Medical Negligence Claims For Misdiagnosed Calcaneus Fractures
This online guide covers compensation claims for a missed calcaneus fracture. A fractured heel is a serious injury, even when it is diagnosed rapidly and treated effectively. When it is missed and is left untreated, it could result in some form of permanent disability. Should this be the case, it could be possible for the injured party to make a personal injury claim for the harm they suffered through medical negligence.
Because every claim is unique in nature, this guide might not address the questions you may have in which case you can call our team on 0800 652 3087, and one of our advisers will assist you. They will answer your questions and explain how a personal injury solicitor can help you process a medical negligence claim against a third party.
Choose A Section:
- A Guide On Missed Calcaneus Fracture Compensation Claim
- What Is A Missed Bone Fracture Or Break?
- How Medical Errors Happen
- Causes Of Calcaneus (Heel) Breaks Fractures
- Symptoms Of A Broken Or Fractured Calcaneus
- How Calcaneus Fractures Are Diagnosed And Treated
- When Could You Claim For The Misdiagnosis Of A Fracture?
- GP Misdiagnosis Of A Calcaneus Fracture
- Hospital Misdiagnosis Of A Calcaneus Fracture
- NHS Patients Rights And Responsibilities
- Medical Negligence Claim Limitation Periods
- Calculating Compensation For Misdiagnosed Calcaneus Fractures
- No Win No Fee Missed Calcaneus Fracture Claims
- Talk To Our Medical Negligence Team
- Where To Find Further Information
A Guide On Missed Calcaneus Fracture Compensation Claims
This guide to making a claim for a misdiagnosed fracture of the calcaneus provides information on how to file a personal injury claim against a negligent third party. The guides aims to help you make an informed decision on whether you may have grounds to seek compensation and covers both NHS negligence and clinical negligence that occurs in a private hospital.
The middle section provides facts and information on how fractures may be missed and covers some of the common causes of a broken heel, as well as the symptoms associated with this kind of injury, how they are first diagnosed, and then treated.
The following section looks at specific information related to why a claim may be possible and covers eligibility. The next two sections covers claims against a GP and claims against a hospital as well as your rights as an NHS patient together with the time limits that may apply to negligence claims.
The last section covers some of the financial aspects of the claims process. You will find a detailed table offering compensation amounts which are based on the Judicial College Guidelines used in England to value personal injury claims. We have also listed damages that your settlement could include.
Lastly, we explain how No Win No fee claims work, and how such a fee agreement minimises financial risks associated with medical negligence claims.
You may have additional questions not covered in the guide, or you may have questions about the contents. If you do, please speak to one of our claim advisers who will go over your claim with you, answer any questions/queries, and also explain how a medical negligence lawyer can help you process a medical negligence claim.
What Is A Missed Bone Fracture Or Break?
A fractured heel is a serious injury, and one that can result in you losing some level of mobility if the correct treatment is not administered in a timely way. Therefore, if a fracture of the calcaneus is misdiagnosed as a different injury, you could suffer, and potentially complications may develop.
Medical professionals have multiple tools at their disposal to help diagnose a fracture. However, mistakes can be made and injuries overlooked. If such a mistake can be proven, the injured party could have a valid basis to make a negligence compensation claim.
If you believe you have due cause to claim for a missed fracture, please call our team. One of our advisers will explain how a personal injury lawyer can help assess whether your case is valid and how best to pursue a medical negligence claim.
How Medical Errors Happen
There are many ways that a heel fracture could be missed by a doctor performing an examination. For example:
- An inexperienced doctor did not send the patient for an x-ray because they missed the physical signs of a fracture
- A misunderstanding led the examining doctor to believe the accident that caused the injury was less severe than it was
- A doctor failed to see a fracture on an x-ray
- An x-ray was taken of the wrong part of the heel
- The doctor was not provided with a full x-ray or MRI report
In each of these examples, it is clear to see how either the diagnosing doctor, or one of the hospital support staff, failed in their duty of care. This could be deemed medical negligence. In such cases, if negligence can be proven, you may be able to claim compensation for the missed heel fracture.
Causes Of Calcaneus (Heel) Breaks Fractures
A broken heel could result in you being unable to walk until the fracture has healed. The heel bone is vulnerable, especially when subjected to blunt force trauma, such as:
- Falling from a height, such as falling off a ladder
- Road traffic accidents
- Accidents in which the heel is crushed
- Accidents where the heel is trapped. For example, getting stuck in a crack in a pavement
- Accidents whilst playing a sport
- Fractures caused by repetitive strain, such as running or hiking
Looking at calcaneus fracture anatomy, we find there are three types of injuries, and these are:
- Intra-articular fractures – these are the most severe type of fractured heel because they are complicated by being close to the ankle joint, and would also involve damage to ligaments, tendons
- Intra-articular calcaneal fractures – these are not near any joints, and would be a fairly clean break without any corresponding damage to soft tissue
- Avulsion fractures – these are often caused by stress, where a small piece of bone has pulled away from the calcaneus
An Intra-articular fracture is likely to be more serious than an avulsion fracture, and therefore the symptoms would be more obvious. This means it is less likely that a doctor would fail to diagnose an Intra-articular fracture. However, if they do and you can prove a mistake was made, you may be able to claim for any harm you suffered due to a missed heel fracture.
Symptoms Of A Broken Or Fractured Calcaneus
When it comes to calcaneus fracture diagnosis, a doctor would initially evaluate the symptoms of the injury, and make a decision whether further tests such as an x-ray are needed. The symptoms of a broken heel bone could include:
- A significant level of pain, especially when the heel bone is touched
- Bruising or swelling of the foot
- The heel is tender to touch
- Crackling sounds when the patient puts weight on their foot
- Pain when moving the foot
- The heel is visibly deformed
- Pain when putting weight on the foot
- Numbness or pins and needles in the foot
- A haematoma on or near the heel
These symptoms are a general indication of a heel fracture and should prompt the doctor to perform more tests. If the bone fracture is misdiagnosed, and it can be proven that a mistake was made, you may be able to file a medical negligence claim.
How Calcaneus Fractures Are Diagnosed And Treated
In the previous section, we looked at some of the symptoms of a fractured heel. Doctors are expected to examine a patient to determine whether there is a chance the heel is fractured. If they believe that it could be, they can call for an x-ray or MRI scan to be taken to confirm an initial diagnosis.
The diagnosing doctor is also expected to take into consideration the patient’s previous medical history, such as whether they have injured their heel before, or whether they are suffering from a medical condition that could cause fractures to occur more easily. When a mistake is made and a fractured heel is overlooked, it can lead to calcaneus fracture complications such as:
- Swelling and/or fracture blisters
- Wound dehiscence
- Compartment syndrome
- Infection or gangrene
- Heel exostosis
- Neurovascular injury
- Long term problem such as arthritis
When a fracture of the heel is diagnosed, a doctor would typically recommend appropriate calcaneus fracture treatment. Treatment of a calcaneus fracture could include:
- Administering painkillers
- Surgery to align the bone fragments and keep them aligned using pins, rods, plates, screws
- Immobilising the foot using a special boot, or a plaster cast
- Physiotherapy to help the patient recover their mobility one the injury is healed
This section covered the diagnosis and treatment of a fractured heel. However, if an error is made during the diagnosis and the fracture is missed, the patient would not receive the required treatment outlined above. Should this be the case, and you can prove that a mistake was made by a medical professional, you may be able to make a claim for the harm you suffered.
When Could You Claim For The Misdiagnosis Of A Fracture?
To make a successful medical negligence claim against a third party, you must be able to prove that you were harmed by the actions of a medical professional in a way that could have been avoided.
Every medical professional has a duty of care to never cause unnecessary harm to a patient. When they do, the injured party could have a valid basis for making a claim. However, the onus is on the claimant to prove that negligence did take place. If you cannot prove this, then it is unlikely your claim would achieve a satisfactory outcome.
GP Misdiagnosis Of A Calcaneus Fracture
When you visit your GP, you trust them to diagnose a medical condition accurately, and then either to provide primary care such as dispensing medication, or referring you to another healthcare unit for treatment.
Unfortunately, a GP can make mistakes. For example, if you are suffering from a small stress fracture to your heel, they may overlook it entirely. This could lead to the fracture becoming worse, or complications setting in. In such cases, if you could prove that the GP made a mistake, and this caused you physical harm, you could have a valid claim.
Hospital Misdiagnosis Of A Calcaneus Fracture
When you visit the Accident & Emergency Department at a hospital, you would typically undergo a process of diagnosis very similar to the one we outlined in a previous section. You would be examined by a doctor, and if they suspect you have a fractured heel, they will arrange for you to undergo additional tests such as an MRI scan or an x-ray to confirm an initial diagnosis.
However, mistakes can be made in either the examination stage, or when the patient is undergoing tests which could result in a fractured heel being overlooked. Should this be the case and you can prove that negligence took place, a medical negligence solicitor maybe able to process a claim on your behalf. For more information, speak to our team today.
NHS Patients Rights And Responsibilities
The NHS maintains what is called the NHS Constitution. Thiis a comprehensive set of standards that enables patients to measure the quality of the care they receive.
The NHS Constitution also outlines the procedure for making a complaint about the NHS. The starting point of any compensation claim for a calcaneus fracture that was misdiagnosed, is to lodge an official complaint that follows this procedure.
When a solicitor processes a negligence claim for you, they will leverage your patient rights to pursue the NHS for damages on your behalf. If you would like to know more about your NHS patient rights, please speak to one of our advisers today.
Medical Negligence Claim Limitation Periods
There is a personal injury time limit which must be respected for a medical negligence claim to be valid. The time limit depends on the circumstances of your claim, for example:
- If you are under 18 years of age, it will be three years from the date of your 18th birthday which means you would have up until you are twenty one to seek medical negligence compensation
- If you are over 18 years of age, it will be three years from the date the negligence took place, or three years from the date a medical condition caused by negligence was first diagnosed
Calculating Compensation For Misdiagnosed Calcaneus Fractures
If you check the table below, you can look up the kind of foot injury you have suffered and then find out the possible range of compensation you might receive if your claim is a success. We have based this table on the actual Judicial College Guidelines used by the courts in England to place a value on injuries sustained.
|Injured foot||Moderate||£12,900 to £23,460||Injuries that could, for example, cause a foot to become deformed, meaning normal shoes can no longer be worn. An example would be a displaced metatarsal fracture.|
|Injured foot||Serious||£23,460 to £36,790||Fractures to the heel of the foot, and other fractures as well as soft tissue injuries such as sprain and strains. There could be some continuing pain and there is a risk of developing arthritis.|
|Injured foot||Severe||£39,390 to £65,710||Injuries that will have a significant effect on the mobility of the victim. For example, the fracture of both heels. The pain would be ongoing, although probably lessening in the future. Mobility will be severely impaired. For example. heel fusion, severe degloving, ulceration, etc. There could also be some deformity of the foot.|
|Injured foot||Very severe||£78,800 to £102,890||All injuries that would fall short of an actual amputation. In some cases, compensation would be on par with an amputation. Injuries that result in a permanent disability, with the victim suffering from a severe loss of mobility for the rest of their life.|
|Injured foot||Amputation||£78,800 to £189,110||From the loss of one foot to the loss of both feet.|
As an alternative to using this table, you could use an online personal injury claims calculator but these are rarely reliable. For a more accurate estimate, a lawyer would need to value your claim to prove the extent of your injuries.
The overall amount of compensation you receive would be divided into two categories if your claim is a success. For example:
- Special damages (these are paid to compensate for ad-hoc and financial loss):
- Medical fees
- The cost of care
- Travel costs and other out of pocket expenses
- Lowered future earning potential
- Loss of wages/salary while away from work healing
- General damages (these are paid to compensation for physical harm):
- Pain, shock and trauma
- Psychological damage
- Long term disability or impairment
- Loss of mobility
- Lowered quality of life
No Win No Fee Missed Calcaneus Fracture Claims
Using a No Win No Fee lawyer can remove the financial risks of making a claim, as you won’t pay the solicitors pre-agree fee until such time as they have received a settlement for you which is known as a ‘success fee’.
Talk To Our Medical Negligence Team
Did you suffer complications to a fractured heel because is was originally overlooked by your GP, or at a hospital? If you can prove a mistake was made, you may be able to move forward with a compensation claim. You can contact our team on 0800 652 3087 for more help. A claim adviser will go over your claim with you and advise you on how you may be able to proceed.
Where To Find Further Information
These external links contain relevant information that may be of some use to you:
You may also like to look over these other guides that we have published on this site:
Article by MW