Going to the dentist is not usually the most pleasant experience; however, most of the time, things go without a hitch. On the rare occasion that mistakes or negligent treatment happens, it is important to remember you may have grounds to make a claim for compensation. Below is a brief guide telling you what you need to know about dental negligence claims.
What is Dental Negligence and Do I Have a Claim?
Dental negligence can occur during diagnosis or treatment by an NHS or private dental practitioner as a result of:
- Delayed diagnosis
- Sub-standard treatment
- Dental malpractice
- Poor long-term care
Dental negligence may be experienced in the form of a delay in diagnosing a serious condition which later requires further treatment due to the delay; inadequate fillings, crowns or implants; a failure to explain alternative treatments or the consequences of the treatment before proceeding; a failure to gain informed consent from the patient, and more.
If you have suffered pain, injury or trauma as a result of any of the above, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.
What Can I Claim For?
A claim for dental negligence can include compensation to cover and or all of the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of earnings
- Further treatment
How Long Do I Have to Make a Claim for Dental Negligence?
Every case is different but generally speaking, claims for dental negligence need to be made within three years of the negligent treatment or of you becoming aware of a problem caused by the negligent treatment.
There are some exceptions so if you are unsure, always speak to a solicitor at the earliest opportunity who can advise you on whether the time-limit for your specific case has passed or not.
Can I Make a No Win No Fee Claim?
Dental negligence claims can often be covered by a no win no fee agreement. This means that you can begin a claim without paying anything upfront and it will not cost you anything if your claim is unsuccessful. Your solicitor will fully explain how to move forward with a claim on a no win no fee basis.
What is the Process for Making a Dental Negligence Claim?
Consultation – First you will discuss what has happened with a dental negligence specialist who will assess your grounds for a claim.
Building your case – If both you and your solicitor are happy to go ahead with the claim, your solicitor will work on building the case by gathering evidence and instructing medical experts to assess liability, causation and condition and prognosis. This will create the basis for your claim.
Present evidence – Your solicitor will present the case to the negligent party who will either accept or deny liability.
Negotiate settlement or take case to court – Notwithstanding whether liability is accepted or denied some cases are capable of settlement without the need for court proceedings. However, where aspects of the case cannot be agreed [liability, causation or quantum] the matter would be determined by a court.
Once the case has been settled, either through a settlement negotiation or court, and you have received the compensation owed to you, your solicitor may direct you to other services which may be of use. In cases of large settlements, a personal injury trust may be required to protect your money. Where you have lost capacity to make decisions for yourself, or are expected to as a result of the injuries suffered, you may need to apply to the Court of Protection or put in place a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Whatever the next steps you need to take are, your solicitor will advise you accordingly.
Why Should I Instruct a Solicitor?
Dental negligence solicitors have extensive experience of building cases for these types of claims. They have the knowledge to advise on the strength of your claim and can instruct medical experts on your behalf to produce the necessary reports and evidence.
By instructing a solicitor at the earliest opportunity, you can be safe in the knowledge that your claim will be handled professionally while you can focus on recovering from your injury or trauma.
If you think you have suffered as a result of dental negligence, get in touch with our specialists today to discuss your case. Call 0845 287 0939 or contact us by email.