Is it Possible to Claim Compensation for the Misdiagnosis of a Broken Bone?
If you have had a broken bone misdiagnosed by a doctor in a health care clinic or in the A&E department of a hospital, you may be entitled to claim compensation for the misdiagnosis of a broken bone. It is not always worthwhile making broken bone misdiagnosis claims for mistakes made by medical professionals, and this article details some of the scenarios which should warrant a claim for the misdiagnosis of a broken bone being made.
Specific scenarios are covered to highlight various aspects of the claim process and actions which should be taken to ensure that your right to claim broken bone misdiagnosis compensation is preserved. Since no two claims for a failed broken bone diagnosis will be exactly alike, we recommend seeking legal advice promptly from a medical negligence solicitor to find out if the circumstances of your particular situation entitle you to make a claim for the failure to diagnose a broken bone.
Criteria Which Must be Satisfied in Order for Broken Bone Misdiagnosis Claims to be Made
A missed diagnosis may appear to involve a clear case of medical negligence, but this is not necessarily the case; and, even when negligence is established, broken bone misdiagnosis claims cannot always be made. Diagnosing a broken bone may appear to be a fairly straightforward procedure for a doctor with the arsenal of diagnostic tests available today, although it is not always easy to identify fractures and broken bones from x-rays and other diagnostic tests are rarely arranged.
In order to claim for the misdiagnosis of a broken bone, it must be established – and ‘proven on the balance of probabilities’ – that a doctor or other medical professional failed to identify a broken bone due to incompetence, a poor professional performance or inexperience.
If negligence can be established, it should be possible to claim compensation for the misdiagnosis of a broken bone although whether it will be worthwhile doing so will depend on the consequences of the failure to diagnose a broken bone.
If the medical error was identified quickly, if you have suffered no ill health or medical complications as a result of the failed diagnosis or if the injury has not significantly deteriorated, it is unlikely to be worth your while to claim broken bone misdiagnosis compensation. A failed broken bone diagnosis must have caused harm in some way in order for a personal injury claim to be made.
The Misdiagnosis of a Broken Ankle Bone Due to an Emergency Room Mistake
A missed broken bone diagnosis most commonly occurs in busy A&E departments; where doctors are placed under severe time pressure and sometimes fail to examine patients and x-rays thoroughly. Junior doctors may not have the experience to identify the signs of tiny fractures in the ankle bones and may mistakenly diagnose a severe sprain or strain. If a mistake is made in an emergency room that results in a patient suffering unnecessarily, and this could have been prevented had greater care been taken, it should be possible for claims for the misdiagnosis of a broken ankle bone to be made against the hospital.
It is essential that a case is thoroughly investigated by a medical negligence solicitor in order to confirm the right to claim for the misdiagnosis of a broken ankle bone, and it is also important that the amount of broken bone misdiagnosis compensation that should be recoverable is accurately calculated. This can affect the decision to make a compensation claim for a failure to diagnose a broken bone.
The negligent third parties responsible for the missed diagnosis must be identified before it is possible to claim compensation for the misdiagnosis of a broken bone. Blame for a misdiagnosed bone fracture may not lie with a doctor. If there were procedural errors in the hospital or if mistakes were made by a radiographer when taking x-rays, this could have prevented a doctor from correctly identifying a broken ankle bone.
Claiming for the Misdiagnosis of a Broken Rib Due to an Error by a Radiographer
A broken rib misdiagnosis is often attributed to poor professional performance of a hospital doctor, although it may be necessary to claim compensation for the misdiagnosis of a broken rib for a mistake made by a radiographer. When a patient is sent to the radiography department for an x-ray to assist with the diagnosis of an injury, mistakes can be made that make the correct diagnosis difficult for a doctor to make.
A claim for the misdiagnosis of a broken bone may need to be made for an error made when taking an x-ray. If a patient is positioned incorrectly when the x-ray is taken, a healthy rib or the sternum may hide a broken rib. If a radiographer fails to label x-rays correctly, such as when two patients with similar injuries attend in quick succession, the radiographer will be to blame for the misdiagnosis.
A hospital should have a procedure in place to ensure that, should there be a failure to diagnose a broken bone by a doctor, the mistake is quickly identified to prevent a patient suffering any ill health. Radiographers should check patient x-rays within a couple of days to confirm a diagnosis, although time pressures may see this procedure missed or conducted without sufficient care.
It is therefore essential that broken bone misdiagnosis claims are fully investigated by both the HSE and an independent solicitor to ensure that the claim for broken bone misdiagnosis compensation is made against the correct third party.
Compensation for a Misdiagnosis of a Broken Wrist by a General Practitioner
It is possible to make broken bone misdiagnosis claims against a general practitioner for a failure to diagnose a broken bone in the wrist, although this is less commonly seen than errors made in A&E departments.
When a patient visits a general practitioner complaining about wrist pain, a doctor should perform a thorough examination and take a case history. Since doctor’s surgeries rarely have x-ray equipment, a doctor would need to send the patient to hospital to confirm a broken wrist bone, and a failure to do so could certainly be grounds to claim broken bone misdiagnosis compensation.
If the doctor believes that there has only been an injury to soft tissues, or that the trauma to the wrist has not caused a break in a bone, a referral to the hospital may not be deemed necessary. A claim for the misdiagnosis of a broken wrist by a GP is usually made on the grounds of incompetence or poor professional performance for a failure to refer the patient to hospital to confirm a diagnosis.
In order to claim compensation for the misdiagnosis of a broken wrist against a GP it must be established that, based on the symptoms and information available, a serious error of judgement occurred which a reasonably attentive and competent doctor would not have made.
The Injuries Board and Compensation for the Misdiagnosis of a Broken Leg
If you attempt to claim compensation for the misdiagnosis of a broken bone through the Injuries Board, the application for assessment will be rejected and your case will have been delayed unnecessarily. It is beyond the remit of the Injuries Board to assess a claim for the misdiagnosis of a broken bone in the leg, as the Injuries Board will not assess any claim involving negligence of a medical professional.
If you want to establish whether it is possible to make broken bone misdiagnosis claims for a failed diagnosis of a broken leg bone, or if you require an independent assessment of how much compensation for the misdiagnosis of a broken leg can be recovered, you should speak with a specialist medical negligence solicitor. After being informed of the circumstances under which a failure to diagnose a broken bone occurred, a solicitor should be able to confirm whether a claim for a missed diagnosis of a broken leg is worthwhile pursuing.
The Importance of an Independent Review of a Misdiagnosis of a Broken Shoulder
The only way to confirm that the failure to diagnose a broken bone in the shoulder involved medical negligence is to obtain the professional opinion of an expert doctor or radiographer. An experienced medical negligence solicitor should be able to inform you if it is possible to claim compensation for the misdiagnosis of a broken shoulder after the facts of the case have been established, but a case must always go before a medical expert to be reviewed.
Before the right to claim for the misdiagnosis of a broken bone can be fully confirmed, a test must be performed to establish whether a serious error of judgement has occurred. To claim broken bone misdiagnosis compensation, a medical expert will attempt to establish whether a competent and reasonably attentive doctor would have been able to make the correct diagnosis, or would have at least arranged for the necessary diagnostic tests to be conducted to ensure the broken shoulder was correctly identified.
If it is established ‘on the balance of probabilities’ that a competent doctor would not have been able to make a correct diagnosis under the same set of circumstances, it will not be possible to make compensation claims for the misdiagnosis of a broken shoulder.
How Much Compensation can be Claimed for the Misdiagnosis of a Broken Hip?
The calculation of damages in broken hip misdiagnosis claims is less straightforward than in most personal injury claims. Broken bone misdiagnosis compensation cannot be recovered for the original hip injury, only for the degree to which a broken hip has been allowed to deteriorate.
Before it is possible to claim compensation for the misdiagnosis of a broken hip, a solicitor must establish – with assistance from a medical expert – the pain, suffering and loss of amenity which would have been suffered had a correct diagnosis of the broken hip bone been made, and what level of injury can be attributed to the medical error.
When a claim for the misdiagnosis of a broken bone needs to be made for health complications due to the failure to diagnose a broken bone in the hip, it must be proven – again ‘on the balance of probabilities’ – that health problems would have been avoided or their severity reduced if the broken hip been diagnosed more promptly.
It is not possible to estimate compensation amounts for a misdiagnosed hip fracture without detailed medical information on the degree of pain and suffering caused, and a plaintiff´s loss of amenity and the financial implications of a serious hip fracture are always case specific.
How Children Can Make Claims for the Misdiagnosis of a Broken Foot Bone
An adult can claim compensation for the misdiagnosis of a broken bone in the foot, although a child is not allowed to take legal action until the age of consent has been reached. Delaying a claim for the misdiagnosis of a broken bone in the foot offers some advantages, as it gives time for the full extent of the injury to become known. A growing child may be left with a deformity as a result of a serious deterioration in a broken foot bone, which may be difficult to establish at the time that a misdiagnosis of the break becomes known.
The disadvantage of delaying broken bone misdiagnosis claims until adulthood is that the delay in claiming compensation may weaken the case against a doctor or hospital. Because of this, in most cases the recommended course of action is for an adult to claim broken foot bone misdiagnosis compensation on behalf of the child by acting as a next friend. If a claim is made before the extent of the damage caused is apparent, a solicitor would seek expert medical opinion about the prognosis for a full recovery and an increased risk of future health problems due to the failure to diagnose a broken bone would be factored into the compensation amount that is claimed.
Timescale for Claiming for the Misdiagnosis of a Broken Arm Bone
Although the Statute of Limitations allows a plaintiff two years in order to claim compensation for the misdiagnosis of a broken bone in the arm, it is important that the claim process is commenced as quickly as possible. The HSE must investigate the case against a hospital or doctor to establish why a broken arm was not diagnosed, and a letter of complaint should be sent to the HSE within 12 months or an investigation into the error may not be conducted.
All parties potentially involved in the failure to diagnose a broken arm bone must be contacted by a solicitor for an explanation of how the misdiagnosis was made, and then the case must then be independently reviewed before it can go forward. A claim for the misdiagnosis of a broken bone can take therefore take months to prepare, and it is important that the investigation of the case is not rushed. If it is not possible to initiate a claim within the correct time frame, the case will be time barred and it will not be possible to recover broken bone misdiagnosis compensation.
It is therefore important that broken bone misdiagnosis claims are discussed with a solicitor promptly so that they can be made in plenty of time to ensure that they can be fully investigated and the strongest possible case can be prepared.
Speak with a Medical Negligence Solicitor About Your Claim for the Misdiagnosis of a Broken Bone
It is not always possible to claim compensation for the misdiagnosis of a broken bone, even if medical negligence can be established and proven. Because of this it is vital that legal advice is sought to determine whether legal action cab be taken to recover compensation for a failure to diagnose a broken bone.
You should speak with a specialist medical negligence solicitor as soon as possible to explain how you have suffered due to the missed diagnosis and how long it took for the correct diagnosis to be made. A solicitor will tell you if it is probable that a claim for the misdiagnosis of a broken bone can be made; although a full investigation of the case will need to be conducted before this can be confirmed.
A solicitor should also be able to ascertain quite quickly if it is likely to be worth your while to arrange an investigation into whether broken bone misdiagnosis claims can be made based on the pain and suffering experienced due to the missed diagnosis.
If you appear to have a valid claim, a solicitor will advise you of how best to proceed with the case to maximise the probability of success and of recovering your full entitlement to broken bone misdiagnosis compensation.