A dentist is a medical professional, and as such, they have a duty of care for their patients. That means that when things go wrong, and it’s due to dentist negligence, you are able to make a claim for compensation. However, this doesn’t mean that a failed dental treatment is grounds for a claim. It can be very complicated to prove dentist negligence, and in order to be successful, you and your solicitor will need to prove that poor dental treatment resulted in pain or injury. If your dental treatment was unsuccessful or it resulted in causing further dental issues, then the burden of proof will be on you.
Dental negligence claims are considered as personal injury claims. That means that, like any other form of personal injury, you will need to show that you have suffered from damage or injury as a direct result of your dental treatment. The harm that you suffer from can be physical or psychological.
In cases where your dentist or a member of their team acted negligently, but you did not suffer as a result, you will have no grounds for a claim.
Defining Dental Negligence
This can be a complex issue, and each case will be different. The circumstances of your negligent treatment will all play a part in determining if you will receive compensation, and if so, how much. There are three key areas where dental negligence is commonly grouped. These are:
- Inadequate Treatment: This can take various forms. It could be that your dentist used the wrong treatments or equipment to carry out their work. This can either be a single, one-time treatment that you believe was performed negligently or a long-term treatment that has caused an ongoing issue.
- Misdiagnosis: This is one of the main tasks of a medical professional. If a diagnosis is incorrect then it can have serious long-term consequences. Failing to identify the right issue or making a misdiagnosis can mean that you get the wrong treatment. That can not only make some issues worse, but also fails to tackle the initial problem.
- Poor Dental Work: This is a more general category. It can cover a very wide range of scenarios. Everything from accidentally cutting a patient’s gums or mouth, to removing the wrong tooth, are all categorized as careless or poor dental treatment.
Dental Negligence Assessment
Dental negligence compensation amounts can vary. A number of key factors will be taken into consideration when assessing your claim for dental negligence.
- Your Role: If you are responsible for making your injury worse, then this will reduce any compensation total that might receive. If you were given guidelines for aftercare that you do did not follow, then this will have a very negative effect on your ability to claim.
- Your History: Your dental records will play a key role in your claim. If you have a history of dental issues that are the actual cause of your suffering, then a court may decide that dental negligence is not to blame.
- Your Injury: All personal injury claim compensation is evaluated in terms of how serious they are. The more serious your dental injury, the higher your compensation can be, as long as there are no additional factors to take into account.
- Pain Levels: It can be difficult to gauge or prove levels of pain. However, this will be addressed by your solicitor, and your pain levels will have a dramatic impact on your compensation totals.
- Additional Factors: You will also find that your compensation will be calculated to factor in these areas –
Expenses: If you have had to pay for additional dental treatment then this may be reimbursed via your compensation.
Trauma: You can claim for trauma, but this can become very complex. Your solicitor will be able to provide you with psychological treatment and evaluation.
Short and Long-Term: If your injury is only a temporary one then you will receive less than if your negligent treatment results in long-term or permanent issues.
You will need to make a claim for dental negligence within two years of when you suffered from the injury. If you delay for longer than two years, then you may lose your ability to make a claim. However, there are possibilities even if the two-year deadline has passed. Talk to your solicitor as early as possible, and they will be able to guide you through the process and ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve.