By Danielle Parsons. Last Updated 5th April 2023. This online guide to making a compensation claim for a missed sternum fracture covers many ways that this type of breastbone injury can be overlooked due to mistakes made by a doctor or other medical professionals. The aim of this guide is to show that when somebody suffers harm caused by a missed fracture due to a medical error how it could entitle them to make a medical negligence claim against the party responsible.
You may have questions that are unique to your own claim which are not included in the guide and should this be the case, we can still assist you. All you need to do is call our team on 0800 652 3087. One of our advisers will listen to how you were harmed, and why you believe you may have a claim before answering any questions you might have.
Choose A Section:
- A Guide On Claiming For A Missed Sternum Fracture
- What Are Misdiagnosed Sternum Fractures?
- Why Could A Sternum Fracture Be Misdiagnosed?
- How Are Sternum Fractures Caused?
- Sternum Fracture Symptoms
- Fractured Sternum – Examples Of Evidence When Claiming For Medical Negligence
- Claim If Your GP Missed A Sternum Fracture
- Claim If A Hospital Missed A Sternum Fracture
- What Are Your Rights As An NHS Patient?
- Time Limits To Claim If Your Fracture Was Misdiagnosed
- Missed Or Misdiagnosed Sternum Fracture Compensation Calculator
- No Win No Fee Missed Sternum Fracture Compensation Claims
- How To Contact Us
- Reference Materials
If a sternum fracture is missed it could result in a patient suffering from unnecessary harm. It could also cause the injury to worsen, and for complications to set in. If your fracture was missed due to a negligent mistake on the part of a medical professional, you could be entitled to file a personal injury claim for the harm you suffered. This guide provides valuable information on how to go about making such a claim to help you make an informed decision on whether to seek medical negligence compensation from a party responsible.
We start by looking at what a misdiagnosed sternum fracture is and the middle part deals with facts linked to sternum fractures and why they could be misdiagnosed. We cover the common causes of this type of injury, as well as the major symptoms. We also discuss how these fractures are diagnosed and subsequently treated.
We explain how eligibility to file a medical negligence claim works, and how you could be entitled to make a claim against the party responsible. We also cover GP negligence and hospital negligence which could lead to overlooked sternum fractures. We complete the section by taking a look at the NHS Constitution and your rights as an NHS patient. Although this guide is about NHS negligence, the information provided could also apply to medical negligence suffered in a private healthcare facility.
The last part covers the actual process of making a medical negligence claim and the different time limits that could apply to your case. We have also created a personal injury compensation table, that is based on the Judicial College Guidelines used by the legal system in England to value injuries sustained. Additionally, we list some of the commonly received damages in a successful medical negligence claim.
The final section of this guide explain how a No Win No Fee solicitor could be the best option for you to get legal representation which takes the worry of having to pay legal costs upfront.
If you have any questions related to the contents of this guide, the claims process in general, or specifics about your own claim, then please call our team on the number at the end at the top of the page. An adviser will talk through your claim with you, let you know what your legal options could be, and provide free legal advice on the best way to for a medical negligence solicitor process a claim for an undiagnosed sternum fracture.
What Are Misdiagnosed Sternum Fractures?
A misdiagnosed fracture of the sternum, or any misdiagnosed fracture, could be seen as clinical negligence if the diagnosing doctor made a mistake which caused you further pain and suffering. This guide is primarily related to instances of NHS negligence, but it could equally apply to negligence on the part of a private healthcare provider.
There are many ways a misdiagnosis could occur, and we cover many of these in the following sections. However, the key takeaways are that you actually suffered harm due to the missed sternum fracture, and you are able to prove that it was a mistake made by a medical professional. Should this be the case, it could entitle you to seek compensation from the medical professional responsible.
Why Could A Sternum Fracture Be Misdiagnosed?
There are a number of reasons why a sternum facture could be misdiagnosed, or even overlooked entirely. For example:
- The diagnosing doctor did not follow the correct procedure
- X-ray or MRI results are not presented properly
- The patient’s medical record was not checked
- During the diagnosis, a doctor missed a key symptom
How Are Sternum Fractures Caused?
People who sustained a fractured sternum will generally have suffered some form of blunt force trauma. For example, a seat-belt applying force to the chest in a road traffic accident which results in a sternum fracture.
Other ways that a chest injury of this nature could occur are:
- Falling from a height
- Sporting accidents
- Accidents that result in the victim being crushed
Alongside these, certain people are more at risk of suffering fractures, for example:
- People suffering from osteoporosis or some other medical condition affecting bones
- Elderly people
- A woman who is postmenopausal
- A person who has been regularly taking steroids
If you suffer a fractured sternum, and either visit the hospital or your GP to have it diagnosed and treated, the examining doctor should take specific things into consideration whilst carrying out a diagnosis. If they do not, and they miss the sternum fracture, you may be able to make a claim for negligence.
Sternum Fracture Symptoms
This sections deals with the question, how do you know if you’ve broken your sternum? The answer is to take a look at the major sternum fracture symptoms which are as follows:
- Crepitus (a crunching or grinding sound when the broken bone rubs against itself)
- Bruising, tenderness and general pain in the chest
- Swelling of the middle of the chest over the sternum
- Visible deformity, or visible bone movement as the patient breathes
- In severe cases, the patient could have problems breathing, or their heart could beat irregularly
If the diagnosis doctor misses symptoms such as these, they may not suspect a fracture, and subsequently not call for additional tests to be carried out. This means you would not receive the treatment needed which could have a negative impact and complications could set in. Should this be the case, and you can prove that a mistake was made during the diagnosis, you may be able to make a claim for medical negligence against the party responsible.
If you speak to our team, they can explain the process of starting a claim to you.
If you’ve broken your sternum, pain and suffering could be caused as a result of the injury. However, to successfully claim for a fractured sternum, you would need evidence it was caused by negligence.
With a fractured sternum, missing the fracture can lead to the injury becoming much worse. This is why medical professionals must take all reasonable steps they can to ensure a diagnosis such as this isn’t missed. If a doctor or other medical professional misses a fracture, then this could be an example of medical negligence.
Examples of evidence include:
- Medical evidence – You have the right to access your medical records at any time. For instance, you can present the original X-rays that should have been carried out due to a suspected fracture. Alternatively, you may also be able to prove that no X-rays took place, when it should have been in accordance with your symptoms at the time.
- Witness statements – There may have been a friend or relative who was in an appointment with you. They could submit a written account of what occurred.
Get in touch today if you want to know more about fractured sternum compensation due to medical negligence.
Missed Sternum Fracture – What Is The Bolam Test?
You may like to claim compensation for your missed fracture. As part of this process, your claim may be put through the ‘Bolam Test’. In this section, we explain what this is.
The Bolam Test is used to determine whether the correct standard of care was provided. Your case will be presented to other medical professionals who will decide whether the treating clinician provided you with a minimum care standard.
For example, when you presented the hospital with symptoms of a fractured sternum, the doctor may not have ordered an x-ray, delaying your treatment. Other medical professionals may decide whether not ordering an x-ray met the minimum standard of care or, if the treating clinician should have ordered one with the symptoms you presented with. The Bolam Test may support a medical negligence claim.
In addition to the Bolam Test, as part of the claiming process, you will need to prove that the delayed fracture sternum treatment caused you to suffer unnecessary harm. For example, following a sternum fracture, you should avoid lifting for up to four weeks. If you weren’t diagnosed in a timely manner due to negligence, you may have lifted a heavy object and suffered further injuries.
Call our advisors for more information about the claiming process. They’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with free advice.
Your GP is your initial contact for primary healthcare in the UK. What this means is that your GP is responsible for ensuring you get the proper treatment that you need. This could be through primary care, with the GP diagnosing your condition and prescribing medication. Or, it could be through secondary care, with your GP referring you to the correct healthcare facility for further diagnosis and treatment.
When your GP makes a mistake, it could mean your fractured sternum goes untreated, and your medical condition could worsen as a result. Should this be the case, it may be possible for a medical negligence lawyer to process a medical negligence claim on your behalf. Speak to our team to learn more.
Claim If A Hospital Missed A Sternum Fracture
Most people who suffer an injury such as a broken sternum, head to their local hospital to get medical help and treatment. As previously mentioned, there is a specific diagnostic process that doctors follow to discern whether a fracture exists or not.
However, in a busy, understaffed hospital, the quality of care can slip for many reasons. When this results in a doctor misdiagnosing or entirely missing an injury such as a fractured sternum, it could cause a patient to suffer unnecessarily. Should this be the case and you are able to prove that a medical professional made a mistake whilst you were being treated at a hospital, you may have grounds to file a claim for medical negligence. This is something that our team can help you with, give them a call to find out how.
What Are Your Rights As An NHS Patient?
The NHS Constitution is a comprehensive document that details the responsibilities of the NHS, the level of care they must meet, the official operating procedures they must follow, and many more aspects that cover the day to day work of the NHS. Two parts of the constitution that relate to this claims guide are NHS patient’s rights and the procedure for reporting negligence.
Every NHS patient has the right to make a complaint about the service they receive. When such a complaint is related to harm a patient suffered due to negligence of a medical professional, the NHS will evaluate the complaint. If the NHS rules that no negligence takes place, the claimant will need to prove that it did.
Time Limits To Claim If Your Fracture Was Misdiagnosed
There is a personal injury claims time limit that you must respect when filing a medical negligence claim against a responsible party. In general, this time limit will be:
- For adults over the age of 18 – three years from the date of the event
- For minors under the age of 18 – three years from their 18th birthday which means they have up until they turn 21 to file a medical negligence claim against a responsible party
Missed Or Misdiagnosed Sternum Fracture Compensation Calculator
Following a successful claim for a broken sternum, the pain and suffering you have endured due to being harmed by medical negligence could be compensated with general damages. To help support your claim for general damages, you should provide medical evidence regarding your broken sternum, such as an x-ray or a copy of your medical records.
Below, we have created a table to help you gain a clearer idea of how much you could be eligible for in compensation for a chest injury, such as a fractured sternum. The compensation figures listed have been taken from the 16th edition of the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). The JCG is a document that is used by many legal professionals to help them value claims. This is because the JCG lists compensation brackets for various injuries, and the figures are based on past successful claims.
However, you should only use this table as a guide. How much compensation you could receive will be affected by the factors of your claim.
|The worse case would be the complete loss of one lung or damage to the heart that is serious, and will be painful for a long time. There may also be significant scarring.
|£100,670 to £150,110
|A traumatic injury to the chest, lungs or heart, that will result in permanent damage that will impair the function of the heart or lungs, and leave the person with a permanent disability and possibly reduced life expectancy.
|£65,740 to £100,670
|Damage to the chest or lungs that will cause some level of long-term impairment.
|£31,310 to £54,830
|An injury such as a deep puncture wound, that would cause some permanent and lasting damage, but there would be no measurable long-term loss of lung function.
|£12,590 to £17,960
|The inhalation of smoke or toxic fumes that would result in some lung damage, but that would heal over time and not result in any permanent loss of lung capacity.
|£5,320 to £12,590
|Injuries that result in a collapsed lung, from which a patient will make a full recovery.
|£2,190 to £5,320
|Fractures and soft tissue injuries, that cause pain and a disability for a few weeks.
|Up to £3,950
|Fracture of Clavicle
|The extent of the fracture, residual symptoms and the level of disability will affect how much compensation is awarded.
|£5,150 to £12,240
Additionally, you may receive special damages as part of your compensation settlement. Special damages compensate you for the financial losses you have suffered due to being harmed by medical negligence. Some of the things you could be compensated for under special damages include:
- Medical costs.
- Travel expenses.
- Loss of earnings.
Providing evidence of these financial losses could help support you in your claim. Evidence could include invoices, bank statements and receipts.
Contact our advisors today to find out whether you could make a medical negligence claim for a broken sternum. If our advisors believe that you could be owed compensation, they could connect you with our experienced panel of solicitors who could help you with your claim.
When you engage a personal injury solicitor under a No Win No Fee agreement, you will not pay the solicitor an upfront fee. You would only pay the agreed ‘success fee’ when the solicitor receives a compensation payment for you.
There is no fees to pay while the lawyer processes your medical negligence claim and if unsuccessful and you do not receive medical negligence compensation, you would not have to pay the ‘success fee’ at all. This means that many of the financial risks of making a medical negligence claim are mitigated.
If you suffered a broken sternum because the injury was overlooked by a doctor and you believe a personal injury lawyer could help you file a claim for compensation, please speak to one of our advisers for more help and advice.
You can contact our team on 0800 652 3087. They will be able to answer any questions that you have, evaluate your claim for you, and offer you some free legal advice on how to get started with your claim.
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Article by MW