Poor quality or negligent dental treatment may not only be very painful, it can leave you in ongoing pain or even worse, permanently disfigured.
When we visit the dentist we expect them to treat us professionally and properly, and if this does not happen and you have been left with ongoing issues or have had to have painful corrective treatment, you could be eligible to claim compensation against the dentist who treated you for dental negligence. Find out more about dental negligence claims and what the correct process is.
What Exactly is Dental Negligence?
There are lots of different events which might be classed as dental negligence. Some of these are very obvious, such as a dentist dropping an instrument into your throat which then has to be surgically removed. This is rare though, and most people claiming for dental negligence do so because their dentist has not diagnosed a problem quickly enough meaning that they have had to later undergo more radical treatment, or has recommended a course of treatment which was unnecessary.
There are many other instances of dental negligence though, so if you feel that your treatment may have been negligent, speak to a personal injury lawyer for specialist advice.
Average Payouts for Dental Negligence
As there are so many different types of dental negligence, it is almost impossible to give an accurate estimate of the average payouts for dental negligence claims.
It’s therefore even more important that you take legal advice on what level of compensation to expect in your case. As a basic guide though, some successful dental claims figures can be useful.
For example, a woman who suffered poor dental care for years and had the wrong tooth taken out by mistake successfully claimed for £12,000, after showing that the dentist’s negligence had left her with ongoing sinus problems.
A more serious case involved a payout of £28,000 to a patient whose dentist failed to properly tackle her gum disease, meaning she faces losing all of her teeth and having dentures for the rest of her life.
Getting the right legal advice for your dental claim
Medical and dental negligence is a complex area of the law, and so it’s vitally important that you get proper legal advice from an expert in the field.
Most medical and dental negligence cases are taken on a no win, no fee basis which reduces your financial risk from the outset, and many firms offer free advice over the telephone if you are unsure whether you have a claim or not. The process for all dental negligence claims is more or less the same as many negligence claims.
In the initial appointment, the legal firm will take the facts of your case and will assess whether they feel you have a strong case. If so, the lawyers will then take over and will start gathering together evidence connected with your claim such as medical reports or details of loss of earnings or other expenses incurred. They will then start speaking to the dentist’s lawyers regarding the case and try to agree an appropriate level of compensation.
Most cases like this never get as far as court, but if they do, your lawyer will represent your interests in front of the judge.
Getting the right treatment
Getting monetary compensation is often only half the battle, and it can be hard to trust another dentist after being let down badly. However your compensation should help you pay for someone else to rectify the damage done as much as possible, and will help rebuild your confidence too.
Dental negligence FAQs
Q: How long do I have for dental negligence claims?
A: The law on dental negligence claims state that you have three years from the date of your injury to make your claim, or three years from the date you became aware of the negligent treatment. Sometimes different rules apply when claiming for children under the age of 18, but the golden rule is always to act sooner rather than later and not to delay.
Q: What can I claim for?
A: You can claim for both the financial losses you have incurred in terms of paying for the dental treatment which did not work out, as well as related expenses such as taking time off work for the treatment and the recovery too. You can also claim compensation for the injuries you have suffered.
Q: What are the first steps in claiming for dental negligence?
A: Your first step should be speaking to a professional in the field of medical or dental negligence who can look at your claim and advise you on both whether it is worth taking it forward and what level of compensation you might hope to achieve.