to uphold safe standards at all times regardless of how busy their working environment is. If they are unable to come to an accurate conclusion of your condition, they must seek a second opinion.
While you should expect your condition to be accurately diagnosed and treated with quality standards of care, there are unfortunately some circumstances where a healthcare practitioner could misdiagnose or miss an injury completely. In the event of such cases, if the practitioner in question is found to be negligent in their assessment of your injuries, it could constitute reasonable grounds upon which a personal injury claim for medical negligence can be made.
There are a number of reasons why a fracture could go undiagnosed, especially when symptoms are of a minor nature. As growth plate fractures will often require immediate treatment, it is important for hospital staff to recognise any growth disturbances as soon as possible. This is especially true for missing a physical injury in children as the consequences could follow through into adult life. Failure to treat a growth plate injury within a certain time-frame could affect the length or shape of the bone in comparison to the opposite limb.
Of the numerous factors which could lead to a missed growth plate fracture, some examples include:
- Failure to refer a patient for the relevant scan (E.g. X-ray, CT Scan, MRI, etc.)
- Inability to identify fracture on an X-ray
- A radiographer X-rays the wrong angle/area
- Misinterpretation of results
- Loss of results/images in transit between radiographer and doctor
In order for your claim to be valid, a personal injury solicitor must be able to prove that the misdiagnosis was caused by negligence. For example, if a practitioner was reluctant to refer their patient to the correct specialist for a specific type of treatment.
A growth plate injury could occur in both children and adolescents. As the weakest area of a growing skeleton, the growth plate could cause serious damage to a growing child and thus create severe complications in later life as an adult, such as growth abnormalities.
Typically speaking, injuries to the growth plate itself are fractures. Also known as a Salter-Harris fracture, these types of injuries commonly result from acute events, such as falls, impact to limbs, chronic injuries which result from overuse, such as in sport. With regards to falls specifically, even the simplest of incidentscould lead to an injury of this nature. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), some common causes include:
- Slippery surfaces
- Uneven/defective flooring
- Lack of regular housekeeping
- Inadequate lighting
There are recommendations of steps you can take in order to help support your potential medical negligence claim. These measures, as recommended by Citizen’s Advice, could help you gather crucial supporting evidence, such as:
- Photographs: You should take photographs of the accident, cause(s) and your injuries.
- Witness Contact Details: If anyone was there to witness the accident, you should take their contact details for your solicitor to use at a later date.
- Medical Attention: Regardless of how minor your injuries may seem; it is important you seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if your symptoms are delayed, you should seek treatment as soon as you notice them.
- Legal Advice: If you suspect medical malpractice to be the cause of your injury, speak to a legal professional regarding your ability to claim compensation.
The majority of growth plate fractures will display similar symptoms, regardless of where in the body they are. Generally speaking, growth plate fractures to the fingers is one of the most common areas affected. These symptoms may include:
- Tenderness and pain, especially in response to pressure/weight-bearing
- Lack of mobility or limited range in motion
- Swelling near a joint or at the end of a bone
- Warmth, again, near a joint or at the end of a bone
- Bone displacement or deformity
If you suspect there to be growth plate damage to yourself or a child’s broken bone, you should be examined by a doctor. If you suspect a limb length discrepancy or angular deformity in your child’s arms or legs, you should also seek medical advice.
A fracture of this nature could be difficult to diagnose due to the different types of growth plate fractures. There are five main types, commonly known as Salter-Harris fractures. These are categorised by their specific impact on the growth plate and surrounding bone. The higher the number, the higher the risk of potential growth problems occurring at a later stage.
The categories are as follows:
- Salter-Harris Type 1: The growth plate tends to separate the rounded edge of the bone shaft following force/impact on the area. These are more commonly seen in child fractures.
- Salter-Harris Type 2: The main indicator of this fracture is when the growth plate and a small piece of bone shaft split away from the joint.
- Salter-Harris Type 3: The rounded part of the bone may suffer some damage, along with cartilage, and the fracture may also enter the joint.
- Salter-Harris Type 4: This fracture consists of damage specifically to the rounded part of the bone and the bone shaft itself. This may affect bone growth at any age.
- Salter-Harris Type 5: A more uncommon fracture type, this tends to occur when the growth plate is compressed or crushed. Although a lesser common injury, it is often misdiagnosed.
As well as the above , there are four extremely rare fracture types, known as Type 6, Type 7, Type 8 and Type 9.
To diagnose your suspected fracture, a doctor may carry out a series of imaging tests to gain more detail of the soft tissue and fracture itself. This is done through CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds and x-rays.
There are several different growth plate fracture treatments available, many of which depend on the type of fracture in question. A nonsurgical treatment option (or closed reduction) will generally be offered to Types 1 and 2 as these are simpler fractures. Types 3 and 4 usually require surgical intervention to realign the bone (also known as open reduction). A surgeon may use metal plates, screws or wires to hold the bone(s) in place. What’s more, the growth plate fracture healing time will largely depend on the type of fracture in question.
Whether or not you are eligible to claim compensation for a mismanaged physeal injury or misdiagnosed growth plate fracture will depend on whether these complications were the result of medical negligence. Your personal injury lawyer must be able to show that the correct precautions were neglected during a procedure. For example, if a delay in treatment made you suffer additional injuries. However, you should note that if a medical professional made a mistake during the diagnosis stage but was able to quickly rectify this error, then you may not have grounds to make a claim.
We place large amounts of trust in the hands of healthcare practitioners. They do after all possess the knowledge and capabilities to treat us when we’re ill. It is therefore within reason to expect high standards of care when visiting a medical professional. General practitioners especially are obliged to uphold a duty of care and prioritise the needs of their patients. This duty of care states a GP must:
- Respect the concerns of patients
- Possess a good range of skills and knowledge
- Prioritise the patient’s health at all times
- Take action promptly where required
- Promote the well-being of patients
- Protect health
If a GP is unable to uphold these regulations and a patient is made to consequently suffer, the patient could claim compensation for their injuries, such as a missed growth plate fracture in the shoulder.
For more information about clinical negligence, click here to read our guide to compensation claims against GPs.
As with general practitioners, all hospital staff have a legal requirement to provide outstanding healthcare to all patients regardless of how busy a department becomes. If the level of care you receive drops anything below what is reasonably expected and you are made to suffer avoidable injuries as a result, you could be entitled to compensation.
Regardless of the department in question, to find out whether you hold a valid claim, contact a specialist from our advisory team. You can also find more information about hospital negligence in this guide.
As an NHS patient, you have the right to a distinct set of principles under the NHS Constitution. This ensures high-quality care is delivered to patients at all times and the risk of NHS negligence is minimised to the best of their ability.
Some examples of what these principles include are:
- Free and accessible healthcare to those who require it
- Professional care to the appropriate standard
- Clear, concise and transparent decisions
- Respect for patient confidentiality
- National approval of supply treatments, medicines and other such programmes.
If you would like to read more about the NHS Constitution, click here.
As with all medical negligence claims, you must make your claim within a specific timeframe. This is three years from the date of the negligent incident. The sooner you seek legal advice, the greater the chances of success. You will give your solicitor the window needed to acquire all of the evidence required, investigate your claim and negotiate a settlement.
If you are unsure about whether your claim is relevant within the applicable time limit, please contact our team for further assistance.
Below you will find a table setting out examples of compensation awards for different injuries. These values reflect the general damages aspect of the claim. The purpose of general damages is to compensate you for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity you experienced as a result of your injuries. It’s also possible to claim special damages, the purpose of which is to compensate you for any financial losses or expenses you have or will incur. It’s important to bear in mind that the figures below are mere estimates. The value of a claim is very much dependent on its unique set of facts.
|Leg Injury||The Most Serious Short Of Amputation||£90,320 to £127,530||As the severity of this injury alludes to, this bracket will award a similar level of compensation to that of amputation due to the nature of harm inflicted upon the individual. Some examples of this injury type include severe degloving of the leg, gross shortening of the leg or fractures whereby the bones are unable to unite without bone grafting.|
|Leg Injury||Very Serious||£51,460 to £85,600||A person suffering from a very serious leg injury will require crutches or other such mobility aids for the rest of their life. Other injuries that qualify for this bracket include multiple fractures that take years to heal, serious deformity and limited movement.|
|Leg Injury||Serious||£36,790 to £51,460||To justify for an award of this level, a combination of compound/comminuted fractures, injuries to joints/ligaments, prolonged treatment and lengthy periods of instability and non-weight-bearing will generally be necessary.|
|Leg Injury||Moderate||£26,050 to £36,790||A moderate leg injury is defined as multiple fractures or crushing injuries of a severe nature, predominantly to a single limb. The extent of treatment needed will influence the level of compensation awarded. The nature of this injury will have a severe impact on the victim’s impact of employment and other such daily duties.|
|Shoulder Injury||Severe||£18,020 to £45,070||Often this type of injury will often be associated with significant neck injuries and life-altering damage to the brachial plexus. The result of such an injury will be a significant disability.|
|Shoulder Injury||Serious||£11,980 to £18,020||The individual will suffer damage to the lower brachial plexus and dislocation of the shoulder, which will result in severe pain to the neck, elbow and shoulder. Furthermore, this bracket will also apply to cases of rotator cuff injuries whereby symptoms persist after surgery.|
If you decide to use a medical negligence solicitor from our panel of experts, they will offer you the opportunity to enter into a No Win, No Fee Agreement, also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). The CFA is designed to offer you maximum financial protection and the confidence to pursue justice. If your claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay any of the fees your solicitor has incurred in pursuing your case. If your claim is successful, your solicitor may ask you to make a small contribution toward their fees. This is known as a ‘success fee’, and is deducted from the compensation you are awarded at the end of the claim. Don’t worry, the success fee is legally capped. With the CFA you will not have to pay any fees upfront or during your claim.
Making yourclaim is just a phone call away. Our lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with a friendly adviser waiting to assess the validity of your case. We offer free, no-obligation consultations to all our potential clients.
- Call Us: Our number is 0800 652 3087.
- Online Claim: You could begin your claim online by clicking here.
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We look forward to representing you.
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Article by HH