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If you've suffered due to a missed fracture, we can help

If you've suffered due to a missed fracture, we're here to help. 

Suffering from a fracture can be very painful. After an injury, the least you deserve is a high standard of medical treatment and care to get you back on your feet as soon as possible. But sometimes the damage you've experienced can be missed or misdiagnosed.

Most doctors and medical professionals provide an excellent service. Unfortunately, negligence and mistakes do sometimes happen, and this can lead to long-lasting injuries.

If your doctor missed a broken or damaged bone or you've been to hospital and they missed the fracture, then this can make things worse. In some cases, delayed or incorrect treatment for a fracture can even cause osteoarthritis or infections.

At the very least, a missed fracture is likely to have caused you unnecessary pain. But it may also have had an impact on your finances, especially if you've had to pay for treatment or medication to put it right.

We're here to help. You can get in touch with us for free, impartial advice on . We'll be able to answer your questions and let you know whether you can claim, with no rush or pressure to take the next steps.

What is a missed fracture?

A broken bone or fracture is not always easy to spot. Often, we'll hurt ourselves and assume things will naturally heal. But if you're in pain and there's swelling after a bump or fall, or you're adapting the way you move to avoid feeling sore, it's important that you go to a medical professional. 

If you go to your GP in the first instance, they are responsible for examining you and prescribing treatment, or referring you to a specialist for additional tests and assessments. Once you see a specialist, they have a duty to carry out the correct tests in a thorough way, and to then interpret the results. From there, they then must treat you. 

If any of these stages being performed by the medical professionals aren't carried out or things are not thoroughly checked, you could end up with a missed fracture or a misdiagnosis that sets you on the path to the wrong treatment. This means that medical negligence has potentially taken place. 

Perhaps you have a missed scaphoid or elbow fracture and you're struggling to use your arm and hand. Or maybe you're trying to walk on an undiagnosed ankle fracture. Whatever the injury, if it remains undetected it can leave you unable to get on with your day-to-day life. 

Causes of a missed fracture

There are many ways a GP or hospital could have missed a fracture. Here are some common examples:

  • Doctors failing to recognise your injury as a fracture
  • Misinterpretation of x-ray results
  • An x-ray being carried out incorrectly, for example, taking the x-ray from the wrong angle can make it difficult to notice a fracture
  • A fracture diagnosed as a strain or sprain instead

If your experience isn't mentioned here or doesn't seem familiar, don't worry. The team here at National Accident Helpline may still be able to help you seek compensation for misdiagnosis of a fracture.

What are the symptoms of a missed fracture?

The reason that your fracture has been missed could be because your symptoms didn't point towards this when you were examined. Or it could be that the area you've injured isn't easily readable. For example, the radiologist could have missed your scaphoid fracture and you were told you'd sprained your wrist. 

Whatever the reason for your misdiagnosis, there are certain symptoms that indicate you could have a fracture. These include: 

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • A cracking or grinding noise when you were injured
  • Limited mobility
  • Inability to operate the affected area
  • Bruising 
  • Tenderness

If any of these symptoms seem familiar and you've not been diagnosed with a fracture, it's worth seeking a second medical opinion. This is especially important if you've been in pain for a while and your condition isn't improving or is getting worse.

Can x-rays miss fractures?

It is possible for a fracture to be missed on an x-ray. The line can be so faint that it might not show up on a standard machine, or it could be that you have fractured an area of the body that's known for being difficult to read. 

For instance, a hairline fracture is often quite difficult to spot on an x-ray. And if a hairline fracture has occurred on a bone that doesn't easily show up on an x-ray, it's possible for the radiologist to not see where the damage is.  

For this reason, a tiny bone such as the scaphoid in the wrist is one of the most common missed fractures. This is because it's a bone that often doesn't show up on a scan. So, if you have experienced a missed scaphoid fracture, it could be down to the x-ray not picking it up.

What are the different types of fracture?

As we have over 200 bones in our body, there are a lot of different types of fracture that can occur. Here are some of them: 

Missed fractures in the leg and foot  

  • Toe
  • Knee
  • Metatarsal 
  • Fibula
  • Patella

Missed fractures in the arm and hand

  • Hand
  • Finger
  • Growth plate
  • Elbow
  • Radius 

Other types of fracture in the body

  • Pelvic
  • Rib
  • Clavicle
  • Neck
  • Hip

These are just some of the areas that are often missed by medical professionals. However, there are more that crop up. An undiagnosed fracture can be painful. If you think that you've been given a misdiagnosis of any of these or other types of fracture, then get in touch with us or call . We'll listen to your situation and advise whether you may be able to make a claim.

What are the main complications of a fracture?

While many fractures heal on their own, there are some that, if left untreated, can lead to complications. This can include damage to the nerves surrounding your fracture or it can lead to compartment syndrome, which is where blood flow is restricted due to a swelling in the tissue surrounding the fracture. Both issues can require surgery to repair the damage. 

Other problems that can come about after a missed fracture diagnosis include joint complaints or abnormal healing, leading to something known as ‘malunion', which is where the bone doesn't heal in the correct way. 

One of the biggest concerns is that an undiagnosed fracture can ultimately cause osteoarthritis. This can cause your joints to be damaged over time, causing pain. 

Age is a key factor in how a patient recovers too. Older people may have health conditions that can compromise the strength of their bones. So, if they fall, they are more likely to suffer a fracture, and this is known as a ‘fragility fracture'. According to NICE, almost a third of over-65s fall each year and there are around 500,000 fragility fractures as a result.

If you're older and you've had an undiagnosed fracture, it's important that you seek medical attention. Should this diagnosis have been missed, you may also have a case for medical negligence and in this instance, it's worth speaking to us about making a claim.

How common are missed fractures?

A report by the British Medical Journal revealed that at a busy A&E department, there were 953 errors made relating to diagnosis over the course of four years. Of this number, almost 80% (79.7%) were missed fractures.

Can I make a claim if a hospital missed my fracture?

We understand how difficult it can be to know whether you could claim for a missed fracture. The best way to find out is to get in touch with us, or arrange a call back.

Our advisors are legally trained. They'll listen to everything you say about your injury and can then let you know if you're able to claim.

Generally, we're able to help you make a claim if the negligent treatment caused your fracture or symptoms to get worse. All medical staff have a ‘duty of care' to treat you to the best of their ability, and without causing you further harm.

You can usually claim within three years of your injury, or within three years of realising your injury was made worse by the treatment you were given.

How much compensation could I receive?

We look at each case on an individual basis. This is because we want to make sure you can get the full amount of compensation you're entitled to.

Every case is different, so we can't tell you how much you can claim before starting. But you can try our compensation calculator to get an idea of how much you might receive.

We follow the Judicial College Guidelines, which set out the average damages that you could win. These are shown below. We will talk to you about your case and we may be able to help you claim compensation. If you win your claim, the amount you receive will be in line with the Judicial College Guidelines.

Type of injuryCompensation range
Head injury£2,070 - £379,100
Facial Injury£1,600 - £42,730
Moderate shoulder injury£7,410 - £11,980
Back injury causing permanent symptoms£11,730 - £85,470
Hip or pelvis injury£3,710 - £122,860
Fractured forearm£6,190 - £18,020
Wrist injury£3,310 - £56,180
Ankle injury£12,900 - £65,420

How can compensation help me?

If your fracture has been missed, you may have had to undergo more medical treatment to put it right. This can be expensive, especially if you paid for private treatment.

Other costs, such as travel to and from hospital, and accommodation for friends and family, can add to the financial pressure.

Our specialist solicitors will take all the costs and impacts of your injury into consideration when putting together your claim, and they'll work hard to help you seek the compensation you need to get things back to how they were.

For example, they'll consider:

  • Lost earnings from time taken off work
  • The effect your injury has had on your family
  • Any social activities or hobbies you missed out on because of your injury
  • Any medication costs, private medical treatment or adaptations to your home
  • Travel and accommodation costs

Should you win your claim, your compensation can also help to cover the future impacts of your injury.

Is there a time limit on making a claim for a missed fracture?

Generally speaking, the time limit for making missed fracture compensation claims is three years from the moment you realised that you may have been treated negligently. There are some exceptions - for example:

  • If you're making a claim for a child, there's no time limit up to their 18th birthday. After they turn 18 years old, they have three years as a legal adult until their 21st birthday to make the claim.
  • There's no upper time limit if you're claiming for someone who, for whatever reason, lacks the mental ability to make a missed fracture claim. As stated in the Mental Capacity Act 2005, a person must be assumed to have capacity unless it is established that they lack capacity. If you're unsure, please don't hesitate to give us a call and we can help.

If you're coming to the end of the three-year limit and want to begin a claim, get in touch with us as soon as possible.

Why choose National Accident Helpline to help make a claim?

We provide a friendly, professional service. You'll be expertly guided through every stage of the claims process and we'll help you take the steps to recovery after the GP or hospital missed your fracture. Contact us today and we'll do what we can to help you get the compensation you deserve.

How do I make a missed or undiagnosed fracture claim?

You might be able to pursue a claim. To seek compensation for a misdiagnosis of a fracture, get in touch with our specialist team on  or visit our contact us page,

We'll find out what happened to you before letting you know what the next steps are. We can help you begin the process of moving past what happened.