If you have fractured the neck of the femur, then it would likely be a painful injury that would require urgent treatment. But what if the medical professional you visited at the hospital did not accurately diagnose your injury, and this led to your injury not healing as well or as quickly as it should have done with prompt diagnosis and treatment. Here, we take you through the reasons people might look into making a missed neck of femur fracture claim, along with giving you advice and support if you have found yourself in this situation. If you have any queries on any of the information contained in the guide below, you can call us at any time on 0800 652 3087. Otherwise, simply click the sections below to get started on learning more about this type of injury and your eligibility to make a medical negligence claim for a missed femoral neck fracture.
Choose A Section
- A Guide To Claims For Missed Neck Of Femur Fractures
- What Is A Misdiagnosed Bone Fracture?
- Why Are Fractures Misdiagnosed?
- Types And Causes Of Femoral Neck Stress Fractures
- Symptoms Of A Neck Of Femur Fracture
- Diagnosis And Treatment For Femoral Neck Fractures
- Could I Claim Compensation For My Misdiagnosed Fracture?
- GP Missed Neck Of Femur Fracture Claims
- Hospital Missed Neck Of Femur Fracture Claims
- Your Rights When Under NHS Treatment
- How Long Do I Have In Which To Claim For A Missed Femoral Neck Fracture?
- Calculating Claims For Missed Neck Of Femur Fractures
- No Win No Fee Missed Neck Of Femur Fracture Claims
- Begin Your Claim
- Further Information
If you have injured yourself, and you have sought treatment from a medical professional, showing symptoms of a broken neck of the femur, you would expect the medical professional in question to follow the proper procedures for diagnosis and treatment of your injury. But what happens if they do not follow the correct procedures and make a mistake with your diagnosis, leading you to suffer avoidable harm from a misdiagnosed neck of femur fracture? In the guide below, we take a look at some of the ways in which this could happen, and when you might be able to claim compensation for a missed neck of femur fracture. Also included is information about the injury itself, and how much compensation you could be eligible to claim if you have suffered harm from a missed fracture of this type.
It would be prudent for us to mention here that not every misdiagnosed neck of femur fracture could result in a compensation payout. If the medical professionals had done everything they could to diagnose you correctly but were unable to do so because of unforeseen factors, then you may not be able to make a compensation claim.
However, if you suffered orthopaedic negligence that resulted in your neck of femur fracture being missed, and you could prove this was the case, you may be eligible to claim compensation. Also included in the sections below is advice on how to find a personal injury lawyer to help you with such a claim.
As we have mentioned, a misdiagnosed bone fracture could happen for a number of reasons. It may have been difficult for a doctor to diagnose you as your injury may have presented differently to the way it normally would. Or, there may have been mistakes made in the diagnostic process that has resulted in your missed neck of femur fracture. If there have been mistakes, and they caused delays to treatment or caused you to have been prescribed the wrong treatment, this could mean your injury does not heal in the way it could have done had you had prompt and effective treatment. It may also lead to you having to have more invasive treatment for your injury, and you may even end up with a poorer prognosis than you should have.
There could be several reasons why fractures, in general, could be misdiagnosed. These could include:
- A doctor with little experience could mistake a fracture as a sprain or strain, and may not even order any diagnostic/radiographic tests or refer the patient to someone who could rule out a fracture.
- A radiographer may have taken the radiographs at the wrong angle, or when the limb is in the wrong position, so the femoral fracture may not show up on an X-ray.
- The radiographer’s report may not have been passed to the doctor for review.
- The doctor may have not analysed the radiographs correctly.
The deeper reasons why a fracture may have been misdiagnosed could stem from the fact that, according to the CQC, emergency departments are under pressure, particularly in the winter, to see and treat more and more patients than before. In their ‘Under Pressure’ report, they reveal that while many staff try their best to work under such pressures, in some cases, this pressure may have led to unsatisfactory or even substandard levels of care.
No matter what the pressure on the NHS or on a private practice, you have a right to receive care that is safe. If you suffer harm because of medical negligence, you could be eligible to claim compensation for neck of femur fracture complications caused by a negligent diagnosis.
Before we discuss what could cause a broken neck of the femur, we should look at the types of femoral neck fracture you could suffer.
The femur is the large bone that runs down the top of your leg, from your hip joint down to your knee. This long bone has, at the top of it, a head, that articulates with the acetabulum, which is located in the pelvic bone. This forms the hip joint. The femoral shaft is extremely strong, but the femoral neck, and the femoral head because of junctional location, breaks more easily.
A femoral neck fracture could be one of the following types:
An intracapsular neck of femur fracture – these occur within the capsule; the ‘envelope’ type structure that contains the fluid that lubricates and nourishes the joint. As such, neck of femur fracture complications with this type of injury could include avascular necrosis of the femoral head.
An extracapsular neck of femur fracture – this is break beneath the ball and socket and should not compromise the fluid within the capsule.
The causes of femoral neck fracture could include:
- Low energy falls (usually seen in the elderly)
- Stress due to repetitive activity, such as sports activities
- High energy trauma such as sporting activities, motor vehicle accidents, high energy falls
Whatever the cause of your femoral neck fracture the right fractured neck of femur pathway should be followed for diagnosis if this is suspected to be the injury you’ve suffered. A failure to follow appropriate diagnosis and management pathways could result in problems with healing. If a femoral fracture is not treated appropriately and within the optimal window for treatment, then the bones may begin to knit improperly and this could cause problems with mobility, increased pain, a requirement for more invasive treatment or even a poorer prognosis.
The symptoms of a neck of the femur fracture may differ depending on whether the fracture was intracapsular or extracapsular. However, some symptoms may be present in both types of injuries. These could include:
- Groin pain that radiates downwards
- Inability to bear weight
- Reduced movement range
- Shortened/rotated limb
Normally, when you present with symptoms of a femoral neck fracture, you would be asked questions about how you sustained the injury. Your doctor would then send you for any appropriate tests such as X-rays, or CT or MRI scans.
On assessment of the results of your radiographic tests, the doctor would then diagnose your condition and come up with a treatment plan based on your specific injury.
How Is A Femoral Neck Fracture Treated?
There are various methods of treatment that could be advised for this type of injury:
Non-surgical – where a patient is not in extreme pain, and is a high risk for surgery, fracture treatment without surgery may be suggested. This would involve observation and painkillers.
Surgical – There are various surgical fixes that could be suggested, depending on the nature of the fracture and its severity. These may include:
- ORIF – Open reduction internal fixation
- Cannulated screw fixation
- Sliding hip screw
- Total hip arthroplasty
How Long Does A Fractured Neck Of Femur Take To Heal?
Fractured femur neck recovery time would largely depend on how severe the break was and what treatment a patient had undergone. 10-12 weeks would be the average recovery time for a simple break to heal, but patients would also need time to get the strength and mobility back.
If you have suffered harm from a missed neck of femur fracture, you may be wondering whether you could claim compensation. In order to do so, you would have to prove:
Causation – You would need to be able to prove that avoidable harm had been caused by medical negligence.
A breach of the duty of care – You would also need to be able to prove that a medical professional had breached their duty of care towards you, their patient.
It may be unlikely that your GP would be the person you would visit for a fractured neck of femur injury, but if you are in minimal pain, or your GP has made a house visit to you instead of you visiting the hospital or calling for emergency assistance, your GP should, if they suspect this type of injury, get you to someone who could accurately diagnose and treat you. If they fail to do so, and you suffer avoidable harm, then you could make a claim against your GP for negligence.
In the hospital, you would expect that you would be able to get an accurate diagnosis for a fractured neck of femur injury. However, if the relevant tests are not ordered, not taken correctly or not assessed properly, then you could suffer a missed femoral neck fracture.
According to an article in the British Medical Journal, upon studying a busy A&E dept over the course of 4 years, researchers found that the most likely reasons for a fracture being missed were failure to order tests and failure to interpret the results correctly. If you suffered a missed neck of femur fracture for either of these reasons, you could be eligible to claim compensation for harm caused by a negligent diagnosis.
Certain rights apply to NHS patients when it comes to their care and treatment on the NHS. These have been strengthened in recent years and include new rights regarding:
Complaints – These must be acknowledged by the relevant party within 3 days. Patients now have stronger rights on how these complaints are handled.
Openness of treatment/care – Patients also have more rights when it comes to the openness of the care/treatment they receive. Where mistakes are made, they should be acknowledged, apologised and explained fully.
As well as this, patients should receive treatment that complies with the minimum CQC standards. These include:
- Being treated by staff that are competent, qualified and experienced
- Receiving a safe standard of care
- Being able to complain about treatment if they are not satisfied
Your care should not fall below these standards. If it does and this causes you harm, you could be eligible to claim compensation for negligence.
Making a claim for a missed fractured neck of the femur comes with some restrictions, one of which would be the personal injury claims time limit. If you are considering making a personal injury claim for an accident, then the limitation period would usually begin on the date of the accident. However, making a medical negligence claim could be slightly different.
This is because, in some cases, you may not know you have been harmed by medical malpractice right away. The time limitation for clinical negligence claims is usually three years, but this limitation period would usually begin on the date that you discovered, or were made aware of the fact that you had suffered avoidable harm caused by negligence.
There are other exceptions to the time limit for making such claims. These could involve cases where you had a neck of femur fracture missed as a child and an adult had not launched a claim on your behalf. Or, you might not have had the physical capacity or mental capacity to make such a claim at the time. If you would like us to advise you on how long you could have to claim based on your specific set of circumstances, then simply call our team, we’ll be glad to help.
If you are looking for a personal injury claims calculator on this page that will tell you exactly how much compensation you could receive for a missed neck of femur fracture, you may be surprised to see the table below. This is because we prefer to show you figures that we have collated from the Judicial College Guidelines for injuries relevant to this area of the body. We feel that this gives you a quick snapshot of the potential payouts for the pain and suffering you may have experienced.
It would be prudent for us to mention here that these are only approximations of how much you could be awarded for a missed femoral neck fracture. The reason for this is that claims are usually calculated on a case by case basis, and the calculation would be based on the results of a medical examination by an independent doctor, which you would be required to submit to as part of your claim. Only then could the medical evidence be written up into a report that could be used as evidence to calculate your settlement amount.
|Injury||Claims Payout Guideline||Notes|
|Severe injuries to hips and pelvis||£73,580 to £122,860||Extensive fracture with dislocation of back joint as well as a ruptured bladder, or hip injuries causing spondylolisthesis that require fusion of the spine.|
|Severe injuries to hips and pelvis||£58,100 to £73,580||A little less severe than above but where fractures of the pubic rami result in impotence or myositis ossifications occur with the formation of ectopic bone.|
|Severe injuries to hips and pelvis||£36,770 to £49,270||Acetabulum fractures that lead to changes (degenerative) and the likelihood that the claimant would need to undergo hip replacement.|
|Moderate injuries to hips and pelvis||£24,950 to £36,770||Significant injuries but no major disability permanently. Future risks would not be high.|
|Severe Leg Injuries||£90,320 to £127,530||Although these injuries do not require claimants to undergo amputation, they could leave claimants little better off than they would have been if they had lost the leg. Where there is severe shortening of the leg, degloving, or non-united fractures, these amounts may be appropriate.|
|Very serious leg injuries||£51,460 to £85,600||Permanent mobility issues, mobility aids or crutches would be needed for the rest of the claimant’s life. Deformity and inability to move properly may lead to claimants being awarded amounts in this bracket.|
|Serious leg injuries||£36,790 to £51,460||Serious comminuted fractures or compound fractures. Prolonged treatment, instability and long period of not being able to weight bear may be included in this category.|
|Moderate leg injuries||£26,050 to £36,390||Multiple or complex fractures could fall within this bracket. Crushing injuries could also be included here. A risk of degenerative changes, a less than perfect union of fractures, those that leave a claimant with joint movement limitation could also see injuries being placed in this bracket.|
|Less serious leg injuries||£16,860 to £26,050||Incomplete recovery from a fracture injury where there has been a reasonable level of recovery.|
|Femur fracture with no articular damage||£8,550 to £13,210||N/A|
We should also mention that as well as the amounts above (general damages) you may also be able to claim for special damages within your missed neck of femur fracture claim. These could cover costs and losses including care costs, wage losses, travel and medical expenses if they have arisen directly because of the medical negligence you’ve suffered.
If you have suffered avoidable harm as a result of a missed neck of femur fracture, and you could prove that medical negligence caused this, then you could be eligible to claim compensation. However, you may not wish to go ahead with a claim without having a medical negligence solicitor on your side. If you were worried about having to pay for the services of a medical negligence lawyer upfront, you may be relieved to hear that there could be a way for you to make a medical negligence claim without paying legal fees until a successful compensation settlement has been paid out.
When you make a No Win No Fee claim, instead of making an upfront payment to your personal injury solicitor, you would sign a Conditional Fee Agreement instead. This is a document that sets out the percentage of your settlement that would go to the lawyer once they successfully secured you a payout. This could be referred to as a success fee and would not be more than 25% of your total settlement. If your lawyer was not able to secure you any compensation, even though your missed femoral neck fracture claim was a valid one, you would not be required to pay them this fee. If you would like to learn more about making a claim with this payment structure, or you would like help finding such a lawyer, we could help, if you get in touch with our team.
As we mentioned, whether you’d like more advice and guidance on whether you could make a personal injury claim for a missed or misdiagnosed neck of femur fracture, or you need guidance on starting a claim we’d be happy to help. Our friendly, experienced advisors have helped a variety of claimants get the advice and support they are looking for when it comes to such claims, and we would be glad to extend our services to you. You can contact us via the contact form on our site, via the live chat feature, or by calling 0800 652 3087. We look forward to assisting you.
More Information On Neck Of Femur Fractures – This information on a neck of femur fracture may be of interest to you.
Fractured Neck Of Femur PDF -Here, we offer another resource on this type of injury, in an easy to read PDF from the NHS.
Fractured Neck Of Femur Treatment – Here, you can read what Newcastle hospitals say about treatment for this type of injury.
How To Make A Claims Against A GP – Here, we provide guidance on making GP negligence claims.
Medical Misdiagnosis Information – Here, our guide explores medical misdiagnosis in detail.
Working Out Your Compensation – You can find information about compensation and what it could include here.
Written by Jo
Edited by LisM.