How can I Claim Compensation for Dental Negligence?

Anyone who has suffered severe toothache will tell you we can suffer as much from the negligence of a dentist than we can from a doctor!

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What obligation does the dentist owe to me?

As with any other professional such as a doctor, accountant or solicitor, your dentist owes you a duty of care.  If he is negligent in that duty and his negligence causes you to suffer in any way (physically, emotionally or financially) then you have a right to claim compensation.

How do I know if my dentist has been negligent?

The dentist must adhere to standards set by the British Dental Association.  If the injury is not your fault, and the level of dental care falls below those standards, then the dentist is negligent. If you can show you have suffered pain and loss, you can claim damages.

Dental injury is a technical area of law.  It differs from standard medical negligence because very particular things can go wrong.  If the dentist has not treated you properly, treated you badly, misdiagnosed a condition (or failed to spot one), or their care was inadequate then you may be able to make a claim for compensation.  One woman in 2008 was awarded £7,000 when, over a four year period, her dentist failed to treat her constant toothache.  In 2007 a 36 year old woman received £5,000 when her dentist failed to identify and treat advanced tooth decay, leading to two teeth being pulled out.

In 2004, one woman received £25,000 for the pain caused after negligent dental work and in 2003 a 56 year old man was awarded an out-of-court settlement of £25,000 for tooth decay and gum disease following negligent dental treatment.

The level of damages will be decided by a court on the basis of awards previously made by the courts.  However, you will need to make legal representations first in order to get the compensation to which you are entitled.

How do I make a claim for compensation?

First you need to ascertain whether the dentist was instructed privately or under the NHS.  If you paid for work privately you would be claiming against the dentist’s insurance company; if under the NHS you would be claiming against the NHS itself.

You then need to establish the extent of the damage caused, how much effect it has had on your life, and how much effect it is likely to have in the future.  For example, many tooth implants need to be replaced every 5 years which will mean you incur mounting medical fees for the rest of your life.

This is where Manners Pimblett comes in.  Our dental negligence experts will make the experience as stress-free as possible, as we arrange all the expert reports and analyses needed to make a claim.  Call us immediately for a free initial consultation to see if you can make a claim.

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