How Much Compensation Can I Claim For Dental Negligence?
By Michael Patrick. Last Updated 20th January 2021. Dental negligence is a term used to describe mistakes or mishaps made by dentists or health care professionals who specialise in dentistry, leading to an injury for their patients. Dental malpractice claims are pursued for various reasons, including poorly executed surgical procedures, inaccurate diagnosis of a condition, and wrong medication prescription. This is a fundamental dental negligence definition, and this page will try to expand on this to impart a better understanding of what your rights are if you have been a victim of dental negligence.
If you have been the victim of dental negligence, you will need professional legal advice and representation to have the best chance of making a successful compensation claim.
Select a section:
- A guide to dental negligence claims.
- What is a dental negligence claim?
- Is dental negligence common?
- What different types of causes can lead to a dental negligence claim?
- Are there different types of dental negligence claims?
- What to do if you have been a victim of dental negligence.
- How to begin a claim.
- What can be claimed for due to dental negligence?
- How much compensation will I get for a dental negligence claim?
- How long does a claim take?
- NHS dental negligence compensation claims.
- No win no fee dental negligence claims.
- Why choose us as your claims service for a dental negligence claim?
- Call for free advice and to start a claim.
Every dental practitioner is expected to keep the health and well being of their patients, at the forefront of everything they do. And in almost every case, this is true. However, from time to time, something goes wrong, and a mistake is made. Again, in most cases, these mistakes are trivial, and no lasting harm is done. But in a handful of cases each year in the UK, a dental practitioner or other medical staff working in the dental sector, makes a mistake that leads to the harm of their patient. And in these cases, a claim for compensation based on this dental negligence is possible.
Within this guide, you will find all of the information you will need to educate yourself about the process of claiming compensation for dental negligence if you have been unfortunate enough to have become a victim of it.
This guide explains just what dental negligence is, and the different types of negligence that can occur. It will walk you through the things you need to do before making your claim for dental negligence compensation. It will also tell you how to actually start your claim for damages against a dentist or dental clinic, and try to give a rough indication of the amount of compensation that common injuries caused by dental negligence could pay.
If you need any further information, or just want to get the answers to more specific questions, then please use the contact information at the bottom of this guide to get in touch with us.
Dental negligence occurs when a medical practitioner working in the dental sector, causes harm to a patient through a mishap or mistake. This can be the dentist themselves or any of the nursing and care staff involved in the overall dental care process.
Although dental negligence is rare, it does occur, and the damage caused to a patient can be both severe, and long-lasting. Furthermore, many of the injuries that can be caused by dental negligence, can lead to permanent facial disfigurement and scarring. For this reason, dental negligence cases, as with any form of a medical negligence case, are taken very seriously. As the end result could see the dental practitioner being barred from their chosen career.
Considering that thousands of dental procedures are carried out each day in the UK, dental negligence cases are surprisingly rare. Historically, fewer than 10,000 cases of dental negligence are recorded each year. However, this figure has begun to rise in recent years. This is primarily due to the fact that more people are seeking dental care, and more medical experts are operating within the dental care sector.
Case studies have shown that the growth in popularity of cosmetic dentistry has also contributed to the rising number of dental negligence claims being made. This is, of course, to be expected. Cosmetic dental procedures are often overly intrusive and can require significant reconstruction of the teeth, jaw bone and gums. Therefore, the likelihood of a mistake being made which could lead to a severe injury is far higher than that of merely corrective and preventative dentistry procedures.
Depending upon the injury the patient has received, and how that injury was caused, dental negligence will fit into one of the categories below:
- Badly executed surgical procedures – whenever a dentist performs a surgical procedure on a patient, from filling a cavity to fitting a full set of implants, if something goes wrong causing an injury to the patient, then there is a valid reason to claim compensation.
- Badly managed anaesthesia – when a surgical procedure requires the administration of either local or general anaesthetic, if the application of that anaesthetic causes an injury or other health problem for the patient, a valid reason to make a compensation claim will exist.
- Misdiagnosis of a dental condition – possibly the least common form of dental negligence. When a dentist misdiagnoses a condition and applies the wrong treatment, which leads to injury or harm to the patient. In these cases, a valid reason to claim compensation will exist.
- Inadequate patient care – either during a dental procedure or after a dental procedure when the patient is in recovery. If undue care is taken to ensure the patient’s well-being, leading to injury or harm, then a valid reason to claim compensation will exist.
Of course, there are cases of dental negligence that do fall outside of this basic framework. When you contact us to discuss your own case’s specifics, we will let you know if any more forms of negligence might apply.
When it comes to claiming negligence against a dentist, there are several ways a compensation claim can be pursued. Depending on the way that an injury to a patient has been caused, and the circumstances that lead to the injury occurring, a dental practitioner would be guilty of one of the following types of negligence:
- Contributory negligence – when a case of dental negligence is judged to fall into the category of contributory negligence, then it is deemed that the injury victim is primarily to blame for their own condition. And in most contributory negligence cases, no compensation will be paid to the person seeking damages.
- Comparative negligence – in these cases, both the dental practitioner and the person suffering the injury both share some portion of the blame. These are often the trickiest dental negligence compensation claims to pursue. They will almost always involve a lengthy legal process, which will result in a court case where the blame will be apportioned appropriately between the dental practitioner and the victim of the injury.
- Vicarious liability – in this type of case, a third party is being apportioned part of the blame for the injury caused to the patient. For example, this could be the supplier of a particular piece of medical equipment contributing to the mistake that caused the damage. Or it could be a claim against the company that employs the dentist, which has failed to meet statutory health care regulations, leading directly to the patient being injured.
- Gross negligence is the most serious and the least common type of negligence claim against a dental practitioner. A gross negligence case is pursued when the dental professional has blatantly disregarded their patient’s health and well-being. There are many ways that this can occur, such as being under the influence of alcohol or drugs whilst performing a surgical procedure or purposefully causing harm to a patient in anger.
Almost every claim for compensation based on dental negligence will fit into one of these negligence categories. In certain cases, other considerations may apply. We will be sure to let you know if your claim for compensation does not fit into one of these categories.
If you believe that you may have a valid reason to claim, then there are certain things you can do right now, to help you prepare.
As with any legal proceedings that require adjudication, evidence will need to be presented by both sides, to either prove or disprove the claim. So preparation is essential here. The better prepared your solicitor is to represent you, then the better chance you have of successfully being awarded damages. Below is some advice regarding the things you can do to prepare for your claim, before contacting a solicitor.
- Have your injury documented – this means visiting a doctor or a hospital to have the wound treated. Make sure that you ask the doctor treating you to note their opinion on how well the injury will heal, and how long it is likely to take.
- Collect necessary information – find out the names of any dental staff that assisted the dentist if you can. Find out the company’s name that owns the dental clinic if it is a private practice or a cosmetic dentistry clinic.
- Record the injury’s financial impact – if you have had to miss work and lost income, spent money on medication, or had to take unexpected journeys which you have paid for out of your own pocket, then write all of these down. Your solicitor will help you claim them back as part of your dental negligence compensation claim.
- Contact a dental negligence solicitor – at this stage, you have all the facts of your claim straight and are ready to accurately brief a solicitor.
If you choose to use a dental negligence solicitor from our panel, we can arrange for a locally carried out medical examination, to assist with the claims process.
If you are ready to begin your claim for dental negligence compensation, you can use the contact details at the bottom of this guide to get in touch with us. We will then offer you a completely free legal consultation session. During this session, we will attempt to capture all of the pertinent facts about your injury.
We will use the facts we capture, to decide whether you have a good chance of claiming damages following a case of dental negligence. If we think the prospect of claiming compensation is high, we will advise you on what we think you need to do next.
For most people who contact us that have a valid reason to make a compensation claim, we will offer to represent them on a No Win No Fee basis. This means there is nothing to pay unless we actually win your case for you.
Claiming compensation for dental negligence involves calculating tangible and intangible costs and claiming damages to meet these costs. Some expenses are simple to calculate, such as any money spent on medical fees. Others are not so straightforward, how does one put a value on pain and suffering? Luckily, there are judicial guidelines in place that already provide a framework for attributing value to the discomfort caused by an injury. Most dental negligence claims will comprise of one or more of these types of damages:
- Special damages – in this category, we include all of the non-physical loss that has been caused by a case of dental negligence. This can consist of an extensive range of causes. For example, if you were forced to cancel a vacation due to the injury, then you would claim compensation for this under special damages.
- General damages – in this category, we include all of the physical aspects of the injury. Pain, suffering, loss of mobility and psychological trauma is the most common of these.
- Care costs – if you are forced to bring in help to assist you in your daily life due to the injury, or if you have had to be placed into full-time care in an institution, then this can be claimed for.
- Loss of current and future earnings – if you needed to miss work due to your injury, and thus did not receive your full wage/salary, then you can claim this in compensation. Additionally, if the injury is likely to affect your long-term earning potential negatively, this future loss can also be claimed.
- Medical expenses – any out of pocket expenses that have been paid for both immediate and ongoing treatment of the injury you are claiming compensation for.
- Travel costs – any out of pocket expenses that have been incurred due to having to travel for anything related to the injury itself (outpatient care for example), or the compensation case (such as visiting your solicitor) can be claimed back.
These are the basic categories that any claim for damages will almost always fit into. There are some less common types of damages, and if we feel that your claim should include one of these, we will let you know.
|Damaged teeth||Minor to severe||£830 to £29,000||Damage to a single tooth, or several. This can be short-term damage that can be corrected, all the way through to permanent complete loss of all teeth.|
|Jaw injury||Minor to severe||£4,900 to £34,600||From simple fractures, through to irreparable bones loss through badly performed surgical procedures.|
|Cheekbone Injury||Minor to severe||£1,775 to £12,000||From simple fractures, through to irreparable bones loss through badly performed surgical procedures.|
These compensation amounts do not include special damages or other forms of damages such as loss of earnings. They include only general damages, for the pain and suffering the injury has caused.
It was reported by the NHS that 21.0m adults were seen by an NHS dentist in the 24-months leading up to the 30th of June. 2021. It was also documented that there were 6.3 million children seen by an NHS dentist with the same timeframe. Although there are measures to ensure safe practice is being upheld, the NHS reported that they received 10,678 new clinical negligence claims over the last year. In comparison, this is an increase from the previous year.
The statistics above emphasises how frequent dental procedures are carried out, and how clinical negligence claims being made against the NHS are on the rise. By law, dentists are required to adhere to strict health and safety policies to ensure the treatment they offer is safe. However, should a mistake or mishap take place, it could have a devastating impact on the individual receiving treatment. For instance, if you are an adult over the age of 18, you could pursue your own claim against the negligent party. However, if a child under the age of 18 has suffered, then a litigation friend could cat on their behalf.
Here at Legal Expert, we have over 30 years of experience handling cases of this nature, so why not con]tact us to take advantage of our free legal advice? With the support of a personal injury solicitor by your side, we can ensure you receive the justice and compensation you deserve.
To answer the question, how long does a dental negligence claim take? Is very difficult. Each case is entirely unique. Any form of medical negligence has very serious consequences on the person being accused. In extreme cases, they can be struck off from working within their chosen medical field, effectively ending their career.
For this reason, cases can often take a lot longer than claims for similar injuries caused by simple accidents. In reality, you would be looking at a period of a minimum of 6 months before a settlement is made.
Claims for dental negligence against the National Health Service (NHS) are inherently complicated. Navigating the claims process for suing a government body for compensation is very difficult. Certainly, something that you are going to need an experienced solicitor to undertake for you.
We have lots of experience in suing various government-operated bodies, including the NHS, and we know how to cut through the red tape and bureaucracy. We can help expedite your claim for dental negligence against the NHS as quickly as possible.
If you have minimal financial resources, it is likely that finding the money to pay the legal fees involved in making a successful claim for compensation for dental negligence, will be problematic. And what happens if you lose? You would be entirely out of pocket.
We have a way to help. We can offer to represent you in a No Win No Fee format. This means you don’t pay us a thing until we have won your claim for you. If we don’t win, you don’t owe us anything at all.
Dental negligence claims, like any type of medical negligence cases, are a serious legal matter. They are far less likely to be settled without going to court, and in the most severe cases, the impact upon the liable party is extreme if they are found to be at fault.
Therefore, you need the best legal help possible to execute a claim on your behalf, and this is where we come in. We have years of experience in pursuing damages for clients who have been a victim of medical negligence.
Have you been the victim of dental negligence? Are you ready to begin making a compensation claim for it? Or maybe you just need an expert opinion on whether your claim is viable?
If you need some free help and advice about a dental negligence claim, we are more than happy to assist you. You can either use the online contact form on this website, or for a more immediate response, use the webchat function, or call us directly on 0800 073 8804. There is no obligation to use our service after giving you some advice, and the initial session is always completely free.
Have you been the victim of misdiagnosis for anything, including dental misdiagnosis? Click the link to learn more.
This NHS Link lets you know the process of complaining about NHS dental treatment.
Read more on this Ministry of Justice and the justice system website.
This Citizens advice guide on dental malpractice and complaints is excellent. It outlines the different complaint reasons you could complain, such as inadequate care, infection issues, and using dirty equipment. The dentist is under the influence of drink or drugs, and the dentist doesn’t get valid consent from you before treatment.