How To Make A Medical Negligence Claim For A Missed metacarpal Fracture
When you are involved in an accident and decide that you need medical treatment, you have to trust that a diagnosis from a doctor is correct. In many cases, that’s the case. However, in some instances, mistakes do happen, and they could cause you to suffer. If that happens, you might be entitled to claim compensation.
This guide looks at missed metacarpal fracture compensation claims. The metacarpal bones are the long bones in the hand that join your fingers to your wrist. We’ll review why the symptoms of a metacarpal fracture might be missed, how you could suffer it if is, and how much compensation you could be entitled to claim through medical negligence.
Medical Negligence Assist specialise in helping people claim for any form of suffering caused by clinical negligence. We begin by offering free legal advice before offering a no obligation assessment of your claim. Finally, if the claim has a good chance of succeeding, we could introduce you to one of our panel of solicitors who’ll work on a No Win No Fee basis.
If you’d like to tell us about your claim right away, please call us on 0800 652 3087. If you’d rather find out whether you could claim compensation for the misdiagnosis of a fracture, please continue reading.
Choose A Section
- A Guide To Missed Metacarpal Fracture Compensation Claims
- What Are Missed Fractures?
- Causes Of Fractures Being Misdiagnosed
- Causes Of Fractured Metacarpal Bones
- Signs And Symptoms Of Metacarpal Fracture
- How Fractures May Be Treated Or Diagnosed
- When Could You Make A Misdiagnosis Claim?
- Negligent Misdiagnosis Of A Metacarpal Fracture By A GP
- Negligent Misdiagnosis Of A Metacarpal Fracture At A Hospital
- NHS Treatment – Your Rights
- Limitation Periods In Which To Claim For Medical Negligence
- Medical Negligence Claims Calculator – Missed Metacarpal Fractures
- No Win No Fee Missed Metacarpal Fracture Claims
- Begin Your Fracture Misdiagnosis Claim
- Reference Materials
A Guide To Missed Metacarpal Fracture Compensation Claims
When a bone is fractured, correct healing is crucial because if it doesn’t, it could result in future pain, discomfort or a permanent disability. That’s why it’s vital that a medical professional spots a fracture so the correct treatment is administered as soon as possible. If you’ve suffered as a result of a missed metacarpal fracture, you could be entitled to seek compensation from the medical professional who failed to diagnose your condition correctly.
This guide looks at metacarpal fracture symptoms, what treatment should be carried out, and who could be responsible for a misdiagnosis. We then look at how No Win No Fee claims work and how much compensation you could be entitled to receive in a successful medical negligence claim against a responsible party.
We answer the following questions:
- What causes a metacarpal fracture?
- How long will a broken metacarpal take to heal?
- Can I use my hand while the fracture is healing?
When you’ve read this guide, should you have any questions that haven’t been answered, please feel free to call our team. While we’re not medical experts, we are specialists in handling medical negligence claims. We can help you decide whether you have a valid claim, or whether you require further evidence to pursue a negligence case against a medical professional.
What Are Missed Fractures?
Missed fractures occur when a GP, hospital doctor or other medical professional fails to spot the symptoms of a fracture and/or treat it as something else entirely. They might think the injury is just a bruise or a sprain for instance. The problem is that a different course of action would be prescribed and ultimately this could make your metacarpal fracture a lot worse than it should have been had the injury been diagnosed and treated correctly.
There are 4 different types of fracture to the metacarpal. These are:
- Head fractures
- Neck fractures
- Shaft fractures
- Base fractures
Causes Of Fractures Being Misdiagnosed
Any medical professional who assess your injury, whether a GP, nurse or hospital doctor, is trained to identify the different symptoms associated with many different injuries. It’s their job to diagnose the correct injury and treat it accordingly. In most cases, that’s what happens, and the patient goes on to make a recovery. However, some fractured metacarpal symptoms get missed and this could lead additional suffering.
Here are some reasons why a fracture might be missed:
- When a GP fails to refer to the hospital as they suspect it to be a different injury
- If an X-ray isn’t clear or where something obstructs the fracture on the X-ray
- Where the A&E department is so busy that the medical assessment is rushed, and an X-ray isn’t performed
- Or, if a doctor fails to ask a colleague for their opinion when they’re unsure whether a metacarpal fracture is present or not
In some cases, a simple fracture could heal itself and the misdiagnosis won’t really matter. However, in other cases where the fractured parts of the bone do not align properly, a misdiagnosis could lead to additional short-term pain as well as longer term disabilities such as reduced grip. It could also increase the likelihood of osteoarthritis in later life.
Causes Of Fractured Metacarpal Bones
There are a number of different accidents which could cause a metacarpal fracture to occur, these include:
- Slips, trips and falls where the victim places their hand out in front of them to break the fall
- When something falls from height and crushes the hand
- Accidents where something heavy rolls over the hand and crushes the fingers
- Road traffic accidents where the hand is used instinctively to prevent other injuries
There are many different ways in which a metacarpal could end up being fractured. In some cases, you could sue the person responsible for the accident if they caused it through negligence. However, in this guide we’re concentrating on claiming when a medical professional fails to diagnose the fracture which causes you to suffer.
Signs And Symptoms Of Metacarpal Fracture
There are a number of common symptoms of hand and finger fractures. These include:
- Swelling or bruising in the affected area
- When the digit looks deformed (pointing in the wrong direction)
- Pain, soreness or tenderness
- A shortened finger
- Being unable to move the finger
- Fingers crossing over each other when trying to make a fist
How Fractures May Be Treated Or Diagnosed
When you explain to your doctor that you are suffering pain in your fingers, they should assess you physically and look for symptoms listed in the previous section. They’ll also ask you what happened in the accident that caused the injury to be sustained.
If they suspect a fracture, the next course of action is to send you to A&E for an X-ray. This should highlight where the fracture is and whether surgery is required or not.
In most cases, where there is a clean break and the bones can be easily re-aligned, a splint can be used to hold the fingers in place while the bone heals. However, in some cases where there’s an open fracture, or where the bones can’t be realigned, surgery may be required.
Typically, a metacarpal fracture will take around 4-6 weeks to fully heal. The pain can be managed by taking painkillers. You could be able to use an affected if the pain permits. The NHS leaflet provided at the end of this guide suggests bending the fingers will stop them from becoming stiff. While your injury is healing, the doctor or hospital that treated you, may recommend that you perform a few exercises to aid speed up your recovery time.
When Could You Make A Misdiagnosis Claim?
We always advise that you use a specialist solicitor when making a medical negligence claim as they can be tricky to prove. When making a missed metacarpal compensation claim, you’ll need to prove:
- That the medical professional who treated you acted in a way which was below what could be reasonably be expected of a competent medical practitioner in the same situation. This act is known as a breach of duty.
- You suffered pain, new injuries or a disability as a direct result
- That the pain and suffering was caused as a direct result of the breach of duty. The legal term for this is causation.
When making your claim, your solicitor will need to show all 3 aspects listed above. That means, if a mistake was made and your fracture went unnoticed, but you didn’t suffer any additional pain as a result, then a claim for compensation may not be possible.
However, if your injury was misdiagnosed and caused you to suffer more pain until it was diagnosed properly, you could be entitled to ask for compensation by filing a negligence claim against the party responsible.
Negligent Misdiagnosis Of A Metacarpal Fracture By A GP
The service provided by NHS GPs is extremely good, especially when you consider the number of patients they see every day. In many cases, a medical professional would only have 10-minutes to carry out examinations. In that time, they need to understand the symptoms, diagnose the problem and plan a treatment.
In many cases, that’s exactly how things turn out, and the patient is treated successfully. However, mistakes do happen from time to time. The main reason why a GP could be sued is because they misread the symptoms and failed to refer you to hospital for an X-ray when it was necessary to do so.
If that caused you to suffer more than you would have if the fracture had been spotted at the first opportunity, you may be able to sue the GP for compensation. If you believe that to be the case, please call an adviser today for a free, no obligation assessment of your negligence claim against a medical professional.
Negligent Misdiagnosis Of A Metacarpal Fracture At A Hospital
There are two ways in which you could end up in hospital with a finger injury, which are when referred by your GP, or because you’ve attended A&E following an accident. No matter where you are treated for an injury, you can reasonably expect to be diagnosed and treated correctly.
Here are some reasons why a hospital could fail to diagnose your fracture:
- Where the doctor failed to diagnose the problem correctly, so no X-ray was ordered
- If the metacarpal fracture wasn’t seen on the X-ray because it was obstructed by something else
- When the A&E department was overrun which meant your doctor didn’t have enough time to assess your injuries correctly
- If a junior doctor failed to ask for the support of colleagues if they were unsure of the X-ray results
Should any of the causes listed here have caused you to suffer additional pain or any long-term suffering, you may be entitled to claim against the hospital. Our specialist advisers can review your case and offer advice on your chances of winning negligence claim against the responsible party.
NHS Treatment – Your Rights
Did you know that as an NHS patient, you have a number of rights under the NHS constitution for England? In case you didn’t here is a sample of things you are entitled to, and some that you’re not:
- You have the right to register with your local GP so long as you live within the catchment area for their surgery
- There is also a right to receive treatment when required. However, you don’t have the right to be treated exclusively by your GP, you could be treated by any doctor within the practice
- When your GP is off duty, they should ne provisions for treating you. This could be by a locum, another GP or a telephone-based service
- There is no right to a second opinion. It can be arranged by a GP if they think there’s a valid reason, but a doctor is not obliged to do so
- Home visits are not mandatory either. Your GP can make one if they believe your medical condition warrants it
- Treatment from a GP is free for NHS patients living in the UK
- If you want to be treated in a hospital, it must be arranged through your GP (except for services like A&E)
- When treatment is required, you have the right to choose a consultant to perform it, but your GP must agree that they are clinically suitable to do so
- There are maximum waiting list times for hospital treatment. Should your wait exceed those, you have the right to request a list of alternative treatment providers from the local clinical commissioning group
Limitation Periods In Which To Claim For Medical Negligence
As with any type of personal injury claim, a missed metacarpal fracture compensation claim has to be made within a certain time frame. In this case, the time limit is 3-years from the date you realised the fractured metacarpal had been missed. This would probably be at a second or third visit to A&E or your GP where the injury was finally spotted correctly.
For cases involving children, a parent can claim on their behalf at any point before they turn 18. If that doesn’t happen, when the child becomes 18, they will have 3-years to make their own claim which means they have up till their 21st birthday to seek negligence compensation from the responsible party.
Medical Negligence Claims Calculator – Missed Metacarpal Fractures
When you decide to make a claim for a fractured metacarpal, you’ll probably want to know how much compensation you would be entitled to. In reality, it’s not possible to answer that question because every claim is unique. What we can do is use the personal injury claims compensation table below to demonstrate how much can be paid for one part of the claim. The compensation that covers the pain and suffering caused by your injuries is called ‘general damages’. The table below provides some examples:
|Type of Injury
|£58,100 to £85,170
|Where the index and middle (or ring) fingers have to amputated and cause weakness and mean very little use is possible.
|Up to £34,480
|Where a severe fracture could lead to partial amputation of fingers causeing reduced fucntion, disturbed sensation, deformity and impaired grip.
|£11,420 to £17,590
|At the top end of this bracket the index finger will be lost completely. At the lower end injuries will include deformity of the index finger and reduced dexterity.
|£8,550 to £11,480
|Where the index finger is fractured, recovered quickly but it's still painful after heavy use and osteoathritis is likely in the future.
|£13,970 to £15,330
|This bracket covers fractures and tendon injuries of the ring or middle fingers.
|In the region of £20,480
|Where the little finger requires amputation.
Each injury is assessed and compensated based on its severity. Therefore, a personal injury solicitor will need to ensure they provide enough medical evidence to try and ensure you receive the correct amount of compensation.
As well as general damages, your compensation claim can include a payment to cover ‘special damages’. This compensation that’s used to ensure you’re not worse off financially after your misdiagnosed fracture. Special damages can include:
- Travelling expenses – such as fuel and parking costs linked to medical appointments
- Medication costs – like fees for prescriptions or over the counter medicines
- Care costs – to cover the cost or time of a carer who supports your recovery
- Lost earnings – covers any lost income caused by your injuries (short and long-term)
When making claims for special damages, you’ll need to justify why an expense was linked to your injuries. You’ll also need to use receipts, wage slips and bank statements to prove how much was spent.
No Win No Fee Missed Metacarpal Fracture Claims
One of the biggest fears when making a missed metacarpal fracture compensation claim is the cost of hiring a medical negligence solicitor. Our panel of solicitors offer a No Win No Fee service for any claim they take on. This means you can make a claim knowing there is no financial risk involved.
To begin, the solicitor will assess your claim to ensure there’s a chance of it being won. If that’s the case, you’ll be given a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) to read and sign. A CFA is a legal contract between you and your solicitor. It makes it clear that you only have to pay solicitor’s fees if you receive medical negligence compensation.
Furthermore, the CFA provides information about the success fee that needs to be paid when your case is won. Rather than you having to send money to cover the success fee, your solicitor will deduct it from your compensation before it’s sent to you.
Begin Your Fracture Misdiagnosis Claim
You’ve now come to the end of our guide about claiming for a misdiagnosed metacarpal fracture. If you’d now like to make a medical negligence claim because of the suffering caused, why not contact Medical Negligence Assist today? Here’s how to do so:
- Call our fully trained advisors on 0800 652 3087
- Use our online claims form to request a call back by a specialist.
- Connect to an adviser via the live chat service at any time, night or day.
When you do get in touch, we’ll begin by looking at what’s happened and who’s to blame. We’ll offer free advice about your options and could introduce you to a person injury lawyer from our panel if the claim has a chance of being won. If they agree to work with you, then they’ll do so on a No Win No Fee basis.
Thanks for visiting our site and reading about missed metacarpal fracture compensation claims. In case you require any further information, we’ve linked to some more of our guides and some additional resources too.
Misdiagnosis Claims – Information about when you could make a medical negligence claim because of misdiagnosis.
Hospital Negligence – This guide looks at when a medical negligence lawyer could help you claim against a hospital.
NHS Negligence Claims – A guide on making personal injury claims for suffering caused by medical malpractice by the NHS.
Metacarpal Fracture – Information about the diagnosis and treatment of a broken metacarpal bone.
Broken Bone First Aid – This guide, from the St John Ambulance, could be useful if you need to provide metacarpal fracture first aid.
The General Medical Council – The GMC aim to protect patient safety by working with doctors to improve the standard of care.
Article by BH