My Hairline Fracture Was Misdiagnosed, Could I Claim Compensation?
Were you made to suffer further harm from a misdiagnosed hairline fracture? Did a healthcare professional fail to diagnose the extent of your injuries? If so, you could have valid grounds to seek compensation by filing a medical negligence claim against the party responsible.
This guide provides crucial information regarding missed hairline fractures together with impartial advice on how you could claim if you were left suffering as a result of medical negligence. Whether it be a GP, doctor, surgeon or other forms of a healthcare professional who misdiagnosed a hairline fracture, you could claim compensation with the help of a personal injury solicitor.
To speak with an adviser on how to begin your claim, or simply discuss any queries you may have, call us today on 0800 652 3087. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to all potential claimants. Our lines are open 24/7, and our expert advisers are happy to answer any question you may have.
Choose A Section
- A Guide To Misdiagnosed Hairline Fracture Compensation Claims
- What Is A Misdiagnosed Or Missed Hairline Fracture?
- Circumstances In Which Fractures May Be Misdiagnosed
- Causes Of Missed Hairline Fractures
- Hairline Fracture Diagnosis, Treatment And Complications
- When You Could Claim Compensation For Medical Negligence
- Missed Hairline Fracture Claims Against A GP
- Missed Hairline Fracture Claims Against Hospitals
- Patients Rights When Being Treated By The NHS
- Medical Misdiagnosis Claim Time Limits
- Missed Hairline Fracture Compensation Calculator
- No Win No Fee Claims For Undiagnosed And Misdiagnosed Hairline Fractures
- Contact Our Team
- Supporting Resources
When we hear the word “medical negligence” we tend to assume the worst-case scenario and ‘Never Events’, such as wrong-site surgery or retained objects post-procedure. However, sometimes an act of medical malpractice could be as simple as an undiagnosed fracture. It is important for a correct diagnosis to be made within a short time-frame for a successful recovery, especially for more complex bone structures. But if an injury is overlooked or misdiagnosed, there could be severe and life-long consequences.
In this guide, we look at common types of missed hairline fractures and how it is possible to misdiagnose such injuries. Following this, we provide advice and guidance on how you could pursue a personal injury claim for harm and suffering due to medical negligence.
A common misconception held by many is the idea that they would be instantly aware of a broken bone. While this may be true for a severe fracture or a broken bone, or an injury that breaks the skin, hairline fractures can often go under the radar. Sometimes a stress fracture will show minimal symptoms and, as a result, lead to a misdiagnosis. As will be explained in more detail, a misdiagnosis of this kind could be deemed medical negligence. Among other duties, it is the responsibility of a medical practitioner and other medical professionals, to accurately diagnose a patient and provide them with the necessary treatment to aid recovery.
There are several reasons why a missed hairline fracture may occur. Sometimes a mistake as simple as mistaking a hairline hand fracture with a sprain could occur because an X-ray was not taken from the right angle. However, while genuine mistakes can occur, it is also possible for a medical professional to act negligently when it can be proved they breached their duty of care towards you which resulted in further suffering.
This guide looks at why a medical professional may miss these injuries. Mistakes could occur in an Accident and Emergency department (A&E), GP practice, NHS hospital, or any medical setting. Regardless of where these events took place, if you were made to suffer from a misdiagnosed hairline fracture, it could be seen as medical negligence and you may be entitled to seek compensation from the responsible party.
To find out more, please speak to a one of our panel of medical negligence solicitors.
A large number of hairline fractures (also known as “occult fractures”) may occur due to traumatic events or by falling from a height. However, while this type of incident may increase the risk of you sustaining a hairline fracture, such an injury could occur when carrying out simple day-to-day activities. In short, the overuse or repetition of an activity could cause injury like a hairline fracture.
One of the more common causes of hairline fractures occurs in sports. For example, if you run regularly and increase your distance, speed, duration or frequency, an injury of this type could happen. Another example is if you suddenly swap a high-level of swimming for running, football or any other type of sport. It could put you at risk of suffering a stress fracture because your bones would have needed enough time to adapt to the intensity of the sport you choose to do.
An occult fracture could occur in almost any bone in the body. Some of these include:
- Wrist hairline fracture
- Finger hairline fracture
- Forearm hairline fracture
- Elbow hairline fracture
- Foot hairline fracture
- Leg hairline fracture
- Hand hairline fracture
- Arm hairline fracture
In the following sections, we look at common symptoms of a stress fracture, how these symptoms might be overlooked by a medical professional, and what consequences could result from such a mistake.
A lot of people ask “Are stress fractures and hairline fractures the same?” The simple answer to this is, yes they are the same. It is vital that you seek medical treatment if you suspect you have sustained a hairline or stress fracture. The longer an injury of this type is left, the more severe the repercussions could be.
First of all, your doctor will ask you general questions about your health and medical history. This is to understand your current medical state and assess the risk of you sustaining a hairline fracture. Your doctor will then perform an array of examinations to diagnose your injury as accurately as possible. These include having X-rays, MRIs, bone scans taken to identify whether you have suffered a stress fracture.
The symptoms associated with this type of injury include the following:
- Inability to bear weight or perform daily activities
Generally speaking, such symptoms would be the same regardless of whether the injury is a hairline fracture in the arm, or hairline fracture of the leg. There is more information about stress fracture symptoms, along with advice and guidance on how to aid stress fracture treatment, in this NHS guide.
To claim compensation for avoidable harm suffered from a missed, undiagnosed or misdiagnosed hairline fracture, there must first be reasonable grounds for medical negligence. Generally speaking, your personal injury lawyer must be able to establish three basic factors in order to bring your claim forward. These factors are as follows:
- You were owed a duty of care by the healthcare practice/practitioner in question
- This duty of care was breached
- As a result of this breach, you were made to suffer avoidable harm (or an existing condition was made worse)
The definition of a “breach” is commonly referred to as a substandard of what is reasonably expected from healthcare professionals. It is important to note that while there may be similarities between clinical negligence cases, the circumstances of each case are unique. As such, it would be a mistake to compare your case to that of another.
When you visit a GP, you should expect the standard of care to reasonable. What is minimally expected from general practitioners is underpinned by the Regulation of General Practice Programme Board (RGPPB). Together with NHS England, this regulatory body aims as a collective, to ensure all patients receive safe and high-quality care by GPs throughout the UK.
The Board has helped establish a joint framework by which GPs must abide to improve standards and works closely with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The CQC regulates GPs and out-of-hours GP services. In particular, the CQC will seek to reduce the risk of medical malpractice occurring within these services. For example, an act of malpractice could be:
- Overlooking hairline fracture symptoms
- Failure to examine the full extent of a patient’s injury
- Failure to refer a patient to a specialist for hairline fracture treatment
- Misinterpretation of results (E.g. Confusing a stress fracture with a sprain)
You may be wondering: “What happens if a fracture is left untreated?” or “Do GPs commonly miss foot fractures?” You can read our detailed guide to GP negligence by clicking here.
An undiagnosed hairline fracture or misdiagnosed fracture, might be seen as an act of negligence if the injury was overlooked by a medical professional because it is the responsibility of the practitioner to identify injuries during an examination. The consequences of a misdiagnosed fracture could be detrimental to a patient’s health and well-being and could cause long-term issues. In some cases, this type of mistake could hinder recovery too.
A common way in which a professional could miss fractures is during imagery analysis. Between March 2017 and February 2018, the NHS reported there were 41.3 million imaging tests carried out in England ( NHS website). With such a large proportion of imaging tests taking place every month, the slightest error in the analysis could increase the risk of undiagnosed and missed hairline fractures occurring.
You may be wondering “Can you X-ray when swollen?” or “Do old fractures show up on X-rays?” Even an X-ray can miss a fracture in the foot. Some examples of such mistakes include:
- Failure to recognise the injury as a fracture (E.g. Misinterpret as a sprain, dislocation)
- Errors during imaging testing (E.g. Wrong angle, moving during testing)
- Referring the patient for the wrong type of test (E.g. MRI instead of an X-ray)
- Overlooking fractures (I.e. Failing to notice very light lines on X-rays)
These mistakes may seem minimal, but the consequences could be disastrous. If you were made to suffer as a result of hospital negligence, either by misdiagnosis or a missed hairline fracture, then click here to read our detailed guide to hospital medical negligence claims
For further advice about queries you may have regarding hospital negligence, such as “Can an X-ray miss a hairline fracture?” or “Can you walk on a hairline fracture?” please contact an adviser from our expert team today.
Every NHS patient will have the right to several services and treatments. Healthcare professionals owe a duty of care to their patients to uphold reasonably expected standards at all times. Failure to do so could be deemed NHS negligence.
Some of the rights you are entitled to include:
- Reasonably expected standards of care, as recommended by Government legislation
- Equal rights during treatment regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation or disability
- Examination and treatment, discharge or admittance into the hospital within the first 4 hours of arrival
- Immediate assessment of your injury and/or illness
- To make a complaint if there is a breach in said rights
As with many cases of medical negligence, there is a personal injury claims time limit which dictates how long a claimant has to pursue their case against a responsible party. Typically, this time limit is 3-years from the date of sustaining an injury being harmed. However, it is sometimes possible to conduct a claim outside of this time limit.
For example, if a diagnosis is made a while after the incident occurred, the time limit would begin from the date of the diagnosis. This is a common occurrence with cases which involve Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Furthermore, if the victim is a child, a parent or guardian has the right to make a claim on their behalf. If, however, no claim is made by a parent/guardian, the child will have until their 21st birthday to pursue a claim once they turn 18 years of age.
With this said, it is far better to seek advice from a legal expert sooner rather than later if you are unsure which time limit would apply to your claim so your case is not ‘time barred’.
Although it is impossible to undo a traumatic event and the harm you may have suffered, the medical negligence compensation you could be awarded awarded would help you financially. Where a severe injury could force you to take time away from work, you could receive compensation for any loss of earnings, alongside medical costs, travel expenses and potential future loss of earnings too.
The table below demonstrates examples of compensation brackets awarded for a series of injuries. These amounts are taken from the Judicial College’s (JC) Guidelines and are awarded as ‘general damages’ in successful personal injury claims.
|Foot Injury||Very Severe||£78,800 to £102,890||To qualify for an amount within this bracket, there must be severe levels of pain and/or permanent disability. For example, traumatic amputation of the forefoot is likely to be considered for this bracket as there may be a risk of the need for a full amputation|
|Foot Injury||Severe||£39,390 to £65,710||Both heels or feel must suffer a severe fracture which causes a restriction on mobility, along with permanent pain. In addition to this type of injury, cases of severe degloving, heel fusion, extensive surgery and other disabilities will also apply to this bracket.|
|Foot Injury||Serious||£23,460 to £36,790||Although the injuries will be less serious than those listed above, a serious foot injury will still lead to traumatic consequences. This may include, but is not limited to, arthritis, prolonged treatment and a high risk of fusion surgery.|
|Foot Injury||Moderate||£12,900 to £23,460||A moderate foot injury may be at risk of long-term osteoarthritis and/or surgery in the near future. Furthermore, the injured person will suffer displacement of the metatarsal which, as a result, will result in permanent deformity.|
|Wrist Injury||Loss Of Function||£44,690 to £56,180||An injury of this nature will lead to a complete loss of function in the wrist. For example, this could result from an arthrodesis.|
|Wrist Injury||Significant||£22,990 to £36,770||Although the injured person may be left with a permanent disability, some useful movement may still remain.|
|Wrist Injury||Less Severe||£11,820 to £22,990||The symptoms of this bracket will be less severe than those above it. However, permanent disability may still result, along with permanent pain and persisting stiffness.|
|Wrist Injury||Recovery Likely||Rarely exceed £9,620||A full recovery may take longer than typical fractures or soft tissues. However, it will be possible.|
|Elbow Injury||Less Severe||£14,690 to £30,050||The injured person will not be severely disabled, though the injury may cause impairment to function. However, surgery will not be necessary to facilitate recovery.|
|Elbow Injury||Moderate Or Minor||Up to £11,820||A large proportion of injuries will fall into this bracket as they tend to comprise of simple fractures. These may include tennis elbow syndrome and lacerations, to name but a few. These injuries will not necessarily cause permanent damage nor lead to any significant/permanent impairment.|
You should note that as every case is unique, your final settlement amount may differ from the amounts listed above. As such, we recommend that you discuss this with an adviser from our expert team in order to better your understanding of how and why these amounts may differ.
Here at Medical Negligence Assist, our panel of experts provide their services on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that you will only be held accountable for your solicitor’s fees if your personal injury claim for medical negligence compensation is successful. Before your settlement amount is awarded to you, a small percentage of the final monetary value will be deducted for your solicitor’s time and services. This is referred to as a ‘success fee’ and would be agreed sign you sign the Conditional Fee Agreement with a personal injury solicitor.
If, however, you find that your claim is unsuccessful, then you would not have to pay the fees to the solicitor. As such, No Win No Fee agreements are well-known for significantly reducing the financial risks associated with conducting claims for this reason alone. What’s more, there are no hidden costs or start-up fees either.
Your free, no-obligation consultation is just a phone call away. With lines open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, an adviser will always be waiting to take your call. If you would like to contact us another way, please consider the additional methods below:
- Online: You could start your claim online by filling out an enquiry form
- Live Chat: We also provide an online chat to help you connect with an adviser
- Telephone: If you would rather chat with an expert, call us on 0800 652 3087
Your case will be assessed to help you understand what your legal rights are and what next steps to take. In addition to this, you could also receive a centralised estimation of your potential damages specific to your case. This could be more accurate than a generic online personal injury claims calculator.
NHS Put Your Best Foot Forward
Guidance and advice by the NHS on how to deal with foot pain.
London Foot And Ankle Surgery
How to spot a stress fracture and how these injuries may develop.
NHS Bone Injuries And Stress Fractures
Information for patients who may be suffering from a bone or stress injury.
Surgery Medical Negligence Claims
How to claim compensation following negligence during surgery.
Care Home Negligence
If you or a loved one was made to suffer by care home staff, a personal injury claim could be made.
Compensation For Brain Injury Negligence
You could make a claim for brain injury negligence for yourself or on behalf of another person. Read this guide to find out more.
Article by HH