By Mark Ainsdale. Last updated 19th July 2021. Welcome to our missed scaphoid fracture guide. The scaphoid bone is one of the carpal bones in the wrist. Due to its close proximity to the radius bone in the arm, it’s quite common for it to fracture during a fall. These fractures need to be checked and treated by a medical professional to try and ensure they heal correctly.
A missed scaphoid fracture could lead to months or years of pain and suffering. Therefore, in this guide, we’re going to look at when you could claim compensation for a misdiagnosed fracture. We’ll look at when a doctor or hospital could be liable for your suffering, when you could make a claim and how much compensation you could be entitled to.
Medical Negligence Assist provides free advice for anybody considering a personal injury claim. We also offer a no-obligation assessment of your case and a review of your evidence. Should your case have a chance of being won, we could introduce you to one of our panel of personal injury solicitors. They specialise in medical negligence claims and offer a No Win No Fee service for any claim they handle.
If you’d like to start your claim right away or for legal advice, call us on 0800 652 3087 today. Alternatively, to find out more about missed scaphoid fracture compensation claims, please carry on reading.
Choose A Section
- A Guide To Misdiagnosed Scaphoid Fracture Compensation Claims
- What Is A Misdiagnosed Fracture?
- What Could Cause A Fracture To Be Misdiagnosed?
- Causes Of Scaphoid Fractures
- What Are The Symptoms Of A Scaphoid Fracture?
- Diagnosing And Treating Scaphoid Fractures
- Eligibility To Make A Missed Scaphoid Fracture Claim
- Misdiagnosed Scaphoid Fracture Claims Against GP’s
- Misdiagnosed Scaphoid Fracture Claims Against Hospitals
- Your Rights As An NHS Patient
- Time Limits To Claim For A Misdiagnosed Scaphoid Fracture
- Missed Scaphoid Fracture Compensation Calculator
- No Win No Fee Missed Scaphoid Fracture Compensation Claims
- Talk To Medical Negligence Assist
- Supporting Resources
A Guide To Misdiagnosed Scaphoid Fracture Compensation Claims
If you’re considering a claim for a missed scaphoid fracture, you’ll need to show a personal injury solicitor that:
- That a medical professional has failed to diagnose your scaphoid fracture.
- And that misdiagnosis has caused you to suffer.
To do so, you’ll need evidence. When a solicitor takes on your claim, they’ll use medical experts to review the doctor’s notes from when you were initially assessed. They’ll also look at how the injury happened and notes from the doctor who finally assessed you correctly. Finally, they’ll review what impact the misdiagnosis caused you. For instance, you might’ve had to take time off work, suffered pain while the injury was untreated or had restricted movement of the wrist. In some cases, the missed fracture could cause lasting damage.
Throughout this missed scaphoid fracture guide, we’re going to look at the reasons for a missed fracture, scaphoid fracture tests used, and when you could claim compensation for your suffering. We’ll also try to answer questions like:
- What happens if a scaphoid fracture is left untreated?
- How long does it take for a scaphoid fracture to heal?
- Can you move your wrist with a scaphoid fracture?
- Is a scaphoid fracture serious, even for a small bone?
- Can a scaphoid fracture heal on its own?
We’ll also look at the types of scaphoid fracture surgery that could be performed and the implications of an untreated scaphoid fracture.
When you’ve read the guide in full, if you have any questions about your eligibility to make a claim after poor medical treatment or for the latest news about your claim, please call our advisors. Our specialist team offers free advice, and you’re under no obligation to continue to a claim.
What Is A Misdiagnosed Fracture?
All medical professionals have a duty of care towards their patients. This means that they should use the correct procedures and their expertise to try to diagnose and treat injuries and illnesses appropriately wherever possible. If they fail to do so, this could be classed as medical negligence.
In the case of fractures, if negligence means the fracture remains undetected, and the patient is caused additional suffering as a result, then they could be eligible to claim compensation for their missed scaphoid fracture.
What Could Cause A Fracture To Be Misdiagnosed?
There are several reasons why a fracture could be misdiagnosed. Here are some of the more common:
- If the doctor fails to order a scan because they don’t believe the symptoms warrant one.
- Failing to spot the fracture on an X-ray.
- X-ray results are not being passed on to the doctor.
- The doctor not requesting an X-ray because of a lack of knowledge or experience.
- Staff shortages causing consultations to be rushed.
While some of these seem unlikely because of the excellent level of care provided by the NHS, they could still happen. Any form of negligence that results in a missed scaphoid fracture could mean a compensation claim is possible.
Causes Of Scaphoid Fractures
The most common reason for a scaphoid fracture is when the victim places their hands out in front of them to break a fall. This results in damage to the scaphoid bones. Most fractures are classed as either displaced or non-displaced. Scaphoid fracture complications are caused when displaced fractures are not diagnosed properly, as there’s little chance the bones will heal properly without surgery.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Scaphoid Fracture?
The main symptom of a scaphoid fracture is tenderness above and around the bone. This pain can increase when the fingers or thumb are moved or when you try to pick things up. The scaphoid fracture pain level may decrease over a few days, which means patients might wait to see if the problem goes away. However, this could lead to the problem worsening because of a lack of treatment.
Diagnosing And Treating Scaphoid Fractures
Your GP will usually attempt the initial diagnosis of a fractured scaphoid. They’ll examine your injuries and try to determine the extent of your injuries. One indicator or a fractured scaphoid include pain when moving the wrist in certain directions. Another is tenderness in an area known as the anatomical snuffbox. This is a depression beneath the thumb on the back of the wrist. If either of these symptoms are noted, the doctor could send you for an X-Ray.
Another problem with this type of fracture is that they’re not always seen on X-rays at first. Usually, after around 10-14 days, they are much easier to spot on the scan if they’re beginning to heal. Therefore, doctors will usually assume a fracture has occurred to be on the safe side.
If a non-displaced fracture occurs, it is possible that it could heal without treatment. However, to aid the recovery, a plaster cast or splint will be used to restrict the wrist’s movement. For displaced fractures, pins, plates and screws can be used to try and hold the bone fragments in place to improve the chances of them re-bonding.
The recovery time for a scaphoid injury will be around 8-12 weeks, depending on the severity. While wrist movement might be decreased, you’ll be able to carry out some functions while wearing a cast or splint. You may also be given some exercises to do following the cast’s removal. To ease the initial pain of the fracture, you’re likely to be provided with some painkillers (ibuprofen or paracetamol) by your doctor.
Eligibility To Make A Missed Scaphoid Fracture Claim
When looking at medical negligence claims, including those for a missed scaphoid fracture, we need to consider two things:
- Breach of duty.
- Avoidable harm.
Breach of duty means that the standard of care provided by the medical professional was below that which could be reasonably expected from a competent professional.
To demonstrate avoidable harm or causation, you’ll need to show that the breach of duty caused your suffering rather than the actual injury. This means that it needs to be proven that the delayed or missed diagnosis caused suffering beyond what you’d have suffered had the injury been diagnosed and treated at the first opportunity.
To help prove breach of duty and causation, we advise using specialist medical negligence lawyers. Our panel of solicitors have the knowledge and understanding to make sure enough evidence is provided to demonstrate how the negligence of a medical professional caused your suffering.
Misdiagnosed Scaphoid Fracture Claims Against GP’s
If you suspected that you’d broken a bone in your wrist, you’d likely visit a hospital rather than your GP. However, if you thought your wrist was sprained, you may well visit the GP for advice.
Although GPs are very limited on time (sometimes they only have 10-minutes per patient), they have a duty of care. That means, if they fail to perform the right tests or provide the correct diagnosis, they could be liable for any additional suffering caused.
If there are any symptoms of a fractured scaphoid, the doctor should refer you to a hospital for an X-ray to assess the injury further. As mentioned earlier, these symptoms could include pain when moving the thumb or tenderness in the depression beneath the thumb.
So, if your doctor has assessed your wrist injury and treated it as a sprained wrist, but it later is shown to be a fractured scaphoid, you could then be eligible to claim compensation.
Misdiagnosed Scaphoid Fracture Claims Against Hospitals
The next place a misdiagnosis could happen might be at the hospital. This could be the case if your GP referred you, you visited A&E yourself, or you were brought in by ambulance following your accident.
As soon as a fracture is suspected, the next step would be some form of the scan. This could be an X-ray or MRI, depending on the nature of the fracture. As mentioned earlier, a scaphoid fracture is very difficult to spot on an X-ray in the first instance. Therefore, the NHS will usually assume a fracture and provide treatment as if there is one. They’ll then X-ray the injury at a later date when the fracture should be clearer.
If that procedure fails to happen and you’re sent home with no treatment, you could be eligible to claim if it turns out that the doctor got it wrong. You could also claim against a hospital if:
- You weren’t sent for an X-ray.
- The doctor who treated you wasn’t experienced enough to assess your injuries properly.
- Your X-ray didn’t get sent to the doctor.
- Or the doctor was too busy, for whatever reason, and didn’t observe the fracture in the X-ray.
Please get in touch if you believe hospital staff were negligent when treating you. Our advisors can review your claim for free, assess the evidence with you and provide free advice. If the claim is strong enough, they could refer you to one of our panel of solicitors to help you begin your claim.
Your Rights As An NHS Patient
According to the NHS constitution in England, you have several rights as a patient. These include:
- The right to a GP. You have the right to register with one if you live in their catchment area. You are also entitled to receive treatment for the likes of a missed scaphoid fracture at their surgery. However, you don’t have the right to be treated only by your GP.
- Out of hours / Home visits. GPs must provide a service for patients when they’re off duty. Home visits are not mandatory, but a GP can decide to visit if your condition requires it.
- Second opinions. You might be surprised to know that you have no right to a second opinion. However, a GP may arrange one with a specialist or GP if they believe it’s necessary.
- UK residents have the right to free NHS treatment from their GP.
- Hospital treatment. You are not entitled to hospital treatment without being referred by a GP first. The only exception is for emergency treatment at A&E.
- You have the right to choose to be seen by a particular consultant and their team for outpatient appointments. This is the case if your GP agrees that the choice is appropriate. You can also choose a consultant based at any particular hospital. There is no right to choose a particular consultant for A&E, maternity, mental health or cancer services.
- Waiting lists. According to the NHS constitution, you have the right to use services within the maximum waiting times. If that’s not possible, the local clinical commissioning group should offer you a range of alternate treatment providers to choose from.
This is just a sample of your rights under the NHS constitution. For a full list of what you are entitled to, please check the full constitution here.
Time Limits To Claim For A Misdiagnosed Scaphoid Fracture
When making a scaphoid fracture misdiagnosis claim, you’ll need to begin as soon as possible. That’s because your solicitor will have to lodge the claim within the personal injury claims time limit.
In general cases for adult claims, you’ll have 3-years from the date of the accident to begin your claim. However, if your scaphoid fracture is missed, you could begin your claim later. The date your 3-years commences could be from the date you found actually found out about the fracture.
For children’s claims, a parent can begin on their behalf at any point before they turn 18. If that doesn’t happen, when the child turns 18, they have 3-years to bring their own claim. Note, though, that the claims process could still last for any length of time once you file it.
Missed Scaphoid Fracture Compensation Calculator
When claiming for a misdiagnosed scaphoid fracture, your solicitor will use a legal document called the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to try and determine how much compensation to claim. The JCG is used by courts and insurers as well. In the personal injury compensation calculator table below, we’ve included some figures from the JCG:
|Wrist||Severe||£44,690 to £56,180||This bracket covers the most severe injuries which cause the complete loss of function.|
|Wrist||Serious||£22,990 to £36,770||Includes injuries where a significant permanent disability occurs. However, some movement will still be possilble.|
|Wrist||Less severe||£11,820 to £22,990||Relatively simple injuries but there will be some permanent disability including pain or stiffness.|
|Wrist||Minor||No more than £9,620||Fractures that fully recover by take some time to do so.|
|Wrist||Minor||In the region of £6,970||An uncomplicated (simple) Colles' fracture of the wrist.|
|Wrist||Minor||£3,310 to £4,450||Undisplaced fractures, minor fractures or soft tissue injuries where a plaster cast is used for a few weeks. Symptoms will fully recover after around 12 months.|
|Hand||Moderate||£5,260 to £12,460||This brackaet includes injuries such as penetrating wounds, deep lacerations and also crush injuries.|
It’s worth noting that these figures show compensation paid for pain and suffering caused by your missed scaphoid fracture. However, you could also claim for other ‘special damages’ when making a clinical negligence claim. These include medication costs, travelling costs, lost earnings and also care costs.
Importantly, each injury in the JCG is based on the severity of your injury. Therefore, our panel of solicitors ensure medical evidence is provided to try and prove exactly what injuries were suffered, what impact they had on you and whether you’ll continue to suffer in the future. They also use reports provided by independent doctors. The medical assessment is carried out as locally as possible to try and ensure you don’t need to travel too far.
No Win No Fee Missed Scaphoid Fracture Compensation Claims
Please don’t worry about the costs involved with making a personal injury claim. We say that because our panel of medical negligence lawyers offer a No Win No Fee service for any claim they handle. This means your financial risk is reduced when claiming. Also, the level of stress involved reduces too.
When you begin a medical negligence claim, the solicitor will check it has a chance of being won. If they think it does, they’ll provide you with a conditional fee agreement. This is the contract between you and your solicitor. It provides you with a lot of information about the claims process and also shows you:
- The success fee you’ll pay if the solicitor wins your case.
- That there are no solicitor’s fees to pay should the case be lost.
Success fees are shown as a percentage of your compensation. When a claim is won, the solicitor deducts their success fee from the compensation before sending the balance to you. Typically, a success fee will be around 25% of your compensation.
Talk To Medical Negligence Assist
Thanks for reading this guide about claiming for miss scaphoid fracture compensation. We really hope that you now want Medical Negligence Assist to help you begin a claim. If so, here are the best methods to get in touch:
- Call our specialists on 0800 652 3087 for free claims advice.
- Begin your claim online by completing our online enquiry form.
- Or connect to a member of our team via live chat.
The claims line is available 7-days a week and 24-hours a day. This means you can begin your claim whenever it’s most convenient for you.
If you choose to ask for our advice, we’ll begin by offering a no-obligation assessment of your claim. We’ll review the evidence you have and provide free legal advice about your options. If your claim has strong enough grounds, our advisors could connect you to one of our panel of medical negligence solicitors. If they agree to take on your claim, it’ll be on a no win no fee basis.
Now that you’ve completed our guide about claiming for a missed scaphoid fracture, we’d like to provide you with links to some more of our guides as well as some external resources.
Fractured Wrist Information – This NHS guide explains how a wrist fracture is diagnosed and treated. It also explains how to protect the wrist while recovering.
Scaphoid Fractures – A PDF document from the NHS explains the treatment options for a broken scaphoid bone.
Misdiagnosis Claims – Our guide could prove helpful if you’re considering claiming for the misdiagnosis of a fracture.
Hospital Negligence Claims – A useful guide that shows when a personal injury lawyer could help you make a claim for medical malpractice against a hospital.
In this guide, GP Negligence looks at the types of medical negligence that could lead to a claim against your GP.
Article By Brett.
Missed Scaphoid Fracture FAQs
How often are scaphoid fractures missed?
Amongst compensation claims for scaphoid fractures, the vast majority are due to a doctor missing the injury diagnosis.
Can an X-ray miss a scaphoid fracture?
It’s definitely possible for an X-ray to miss a scaphoid fracture, so much so that it’s actually common.
Can you fracture your scaphoid without knowing?
Yes, it could be days or even weeks later that you find out about any damage to your scaphoid.
Do you need a cast for a fractured scaphoid?
Yes, the recommendation is for any victims of this injury to wear either a case or a splint.
How long do you wear a cast for a scaphoid fracture?
The minimum period is six weeks, but it could be for up to six months, depending on the fracture’s severity.
Can you move your thumb with a scaphoid fracture?
It becomes very difficult to move your thumb with this injury due to the tenderness and pain within the thumb.
How can I tell if I have a hairline fracture in my wrist?
The symptoms to look out for are swelling, pain, bruising and a lack of mobility.
How long does a bruised scaphoid take to heal?
This could take up to eight weeks for you to make a full recovery.
Thank you for reading our guide about making a claim for a missed scaphoid fracture.