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How Long Does A Dental Negligence Claim Take?

By Megan Black. Last Updated 25th August 2023. In this guide, we will answer the question, “How long does a dental negligence claim take?”

Has a dentist harmed you because they provided you with substandard care? Then you may be eligible to claim compensation. If your dental negligence claim is successful, you will receive compensation for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity you went through. Moreover, you could also receive compensation for the financial losses caused by your injuries.

Dental negligence

Dental negligence

You may be anxious to know how long your potential claim will take. The idea of a long and drawn-out claims process may even put you off from making a claim. This guide will look at how long the dental negligence claim process can take.

To see if you can begin your dental negligence claim, please get in touch with Legal Expert today. our solicitors could help you claim compensation for your injuries. Please use the details below to contact us:

  • Call our medical negligence claims helpline on 0800 073 8804
  • Or start your dental negligence claim online via our website
  • Alternatively, use our live chat to get answers now

Select A Section

  1. How Do Lawyers Define Dental Negligence?
  2. What Is The Medical Negligence Claim Criteria?
  3. How Long Does A Dental Negligence Claim Take?
  4. When Could Dental Negligence Occur?
  5. How Long Does A Dental Negligence Claim Take – Initial Steps
  6. How Much Compensation Could I Claim?
  7. Defining General Damages And Special Damages
  8. No Win No Fee Dental Negligence Claims
  9. How Long Does A Dental Negligence Claim Take – Further Resources

How Do Lawyers Define Dental Negligence?

Dental negligence occurs when a dentist fails to meet the required standard of care owed to a patient. Consequently, the poor care the patient receives can be harmful.

Any dental practitioner can be negligent, including a dentist, dental nurse or oral hygienist. For example, a dentist may misdiagnose a patient because they failed to carry out a necessary X-ray. Alternatively, a dentist may negligently give a patient a prescription for the wrong dose of medication and, consequently, the patient suffers from harmful side effects.

We will explain how to make a dental negligence compensation claim in this guide. Moreover, we will look at how long a dental negligence claim takes. And we will look at factors that may extend the length of a claim.

Our solicitors could help you claim compensation for dental negligence. Please call Legal Expert now to see if you can begin your claim.

What Is The Medical Negligence Claim Criteria?

To make a successful dental negligence claim, you must provide evidence to prove the following:

  • Firstly, the dental practitioner owed you a duty of care. (All legitimate medical practitioners owe their patients a duty of care.)
  • Secondly, clinical negligence occurred, which breached their duty of care. You may use medical records and eyewitness accounts to prove this.
  • And finally, you suffered an injury (whether mental or physical) as a result.

Please get in touch with Legal Expert today, and a claims advisor will be happy to let you know if you have legitimate grounds to claim.

There is a time limit for making a medical negligence compensation claim. Under the Limitation Act 1980, the dental negligence claim time limit is generally three years. Therefore you must begin your compensation claim within this time. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Please call us to see if you still qualify to claim.

Dental Negligence Time Limit – What Are The Exceptions?

If you are making a dental negligence claim in the UK, you might be wondering if there are any exceptions to the time limit. The limitation period, which is how long you have to bring forward a claim, may sometimes be extended or suspended.

Exceptions to the dental negligence time limit may be granted under certain circumstances, such as:

  • When the claimant is a minor: Claimants have from when they turn 18 to their 21st birthday to take action if they suffer harm from dental negligence as a child. Before this point, the time limit is paused which can allow a suitable person to apply to act as a litigation friend and make the claim on their behalf.
  • When the claimant does not have the mental capacity to claim themselves: The time limit is suspended indefinitely and only begins if the claimant regains the mental capacity to put forward the claim themselves. Similarly, while the time limit is paused, a litigation friend could make a claim on their behalf.

We can offer you free guidance if you are unsure whether you are still eligible to start a claim. Additionally, we can put you in touch with our expert medical negligence solicitors, provided you have a valid claim that has a chance of success, and they could help speed up the claims process to ensure you take action in time.

How Long Does A Dental Negligence Claim Take?

How long a claim takes to settle depends on several factors. For example, the claims process may only take six months with a straightforward case that doesn’t need to go to court. However, a complex dental negligence court case may take a lot longer.

The following factors can affect how long your dental negligence claim takes:

  • The length of time your claim will take to settle depends on the severity of your dental negligence injuries and how long your recovery time will be. If the effects are ongoing, your claim may take longer as you need to see how your health and finances are impacted.
  • What evidence your solicitor will need to make a successful dental negligence claim. Some types of evidence will take longer to collect than others.
  • Whether or not the defendant admits liability for your injuries.
  • How easy it is to prove which party was at fault.
  • Whether or not a claim goes to court. A dental negligence court case could take longer to settle. (However, most claims are settled out of court.)

Determining how long dental negligence claim cases take to settle can be complex. Please feel free to call our claims helpline, and an advisor can let you know how long your claim may take.

When Could Dental Negligence Occur?

Let’s look at some of the ways that dental negligence can happen. The following errors and mishaps can lead to dental negligence related injuries.

  • A dentist can make a negligent surgical error. For example, a dentist may extract the wrong tooth and leave the bad one. Or a dentist may negligently fit a patient with an implant that is too large, causing dental nerve damage.
  • A dentist can misdiagnose a patient’s condition. For example, a dentist can fail to spot the signs of oral cancer, even though the symptoms are clear, meaning that the cancer would worsen unnecessarily.
  • The dentist may negligently administer the patient’s anaesthesia. As a result, the patient may suffer complications, leading to an illness or even wrongful death.
  • Dentists, dental nurses and oral hygienists may administer poor patient care. For example, a dentist may not sterilise their tools properly, causing their patient to suffer an infection.

As a patient, you are owed a duty of care by your dentist. If your dentist has breached the duty of care and harmed you, you may be eligible to claim compensation. Please call our claims helpline today and an advisor can let you know if you are eligible to claim.

How Long Does A Dental Negligence Claim Take – Initial Steps

When we look at how long a dental negligence claim takes, we must consider the first steps of making a claim.

You don’t have to use the services of a solicitor to make a claim. However, there can be some benefits such as:

  • Legal expertise
  • Someone to negotiate on your behalf
  • Someone who is familiar with the claims process
  • A professional who can accurately value your claim

Your Initial Consultation

The first step in the claims process may be an initial consultation with your solicitor. You can meet with your solicitor in person or speak to them over the phone, for example. During the consultation, the solicitor will consult you on the exact details of your dental negligence claim case. They’d assess how likely your claim is to be successful.

Once you’re ready to proceed with your dental negligence claim, your solicitor would request information from you.

Your solicitor may help you access the following:

  • The time, date and place of your accident.
  • Information about how the accident happened.
  • Contact details belonging to witnesses (for statements).
  • And photographs of any visible injuries.
  • Medical records and information about your diagnosis, and prescriptions to show what medication you took.
  • Proof of any monetary expenses and losses that were caused by your injuries.

Our advisors could connect you with an experienced solicitor to handle your claim.

How Much Compensation Could I Claim?

You can refer to the table below to see how much compensation your dental negligence claim could be worth. The table estimates how much compensation you can claim in general damages. General damages compensate you for the injury itself.

The amounts of compensation in the table are based on guidelines from the Judicial College. These guidelines are used by solicitors when valuing injuries. However, it’s important to note that the amount of dental negligence compensation can vary on a case-by-case basis, depending on your circumstances.

Type Of Damage To TeethSettlement BracketComments About The Injury
Damage to the teethUp to £38,130There may be chronic or significant damage or pain. This could be caused by a condition such as an abscess which has gone untreated. This could have happened over several years and the general condition of the teeth may have deteriorated.
Level (i)£8,730 to

Where is the loss of or serious damage to several of the front teeth.
Level (ii)£4,350 to
Where either two front teeth have been seriously damaged or lost.
Level (iii)£2,200 to

Where one front tooth has been lost or has been seriously damaged.
Level (iv)£1,090 to

This level of damages may be awarded on a per tooth basis for loss or damage of a back tooth.

Please call Legal Expert, and an advisor can estimate how much compensation you are owed for your injuries.

Defining General Damages And Special Damages

If your dental negligence compensation claim is successful, you can receive up to two heads of claim. Firstly, you can claim general damages, compensation for the injuries you experienced. Injuries can include psychological injuries.

Secondly, you could claim special damages. Special damages repay you for any financial expenses or losses you have experienced that are related to the injury. For example, if you need dental treatment to repair the damage you suffered, you could claim these costs as medical expenses.

Here are some examples of special damages you could claim:

  • Medical expenses, including additional dental treatment you needed
  • Travel costs
  • Care costs
  • Reimbursement for loss of income

No Win No Fee Dental Negligence Claims

If you are eligible to seek compensation for dental negligence, you may wish to have a legal professional help you with your case. One of our No Win No Fee solicitors may offer to represent your case under the terms of a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).

When you work with a solicitor under a CFA, you will not have to pay them anything upfront for them to begin working on your dental negligence compensation claim. You also won’t be expected to pay them any ongoing service fees. Furthermore, should your claim be unsuccessful, your solicitor won’t ask you to pay for the services they have provided.

Alternatively, you will pay your solicitor a success fee should they succeed with your claim. This success fee is a legally capped percentage that is directly deducted from your compensation settlement.

To see whether you could be eligible to work with one of our dental negligence solicitors on a No Win No Fee basis, you can contact our advisors. They can also offer you free advice for your case, and can be reached by:

How Long Does A Dental Negligence Claim Take – Further Resources

If you would like to learn more about claiming compensation for dental negligence, please feel free to read the resources below.

Dental Abscess Claims – If you have received negligent treatment for a dental abscess, you may be eligible to claim compensation.

NHS Negligence Claims – If you have been injured because of NHS negligence, see if you can claim compensation.

Cosmetic Surgery No Win No Fee Personal Injury Claims – How to claim compensation for injuries caused by negligent plastic surgery.

How to complain about negligent treatment from a dentist. A guide from Citizen’s Advice.

And more information about how to complain about NHS dental treatment.

How to make a complaint to your dental professional. A guide from the General Dental Council.

We hope we’ve answered the question, “How long does a dental negligence claim take?” If you need anything else, get in touch.

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      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.