Have you suffered because of a mistake made during dental treatment? If so, this guide on dental negligence claims could help you decide if you’re eligible to seek compensation for your injuries. Whether you’ve had the wrong tooth removed, suffered avoidable nerve damage or suffered from an infection because of poor hygiene standards, you might have the grounds to take action.
Dental negligence claims may be possible against dentists, hygienists, dental therapists and nurses. Importantly, you might be eligible to claim even if you elected to have private cosmetical dental work. As we progress through this article, we’ll review the different forms of dental negligence that might allow you to claim. We’ll also explain what compensation is used to cover.
We specialise in personal injury and medical negligence claims. Our team will provide free legal advice about claiming compensation for dental negligence during a no-obligation review of your case. Where your case appears to be viable, you might be introduced to one of our solicitors. They’ll discuss your claim in more detail and could decide to represent you on a No Win, No Fee basis.
If you’d like to learn more about claiming compensation for dental negligence, why not carry on reading? Alternatively, please call our team on 0800 652 1345 if you’re ready to take action straight away.
Can I claim compensation for dental negligence?
Before we look at what forms of dental negligence could allow you to seek compensation, let’s look at the eligibility requirements first. They are that:
- You were treated by a dental professional in a way that falls short of what could be reasonably expected of a competent practitioner. This is called a breach of duty or negligence.
- As a result of the negligence (and nothing else), you were injured or made ill. This is referred to as causation.
It’s important that you can both criteria are met before claiming for dental negligence. For example, if you were injured but the dentist did everything correctly i.e. they were not negligent, a claim would not be possible.
What might constitute dental negligence?
Some of the reasons you might deem your dentist to have been negligent include:
- Alternatives to surgery were not considered before you were treated.
- Your condition was diagnosed incorrectly meaning you weren’t treated or the wrong treatment was carried out.
- The risks associated with your dental treatment weren’t disclosed before treatment.
- Incorrect practices or dental procedures were used while you were being treated.
- If you suffered because you weren’t referred for tests despite the signs of oral cancer or similar conditions.
We can help you start a dental negligence claim against the NHS or private dental practices. We believe it’s important to take on legal representation for such cases as a specialist solicitor will understand the, sometimes complex, evidence that will be needed to support your claim.
If you’d like us to review your case for free, please call our advisors today.
What could I claim dental negligence compensation for?
When you sue a dental practice for compensation, you won’t just ask them for a lump sum of money to cover your grievance. No insurer would pay on such a basis. That’s because your claim must be based on how you’ve suffered because of dental negligence. As such, if your case is successful, compensation will be based on general and special damages. In summary, you may be compensated for:
- Any pain or suffering caused by your injuries.
- Loss of amenity.
- Psychological harm resulting from your treatment. This may include distress, panic attacks or anxiety.
- Earnings you’ve lost because you couldn’t work due to your injuries.
- Care costs.
- Travel costs.
- The impact on your social life (loss of amenity).
- The cost of private medical care if it could help you to recover more quickly.
To ascertain what compensation for dental negligence could be claimed in your case, please contact our team for your free claim assessment.
How does my solicitor know how dental negligence has affected me?
It’s important to understand that solicitors are not dental or medical experts. As such, the dental negligence claims process may require our claimants to be examined by a medical specialist. There’s nothing to worry about here – your medical review will be quite a straightforward process.
During your meeting (which can usually be arranged locally), you’ll be asked questions by the specialist about the impact of your injuries. They’ll also refer to your dental records and examine your teeth.
Once the meeting has concluded, a report will be supplied to all parties involved in the claim. This will set out how you’ve suffered and if your injuries will continue to affect you in the future.
How do you prove dental negligence?
To confirm whether dental negligence has occurred, your solicitor might ask a suitably-qualified specialist to review the evidence. They may use the Bolam test as part of their review. This is where the defendant’s work will be checked by a peer to see if they’d have acted in the same way given the same circumstances.
If they find that the dentist was not negligent, you wouldn’t be able to claim despite any suffering. However, if they find that the dentist acted inappropriately, you could have grounds to take your dental negligence claim forward.
Examples of negligent dental treatment
Let’s now take a look at a few scenarios that could result in dental negligence claims. They include:
- Missed/delayed dental diagnosis. Where a problem is missed or diagnosed as something completely different and leads to additional suffering.
- Nerve damage. Some dental procedures are known to carry a risk of nerve damage. Speech problems or difficulty swallowing or chewing caused by avoidable nerve damage could entitle you to claim.
- Tooth removal. You could be compensated if the wrong tooth was extracted by your dentist. Damage to otherwise healthy teeth or infections resulting caused from poor cleaning after extraction could also entitle you to damages.
- Poor fillings. Dental negligence claims involving fillings are also possible. You may need to claim if a cavity wasn’t filled properly and causes problems. An infection caused by inadequate hygiene could also mean you’ll need to claim.
- Dental implants. Avoidable damage to your jawbone could mean you’ll claim if it causes pain when eating. You may also wish to claim if implants were used unnecessarily.
- Root canal procedures. You may decide to claim if a root canal procedure was carried out unnecessarily. Again, infection due to a lack of cleaning might lead to claim too.
- Avoidable pain. Before and during a dental procedure, pain should be controlled by an anaesthetic. If you suffered excessive pain during treatment because of an error, you might be entitled to claim.
- Allergic reactions. Your dentist should check your medical records before administering any drugs. Therefore, if they administer anything that you’re known to be allergic to, you may have grounds to claim.
Remember, if your injuries or illness were caused by negligent treatment during elective cosmetic treatment you could be compensated. Even if you signed a waiver or consent form, if you suffered avoidable injuries because of dental negligence, we could support your claim.
Providing proof for dental negligence compensation claims
Any proof that can be obtained could help you to win your dental negligence compensation claim. What’s available will differ from case to case but you could use:
- Your dental records. These could help to show the condition before and after your dental treatment. Furthermore, dental records could help to show the extent of your injuries and any remedial treatment that was needed.
- Photographic proof. It’s always a good idea to take pictures of your visible injuries. To show how long you suffered, you could continue taking pictures at regular intervals throughout your recovery. You could also use photographs taken before the treatment in some cases.
- Letters or emails. If you were sent correspondence following a consultation or because you complained about your treatment, you should keep a copy in a safe place.
- Witness details. Your solicitor might also ask friends or family for a statement. This might include information about how you were affected or what was said during your consultation if somebody else was present at the time.
- Financial information. In some cases, you may be able to recover any costs or expenses incurred because of your injuries. Therefore, we’d recommend keeping hold of any relevant bank statements or receipts.
Something else that might help you to explain how you’ve suffered is a diary of events following your dental treatment. This could include information about when you had to have extra dental treatment, couldn’t work or missed out on social events due to your injuries.
We can review evidence for dental negligence claims for free so please call today and let us look over what you’ve collected so far.
Dental negligence claims Frequently Asked Questions
To help you further, we’ve supplied answers to FAQs relating to dental negligence claims below.
How long do dental negligence claims take?
There isn’t any set time that it will take for a dental negligence claim to be processed. Some can be finalised in around a matter of months where liability for your injuries is accepted quickly. Where extra investigation into your prognosis is required or liability is contested, your claim could take a year or more.
Do I sue the dentist or the dental surgery for negligence?
While it may be possible to sue the dentist who treated you, it’s more usual to take action against the company that runs the dental surgery. Your claim could be made against a private dental practice or the NHS service that commissioned your treatment.
How much compensation will I be paid for dental negligence?
Each dental negligence claim is unique. If your claim is successful, the amount you’ll be awarded as compensation will be based on several factors. These include how much pain you had to endure, whether the injury is permanent and whether there is any cosmetic damage.
Are there time limits for dental negligence claims?
Yes, there are. Injuries caused by dental negligence must be claimed for during a 3-year limitation period. Usually, this will begin on the date you were treated. However, you could also claim from your ‘date of knowledge’ if your injuries weren’t obvious immediately.
If you have any more questions about claiming dental negligence compensation, please get in touch.
No Win, No Fee claims
As we’ve shown, a lot of work goes into claiming compensation for dental negligence. You might therefore worry about how much you’ll pay if you hire a solicitor to help you. However, you needn’t worry about that if you work with one of our dental negligence solicitors because:
- They offer a No Win, No Fee service where you don’t pay for their work in advance.
- The amount they can charge as a success fee is legally capped.
If your case is taken on, and it’s won, the maximum percentage that can be deducted from your settlement is 25%. If the claim doesn’t work out, you won’t pay this fee. So that everything is formal, your success fee percentage will be detailed in your contract or Conditional Fee Agreement.
To see if you could claim for dental negligence on a No Win, No Fee basis, why not call today?
Starting a dental negligence compensation claim
Are you ready to take action because you’ve suffered from dental negligence? If so, we’re ready to help.
If you call our advisors on 0800 652 1345 today, your claim will be assessed by a specialist for free. If there are grounds to continue, they could refer you to one of our solicitors. If there aren’t, they’ll be honest and let you know so that you can decide what to do next.
If your case is taken on, your solicitor will do all they can to try and achieve the highest compensation payment for you. They’ll fight your corner in negotiations, try to counter any objections and keep you updated as the claim progresses.
Thanks for visiting today to read about dental negligence claims, and if you do have further questions, please feel free to ask them in our live chat service.