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Law-Med Solicitors

Blake House

Blake Street

York

YO1 8QG

graham@law-med.co.uk 

Tel - 0800-009-63-12

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All Solicitors approved by Law-Med

are authorised and regulated by the

Solicitors Regulatory Authority and

carry  full indemnification 

Accreditation Clinical Negligence colour

Dental Claims Frequently Asked Questions 

What is dental negligence?

Dental negligence is perhaps best described as an injury that has been caused by a dentist because they failed to take reasonable care. Any case where a dentist has performed badly or  toward a patient, could potentially lead to a negligence compensation claim. This could include work carried out by anyone at the clinic.

 

What is dental malpractice?

Dental malpractice is what Americans frequently refer to instead of Dental Negligence, it is however, gaining ground in the UK as a “turn of speech” as more and more searches are performed online using American search engines.   

 

What is a dental claim?

Its slang really, as technically this could refer to a claim on a dental insurance policy. In the circumstances of negligence though, it refers to the process of evidencing a legal action for negligence against a dentist. This action is the “claim” for the purposes of “bringing a claim” – Its confusing yes, just call us if you get stuck with all this, it’s a lot easier to talk it through.

 

 

How long does a dental negligence claim take?

Typically between 18 and 24 months but a lot depends on the dentist, if they fight the claim, it could take longer, if they admit the claim (most do) it could be wrapped up within 3-6 months (that would be a very quick though).

 

 

Can you sue a dentist for breach of contract?

 

Yes.

You could even sue them for both breach of contract and negligence (assuming they are responsible for both) some claims cannot succeed in negligence but could in contract, it’s a difficult decision that and one that needs a lot of thought and investigation first but it is possible.

 

 

How to sue a dentist

Don’t try it yourself, 2. Find a Solicitor you Trust. 3. Tell them the full story and let them do it for you, most claims settle because most dentists are reasonable sensible people who have just made a mistake, however, what you are entitled to and what the value of a claim is not a matter for an amateur, even most dentists don’t understand the complexities.

 

 

Can I claim against an NHS dentist?

Yes.

In fact it makes no difference whether you are a private patient or a NHS patient, or whether you paid £25.00 or £2500.00. You are still entitled to the same compensation, clearly your refunded charges will be different but the compensation for your injury won’t be.

 

How to complain about a dentist

Write to the practice setting out your concerns, give them at least 3 weeks to acknowledge it. If they don’t or you are not happy with what they say, call us or any other dental solicitor If you are happy with the response – might be worth a call to us anyway, ultimately sometimes a refund is not good enough. 

You could complain to NHS England (assuming your dentist was treating you in a NHS clinic) If you still don’t get a decent response, you can contact the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, by calling 0345 015 4033

If you feel the Dentist is a risk to other patients and the complaint is much more serious then, you can contact the General Dental Council directly, who are the regulatory body for all dental professionals in the UK.

 

How much money might I get for dental negligence?

You will get a total from your refunded treatment fees, an amount for the pain and suffering and how it has affected you, an amount for future treatment costs and amount for expenses, you will get interest on top. How much this all adds up to will be different for everyone as the injuries are different. However a typical moderate claim usually pays out around £7500.00 a small one about £2500.00 and a big one could be £300,000.00 or more.

 

What are the reasons to sue a dentist

Generally, these fall into 3 groups.

Misdiagnosis – ie they have done the wrong work or given the wrong advice.

Failure of diagnosis – ie they just haven’t done the work or given the right advice.

Careless treatment – resulting in a traumatic extraction, a badly performed root canal treatment or even permanent nerve damage.

 

 

How long is dental work guaranteed for?

That depends on the work, there may be different guarantees for the dental work than for the materials used.  So for instance if you have fitted: Crowns, Bridges, Veneers or Inlays these may have different guarantees to fillings or dentures. Also some treatments (Implants) have failure guarantees that sometimes mean in immediate refund if they don’t integrate.

Dental work generally though is difficult to pin down in terms of say “how long should a filling last” as it really depends on the size of the filling and where the filling was.

 

How long do I have to make a dental negligence claim?

First, forget the 3 year limitation rule that you may have read about, many solicitors just don’t understand dental claims and you can find yourself rejected for the wrong reasons. In dental work perhaps more than any other, its impossible for a patient to know when something has gone wrong. Not always of course, but regularly years can pass before anything comes to light. Don’t worry about this call and discuss and we should be able to flesh out the date. If not then we can look at the records for you, however, just don’t be put off calling.