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The Dental Negligence Team have been working in the field of dental negligence for over 30 years. Our team have expert knowledge of the field and are specialists in seeking maximum, and sometimes record-breaking, levels of compensation.
We are a friendly, approachable team, dedicated to helping victims of all types of dental malpractice. We genuinely act in our clients’ best interests and understand that cases of this nature must be dealt with sensitively, professionally and efficiently.
People contact us to find out more about making a claim all the time, so here we've put together the top questions, and our answers to these, to help you get all the information you need before getting in touch.
In order to establish that you have suffered dental negligence, you must pass a two strand test concerning the issues of liability and causation.
To prove liability, it must be shown that the treatment in question fell below the standard of a reasonably competent dentist at the relevant time, i.e., that the treatment you received was so poor than another dentist would not have performed it.
To prove causation, it must be down that there was a link between the substandard treatment and the injury that was suffered. To elaborate, it is not sufficient to show that the treatment received was negligent, it must also be shown that the negligent treatment caused damage.
When you first contact us, our team will make an initial assessment of this. If we consider that you can pass this test, we will look to explore funding options with you and subsequently commence your claim for negligence. The first stages of your claim are investigatory and will involve obtaining your records and then expert opinion on the issues of liability and causation. Please see our page called “the process” which explains this fully.
Nearly all of our cases are funded by either a Conditional Fee Agreement ( “CFA”, commonly referred to as “no win, no fee” agreements) or by Legal Expenses Insurance (“LEI”). We will always check whether you have the benefit of LEI at the beginning of your claim, as it may provide cover for a negligence claim.
If you do not have the benefit of LEI, we will look to enter into a CFA with you. The key premise of this is that there will be nothing for you to pay upfront. If your claim is unsuccessful, there will be nothing for you to pay. You will not be liable for either our costs or the opponent’s costs. If your case is successful, we will seek to recover the costs and disbursements incurred from your opponent. However, there will be certain items which cannot be recovered, which you will be liable for. The cost of these items will be deducted directly from your damages and we always guarantee that you will retain a minimum of 75% of your damages.
Our funding page discuss this in more detail, so please consult this for more information or contact us to discuss this further.
The process of making a negligence claim is generally not a quick solution, as it takes time to obtain your records, seek an expert opinion and fully investigate the harm and subsequent losses you have suffered. It is important to fully investigate all aspects of your claim to ensure you are fully and fairly compensated. Once a claim has settled, a Claimant cannot return at a later date for more money, so it is important that we carefully consider all of the issues and obtain sufficient damages to enable you to get all the remedial treatment you need. As a general rule, cases concerning dental negligence should conclude between 18-24 months after the first time you contact us. However, each case is different and this may vary dependent on the facts of your claim.
There is a statutory limitation period of 3 years for negligence claims within which legal proceedings should generally be brought. The 3 year period runs either from the date of the alleged negligence or from the date of knowledge. The date of knowledge is when the claimant could first reasonably have been expected to have known that the injury was rather significant and attributable to the identified negligence.
There are exceptions to the limitation rule. Most importantly time does not begin to run against those under the age of 18, until they attain the age of 18, and does not run at all against adults who are too mentally disabled to manage their own affairs (lack capacity in the eyes of the law).
Failure to issue a claim form at court so as to issue proceedings and bring your case into the court system before limitation expires, will render your claim to become statute barred under the limitation rules and a court may not allow you to pursue it at a later date.
Any compensation received will depend on the injury you sustained. To elaborate, if you require extensive remedial treatment (such as implants) you will receive more in compensation than if your claim is limited to a period of pain as a result of negligence.
Compensation received following a successful claim for dental negligence will be comprised of:
an award for pain and suffering – this will compensate you for any pain you have endured, and also things like inconvenience, changes in your eating habits, changes in your sleeping habits and any social effects the negligence has had. We will also consider whether you have suffered a psychiatric injury as a result of the negligent treatment as we can also claim compensation for this;
an award for future treatment costs – for example, if you require a replacement implant or denture. We will also take into account the future maintenance costs for any treatment you may require, including future crown cycles and specialist appointments;
past loss – this may include past prescription costs, travel or dental treatment. For instance, if a root canal treatment failed for a negligent reason and you required another one, the cost of this will likely be recoverable.
It is very important that you continue to attend the dentist throughout your claim, particularly if you are in need of continual treatment. You have a duty to mitigate your loss, which means you are required to keep your losses to a minimum, by not allowing your dental condition to worsen unnecessarily. If you are still registered at the Defendant’s dental practice, you may wish to change practices to avoid any awkwardness, but this may not necessary if you are receiving treatment with a different dentist you trust at the same practice. Please rest assured that our dental experts will be ale to assess negligence and causation based on past records and radiographs.
You can sue a retired dentist, as long as your claim is not statute barred.
By law, all dentists must be registered with the General Dental Council (GDC), and must have appropriate indemnity and insurance arrangements in place; this allows patients to seek any compensation they may be entitled to.
Therefore, even after a dentist retires they will still be responsible for the treatment which was carried out when they were practising as a dentist.
You can claim on behalf of a loved one in certain circumstances.
If you are the parent of a minor (a person under the age of 18) who has received negligent treatment, you can contact us on their behalf. Although the claim will be in their name, they will need someone to act as a litigation friend (someone who makes decision about their case) for them. This is also applicable if you are contacting us on behalf of someone who lacks capacity in the eyes of the law.
If a loved one has passed away, a claim can be brought on behalf of their estate against the dentist or treating practitioner who was responsible for the negligence. Determining who can bring a claim on their behalf depends on whether there is a will in place, and if there is no will, your relationship to them. One of our team can provide you with guidance in this respect.
If you have been treated negligently by anyone, including NHS staff, then you are entitled in law to sue for damages. However, in the UK individual dentists are rarely employed by the NHS. Most are self-employed and hold their own private indemnity insurance to cover their potential negligence. The exception to this are dentists that are employed by a hospital trust.
Therefore, if your claim is against your regular dentist (whom you see in a practice), the claim will be handled by their private indemnity insurance. If your claim is against a hospital dentist, it will be handed by NHS Resolution, who are the litigation authority for the NHS.
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