In this post, we explore dental negligence claims.
Have you been harmed by dental negligence? If so, you may be entitled to claim compensation. When you go to see a dentist for a check-up or other forms of treatment, they owe you a duty of care as their patient. As part of their duty of care, dentists should take all reasonable steps to ensure their patients receive the accepted standard of care.
If a dentist fails to meet the minimum standard of care and causes you unnecessary suffering, this can be considered negligence. You could have a valid claim against a dentist if you can prove that they harmed you by breaching their duty of care.
In this post, we will explain what dental negligence is. We’ll also explain the steps you could take to successfully make a claim for dental negligence.
Select a Section
1. What Are Dental Negligence Claims?
2. Can You Claim For Dental Negligence?
3. Dental Negligence Examples
4. Dental Negligence Payouts In The UK
5. Am I Eligible To Make A No Win No Fee Clinical Negligence Claim?
6. Seek Compensation For Dental Negligence Today
7. More Advice On Medical Negligence Claims
8. Dental Negligence Compensation Claims FAQ
Dental negligence refers to any incident where a dental injury is caused or aggravated by a dental health professional’s substandard care. This form of negligence can potentially cause a lot of avoidable pain, financial loss, and a reduction in quality of life for the victim.
There is an expectation, when you visit a dentist, that there will be a certain amount of pain. You may also suffer some pain following the appointment and could require medication. This may be a reasonable part of treatment. However, dental negligence involves you suffering because of unreasonable treatment. For example, a dentist could provide you with incorrect treatment, despite clear symptoms, causing you to suffer unnecessary pain.
If you suffer because of dental negligence, you could claim compensation for the physical and mental harm you experience. You could also claim to recover the financial losses you accrued as a consequence of the injury. You could claim against a public healthcare provider or a private one.
In order to prove dental negligence, you would need to establish that:
- A dental health professional/practice owed a duty of care towards you.
- The professional/practice breached their duty of care.
- This led to avoidable, unnecessary injuries (or the worsening of your injuries).
A solicitor that’s experienced in dental negligence claims could help you with this. If you’re able to prove the above three points, you could be eligible to claim.
The NHS recommends that you start with making a direct complaint about the dental treatment first if you’ve had a bad experience with an NHS dentist or practice. Alternatively, you could contact NHS England, which oversees NHS dental services.
If you make a complaint and are not happy with how it has been handled, then you could consider contacting the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO).
You may have suffered due to private healthcare. If that’s the case, you could complain directly to the dental surgery.
However, if you don’t get a satisfactory response to your complaint and you have a valid claim, why not reach out to our advisors? They give free legal advice and are available 24/7. What’s more, you’ll be under no obligation to proceed with the services of our panel of medical negligence solicitors.
Examples of dental negligence can include any deliberate oversights or avoidable accidents made by a dental practice that has caused a patient under their care to be harmed and possibly suffered financial loss too. Some dental negligence examples include:
- Incorrect diagnosis despite clear symptoms
- Delayed diagnosis without an appropriate reason
- Nerve injury caused by careless treatment
- Wrong tooth extraction
- Errors during cosmetic or restorative dentistry due to distraction
- Misdiagnosis despite clear indications of the true illness
- Allergic reaction due to a mouthwash provided to you, even though you made the dentist aware of the allergy
Any of the above could lead to dental negligence claims.
Compensation payouts for a dental negligence claim can vary a lot. That’s because several factors need to be considered when the payouts for such claims are being decided. These include what type of injuries were suffered due to negligence, how severe those injuries are, and how much of an impact they’ve had on your quality of life.
Compensation for your injuries is called general damages. To prove general damages, you’d attend a medical assessment where an independent medical professional would check your injuries. A solicitor from our panel could arrange this locally for you.
After assessing your injuries, the medical professional would create a report. The purpose of this report is to:
- Show the severity of your injuries.
- Detail whether the negligence caused or exacerbated the injuries, or whether they weren’t linked.
If your injuries aren’t linked to dental negligence, you could find it difficult to claim. But, if they are caused or worsened by negligence and you’re using the services of a solicitor to claim, they could use the report to value your injuries.
A solicitor may also use the Judicial College Guidelines to help value the injuries. The publication contains compensation brackets that act as guidance and don’t necessarily guarantee how much you could receive for your injuries. They can, however, give you a general idea of the amount paid out for dental negligence claims.
You can contact Medical Negligence UK for more advice on potential compensation payouts for a dental negligence claim. What’s more, our advisors can value your claim for free.
Special Damages And Dental Negligence Compensation
If you are eligible to claim compensation for dental negligence injuries under general damages, you may also be able to receive a payout for special damages. Compensation for special damages aims to cover any financial losses that are directly linked to the injuries you’ve suffered.
Different types of financial losses you could be compensated for under special damages include:
- Loss of income if your injuries forced you to take unpaid time off work.
- Loss of future potential earnings if you’ve had to move to a different, lower-earning job due to your injuries.
- Travel expenses that you’ve accumulated in order to receive treatment for your injuries.
To claim for financial losses under special damages, you will need evidence that they exist and are linked to your injuries. So if you want to claim for travel expenses, for instance, receipts and travel tickets should be held on to as proof.
In order to be eligible to start a dental negligence claim, there are certain requirements that will need to be met. As well as needing evidence to support your claim, you will also need to start your claim within the correct time limits.
Generally, under the Limitation Act 1980, a dental negligence claim has to be started within three years of when the negligence occurred. However, in some cases, the injuries that occurred due to dental negligence are not immediately diagnosed. In these instances, the three-year time limit starts from when you gained enough knowledge that negligence at least contributed to the injuries.
If you wish to claim but are under the age of 18, a litigation friend can do so on your behalf. However, if nobody does this, you would have three years from your eighteenth birthday to claim.
For those who lack the mental capacity to claim, a litigation friend could act on their behalf. However, if the person regains mental capacity, they would have three years from the date of their recovery to claim.
No Win No Fee Dental Negligence Claims
If you have an eligible dental negligence claim, then you may be able to make a No Win No Fee agreement with a solicitor from our panel. No win No Fee essentially means:
- You don’t have to pay any upfront solicitor fees.
- You also don’t have to pay any ongoing solicitor fees.
- If the claim loses, you don’t have to pay any solicitor fees.
If the claim wins, you would pay a success fee to the No Win No Fee solicitor. This is a percentage of the compensation and it’s capped by law. It is taken only after the compensation comes through. What’s more, you’d know the percentage before you agree to use the services of the solicitor.
Our panel offer No Win No Fee agreements for all accepted claims, so why not get in touch?
You can contact Medical Negligence UK for more advice on dental negligence claims:
- Contact us through our website
- Use our live chat to speak to an advisor right away
- Call us on the number at the top of the page
For more advice on medical negligence claims, you can check out the following resources:
In this final section of our dental negligence claim post, we’ve answered some commonly asked questions about the topic:
Is my dentist responsible for a failed root canal?
Your dentist owes you a duty of care while giving you a root canal treatment. As part of their duty, the dentist should follow all reasonable steps they can to ensure your treatment is carried out correctly and without issue. If something goes wrong with your treatment, then you may be able to claim against your dentist if you can establish that they acted negligently, causing you harm.
Can a dentist drill too deep?
One of the potential errors a dentist could make is drilling too deep into a tooth. If a dentist cuts through the bottom of a tooth, then this can compromise the procedure and lead to issues such as swelling and infection.
Can I sue my dentist for nerve damage?
If treatment from your dentist has led you to suffer nerve damage, then you may be able to claim compensation for this. You will need to establish with evidence that your dentist owed a duty of care towards you and they breached it through negligent behaviour. You’ll also need proof that negligent behaviour by your dentist is what caused the nerve damage.
How long does a dental negligence claim take?
The amount of time it can take for a dental negligence claim to conclude can vary. It depends on how complex the claim proves to be. A more straightforward case, where the defendant accepts liability, may be resolved in months. More complicated cases could take much longer.
How does No Win No Fee dental negligence work?
A dental negligence claim made on a No Win No Fee basis means you will only need to pay your solicitor their legal fees if your claim succeeds.
Thank you for reading our post on dental negligence claims.