Dental negligence

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Dental negligence compensation claims

 

The thought of going to the dentist can strike fear into even the toughest of people. In all likelihood you will probably spend more time in the waiting room than you will in the dentist’s chair, only to be told that everything is fine and off you go for another six months. It is nevertheless a daunting prospect.

People go to the dentist for various reasons, and the variety of procedures available is increasing all the time. Advances in dental technology, coupled with the increasing availability of financing plans to spread the cost, more people are electing to have dental surgery than they would have done in years gone by. Tooth whitening, dental implants and teeth straightening all now feature on the dentist’s menu.

Most dental treatments are successful and go entirely to plan, but sometimes things do go wrong. While this may not always be the fault of the dentist, what happens if it is? We are often approached by patients whose dental treatment has not gone as well as hoped and who want to know if they have a potential dental negligence claim.

To bring a successful dental negligence claim, you must be able to:

  1. Show that you were owed a duty of care by the dental practitioner treating you;
  2. Show that they have breached that duty in that they have acted or failed to act in a manner that is reasonable, compared to another dental professional in the same circumstances;
  3. Show that you have suffered loss or injury that could otherwise have been avoided; and
  4. That the injury or loss suffered was as a direct result of the dentist’s breach of duty.

If any one of these four elements are missing, then unfortunately the whole dental negligence claim fails.

The case must be based on a fundamental error in the dental treatment or consenting procedure, rather than the dentist’s ‘client care’, as there is no basis in law to bring a negligence claim for poor customer service.

If you want to bring a dental negligence claim, you have three years in which to issue court proceedings, either from the date of the treatment, or the date that you knew (or ought to have had reason to believe) there was potential for a negligence claim. After this time, the claim will be time barred and will not be considered by the Court unless there are compelling reasons to allow the claim.

Dental negligence claims can are complex because cases cannot be assessed without a full review by a dental expert. Often the whole history of each tooth needs to be considered, but dental records can often be sparse and difficult to interpret. In cases where the records are limited, a lot can be gleaned from radiology imaging (x-rays etc) so all is not lost if you request your dental records only to find there is very little information contained in them. At Slee Blackwell our specialist team are experienced in reviewing potential dental negligence claims and deciphering dental records.

If you would like to make a dental negligence claim then call us for a free case assessment and details of No Win, No Fee funding on 0808 139 1601. Alternatively simply send brief details of your case to us at [email protected]