Compensation for the Misdiagnosis of a Fracture

Is it possible to claim compensation for the misdiagnosis of a fracture? I visited A&E after a fall and had an x-ray, but I was told that I had not broken any bones.

You are entitled to claim compensation for the misdiagnosis of a fracture provided that the failure to correctly diagnose your fracture resulted in your fracture deteriorating or a medical complication being suffered which would have been avoided had the correct diagnosis been made by a doctor when you attended the accident and emergency department of the hospital. If you have come to no harm as a result of receiving a delayed diagnosis of your bone fracture, or the delay until the correct diagnosis was made was minimal, there would be no injury to claim for.

Even if your fracture has deteriorated as a result of the misdiagnosis, it does not automatically give you the right to make fracture misdiagnosis claims, because a delayed diagnosis of a bone fracture does not always involve medical negligence. In order for compensation to be recovered it must be established – and proven ‘on the balance of probabilities’ – that the misdiagnosis constituted negligence under the circumstances, and you will need assistance with obtaining proof of negligence from a solicitor.

A solicitor will help to establish whether a failure to diagnose a bone fracture constituted medical negligence under the circumstances, and the third party – or third parties – responsible for the error which led to your fracture being misdiagnosed. It is not necessarily the doctor who was to blame for the misdiagnosis. An error could have been made by a nurse or the hospital administration staff resulting in your doctor being given another patient’s X-rays, or the radiologist may have made a mistake when taking the x-ray making the fracture impossible to diagnose.

A solicitor will therefore need to write to all parties involved in the diagnostic process to establish how the failure to diagnose a bone fracture occurred. Once responses have been received and your medical records and x-rays have been obtained, a solicitor will arrange for your case to be assessed by a medical expert to confirm if misdiagnosis of fracture compensation can be claimed.

A medical expert will determine whether the medical professional responsible for the misdiagnosis made an error of judgement or acted with incompetence, and failed to diagnose your fracture when the evidence was available to allow a correct diagnosis to be made.

If it can be established and proven on the balance of probabilities that a reasonably competent doctor or radiologist would have been able to interpret the x-rays correctly under the same circumstances and have made the correct diagnosis, it should be possible to claim misdiagnosis of fracture compensation. It must also be established medically that a correct diagnosis would have prevented your fracture from deteriorating in order for compensation for the misdiagnosis of a fracture to be recovered.

Once your case has been reviewed, you will be advised if fracture misdiagnosis claims can be made and, if so, your entitlement to compensation will be calculated. You will also be advised about the legal procedures which need to be completed in order to initiate the claim.



This is an Information site only – if you feel you have a potential claim, you should discuss your situation with a solicitor registered with the Law Society of Ireland.