Dental malpractice also known as dental negligence refers to actions or inactions, all forms of negligent treatment including failure of your dentist to provide you with the right quality of dental care leading to avoidable harm, injury, pain, trauma or other complications.
This may include misdiagnosis which may be in the form of wrong diagnosis, delayed diagnosis or failure to diagnose. It may also be in the form of delayed or incorrect treatment, prescription errors, dental surgery errors, failure to in and other mistakes during dental treatment.
Not only does dental errors affect the individual physically, the individual will also suffer psychologically, socially and financially. This is why dental malpractice claims have to be made so that you can get a deserved compensation amount to cover for your losses and access further medical care to treat whatever complications or psychological problems that have arisen as a result of the negligent treatment.
Dental Malpractice Claims therefore refers to the action of an individual to sue a dentist or other dental health professional for negligence which has resulted in avoidable harm, injury or trauma. To do this, you need to meet your dental medical malpractice attorney to guide you on how to make your claims.
Dental Malpractice Cases In The UK
With the volume of dental treatments carried out in the UK each year and in the NHS, dental malpractices are inevitable. About 40 million dental treatments are carried out yearly with dental extractions (24%) being the most common cause of dental negligence claims. Other dental treatments that lead to dental malpractice claims include root canal treatment (20%) and dental filling treatments (17%).
What Constitutes Dental Malpractice?
There are different actions of dental professionals which can be termed as dental malpractice and they include the following;
- Misdiagnosis of the dental condition including delayed diagnosis, wrong diagnosis and failure to diagnose
- Performing the wrong treatment
- Failing to refer the patient to a specialist for further expert attention
- Failing to carry out the proper tests or x-ray before making diagnosis
- Incorrect reading of test or x-ray results
- Carrying out root canal treatment on wrong tooth
- Extracting the wrong tooth
- Avoidable or unnecessary nerve damage
- Damage to the wrong tooth during a dental procedure
- Poorly performing the dental treatment such as failing to properly perform a cavity feeling, root canal therapy or fitting of oral prostheses
- Dental surgery mistakes including anaesthesia errors
If you or your loved one has suffered any of these dental malpractice cases, you have the right to meet a dental medical malpractice attorney to discuss your dental claims. This may be dental malpractice leading to root canal on wrong tooth, dental malpractice leading to nerve damage, dental implant malpractice or any form of dental negligence you have suffered. Your medical negligence lawyers specializing in dental negligence claims will evaluate if you have a claim and proceed to give you the right legal advice on how to make your claims.
Dental Malpractice Claims We Undertake
At Medical Negligence Direct, these are some of the types of dental malpractice claims we handle.
- Cosmetic Dentistry Malpractice Claims
- Dental Nerve Damage Claims
- Oral Cancer Malpractice Claims
- Periodontal Disease Malpractice Claims
- Restorative Dentistry Claims
- Maxillofacial Dentistry Claims
- Dental Implant Malpractice Claims
We also have specialist dental negligence solicitors who have the expertise to handle all kinds of dental malpractice cases you may have. Our solicitors are friendly, understanding and empathetic. They will discuss your situation with you, make a free claim evaluation to determine if you have strong grounds for a claim and then proceed to advise you accordingly.
Our solicitors are very professional and dedicated to ensure that you get the justice you deserve. Our lawyers are registered with prestigious associations in the industry including the Action Against Medical Accident (AvMA) solicitors’ panel, and the Law Society’s panel for clinical negligence solicitors.
We are here to support you in whatever way you require, lift up the burden from you and give you a shoulder to lean on in your difficult time.
How To Report If Your Dentist Treats You Negligently?
When you suffer dental malpractice, you may want to make a formal report expressing your dissatisfaction over the quality of care you received.
In the case of NHS malpractice, you can contact the NHS PALS– (a body set up to look into issues patients have with the quality of care they received in NHS service centres) for guidelines on how to make a formal report.
Your report can be directed to the NHS commissioning body and should include details of the treatment you received, the dentist who attended to you and every other relevant information. This should be done within 12 months of experiencing the negligent treatment.
On the other hand, if the treatment was received while in a private establishment, then you can make your report to the management of the hospital.
After this first resolution stage, you can take your complaints further if you are not satisfied with the way it was handled. Here you can make your complaints to the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) in the case of the NHS or to the Independent Healthcare Sector Complaints Adjudication Service in malpractice cases done in a private hospital.
How To Prove Dental Malpractice?
To do this, you first need to establish the fact that negligence occurred. This means that you have to be ready to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you suffered an incident of negligence from your dentist and that you sustained injuries, suffered trauma or other health complications as a result. Additionally, you have suffered other damages to your general wellbeing as a result.
For instance, you will need to show how the injury suffered has impacted your quality of life negatively physically, emotionally, socially and financially.
In a nutshell, what we are trying to say is that to prove dental malpractice, you need to demonstrate Liability and Causation.
By liability you show that indeed the dentist owed you a responsibility to care for and provide you with the right standard of care. This is known as “Duty Of Care”; but that the dentist failed in this duty of care towards you by acting negligently.
By causation, you establish a direct causal link between the negligent treatment and the injury, trauma or complication suffered. If you are only able to prove liability without showing causation, you claim cannot be successful.
Vital documents which are needed to prove dental malpractice include the following;
- Detailed statements of all events that transpired and how they happened. Also include the dentist or dental professional involved, how you were affected by their actions and every other relevant information
- Your medical records, tests and x-ray results
- Witness statements from family and friends
- Evidence of financial losses incurred- this will include past, present and estimated future financial losses
- Pictures showing extent of damage
In addition to these, our medical negligence solicitors will make available for you an independent dental expert who will carry out further medical examinations on you and make reports.
We are ready to assist you make available these documents and whatever other documents which may be required as it pertains to your case.
How To Sue My Dentist For Being Negligent?
- The first step to sue your dentist for dental negligence is to speak with your solicitor. When you approach us to represent you, we will assign to you a personal dental malpractice solicitor who will listen to your story, make a professional assessment of your claims and see to it that you receive the best possible legal representation throughout the entire duration of the claims.
- Next is to fund your claims using any of the funding types which are available for your case.
- Gathering of facts, documents and other information to serve as evidence follows
- Next is to establish liability based on the evidence gathered and write a letter of claim to the defense party. It is also important to register the claim in court at this point. While this does not necessarily mean that the claim will go to a trial, it actually ensures that both parties play their roles effectively to ensure a smooth and quick resolution.
- Where the defense party accepts liability, both parties can agree on a favorable settlement fee. If the reverse is the case, the case will be presided over by a judge.
- At the end of a successful claim, the claimant receives the right amount of compensation taking into account the losses incurred, pain and suffering as well as future prognosis.
Average Settlement For Dental Malpractice UK
The compensation you will receive for your claim is not fixed but varies from one dental malpractice case to another meaning that different dental claims will receive different dental malpractice settlement amounts.
Therefore, dental malpractice nerve damage settlements will definitely be different from settlements from dental implant claims.
Our dental malpractice solicitors can however give you a realistic idea of what you can expect as your settlement fee using our medical negligence claims calculator.
Dental Malpractice Statute Of Limitations
The statute of limitations states that an individual has three years from the date the malpractice occured or when you first became aware of the negligent treatment to make a claim. If a claim is not made within this period, it will be statute barred.
There are, however, some exceptions to this rule. During our free consultation session, our solicitors will explain in greater details what these exceptions are and how they apply.
How Our Solicitors Assist Clients Who Come With Dental Malpractice Claims?
With our conditional fee agreement policy, our dental medical malpractice attorney will represent you without you having to pay a dime throughout the entire claims process. You are also protected from having to pay a dime if your claims are not successful.
However, representing you through our No Win No Fee or Conditional Fee Agreement means that we will deduct a 25% success fee from your total compensation award after the completion of a successful claim.