This guide examines who could be eligible to start dental negligence claims. We will provide an explanation of the duty of care owed by dental professionals and how failures to uphold this duty can result in patients suffering avoidable harm.
You will find some examples of scenarios of how dental negligence could occur and the types of harm this could lead to. We have also provided information on how dental negligence compensation is calculated following a successful claim.
The final section of this guide explores the benefits to you of working with a solicitor from our panel for your dental negligence claim and the No Win No Fee agreement they can offer.
For an assessment of your potential claim or for answers to any questions you have, our team of advisors are on hand to assist you. You can get in touch using the contact details here:
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- When Can You Make Dental Negligence Claims?
- Examples Of Dental Negligence
- Is There An Average Payout For Dental Negligence?
- What Evidence Could Help You In Dental Negligence Claims?
- Claim For Dental Negligence On A No Win No Fee Basis
- Learn More About Dental Negligence Cases
Whether they work in private or public healthcare, medical professionals owe a duty of care to their patients. There is an expectation imposed on dental practitioners to provide their patients with the correct standard of care during treatment. If the dental professional’s actions fall below this expected standard, this could constitute a breach of their duty of care and could result in patients experiencing avoidable harm.
In order to start a dental negligence claim, the following eligibility criteria need to be satisfied:
- You were owed a duty of care by a medical professional
- There was a breach of this duty by the medical professional.
- Because of this breach, you suffered avoidable harm.
When we say “avoidable harm,” what we are referring to is that, in some cases, a patient may experience further pain and suffering even though the correct standard of care was provided. As an example, you have surgery to remove an infected tooth. This may be painful and cause discomfort, but the surgery was performed correctly and was a necessary treatment to deal with the infection. In this case, you would not be able to claim since no avoidable harm was caused.
The General Dental Council (GDC), the independent regulator for dental professionals in the UK, have outlined what you can expect from your dental professional:
- Providing all necessary information regarding a procedure.
- Knowing the cost of a procedure.
- Ensuring patients understand what the treatment involves.
- Offering information on alternative treatments if available.
To inquire about dental negligence claims, call our team for free advice. You can contact an advisor using the information provided above.
Is There A Time Limit For Starting Dental Negligence Claims?
The Limitation Act 1980 establishes a general limit of 3 years for dental negligence claims. This can be from the date of the negligent action itself, or from the date you first connected the avoidable harm you experienced with the negligent action, referred to as the date of knowledge.
There are some exceptions which can apply. Those under 18 and those of reduced mental capacity cannot start a claim themselves until they reach adulthood or recover their capacity respectively. In both of these instances, a suitable adult can apply to act as a litigation friend on the injured person’s behalf and begin the legal process sooner.
Our advisors can offer further explanations of the relevant time limit
Dental negligence claims could be made for a variety of circumstances. We have provided some example scenarios here:
- An error in your patient notes resulted in the wrong tooth being removed. This led to a worsening in your condition as your infected tooth was not removed until a later date.
- Mistakes during a root canal procedure damaged nerves in your mouth, affecting your ability to eat and talk.
- During a filling procedure, you are given an anaesthetic you are severely allergic to. This allergy was in your records, but the dentist did not adequately check your records before administering treatment. You suffer a serious allergic reaction to the medication.
- A failure to refer you for further tests meant your oral cancer was not diagnosed until it had spread, necessitating a much more aggressive treatment plan.
This is a non-exhaustive list, so if you don’t see your particular circumstances detailed here, you could still claim. Speak to our advisors for further guidance on your eligibility to start a dental negligence claim.
Compensation payouts for dental negligence claims can be comprised of up to two different heads of claim. The first of these, known as general damages, awards for the physical and psychological impact of the negligent action.
In order to value a claim, solicitors can use your medical evidence in conjunction with data from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This document details various types of harm and the guideline award figures for each. We have taken some of the JCG figures to create this compensation table.
As compensation for dental negligence is calculated individually with regard to the respective facts of each case, we cannot make guarantees regarding the compensation you could receive. This table therefore has been provided for guidance purposes only.
|Damage to Teeth||Significant||Up to £38,130||Significant and chronic pain and overall deterioration of tooth condition extending over a number of years, such as from an untreated abscess.|
|Several Front Teeth (i)||£8,730 to £11,410||Loss or serious visible damage to several front teeth.|
|Two Front Teeth (ii)||£4,350 to £7,630||Serious visible damage or loss of two front teeth. Loss of milk teeth will attract a lower award than adult teeth.|
|One Front Tooth (iii)||£2,200 to £3,950||Where a single front tooth has been lost of seriously damaged.|
|Back Teeth (iv)||£1,090 to £1,710||Serious loss or damage to back teeth. Awards in this bracket are calculated per tooth.|
|Facial Disfigurement||Very Severe Scarring||£29,780 to £97,330||Cosmetic effect is very disfiguring and the psychological reaction severe.|
|Skeletal Injuries||Le Fort Fractures of Frontal Facial Bones||£23,810 to £36,740||Fractures of the facial bones.|
|Multiple Fractures of Facial Bones||£14,900 to £23,950||Bones in the face have been broken.|
|Fractures of Jaws (i)||£30,490 to £45,540||Very serious multiple fractures followed by prolonged treatment.|
|Fractures of Jaws (ii)||£17,960 to £30,490||Serious fracture with permanent consequences.|
Any financial losses you have sustained due to the harm you experienced could be reimbursed under special damages as part of your dental negligence compensation. Some possible examples are:
- A loss of earnings due to time taken off work to recover from the harm you have suffered.
- Any out-of-pocket medical costs
- Fees for domestic care
Remember to keep any invoices, receipts, payslips and other documentation as evidence of any monetary losses you experienced.
Our advisors can provide a more detailed estimate of the potential value of your particular claim. You can speak to our team using any of the contact details given below.
Supporting evidence forms a key part of dental negligence claims. We have detailed some possible examples of evidence you could collect here:
- Photographs of the injury itself.
- Keep note of the medical practitioner’s names, and where you were treated.
- A diary of your treatment and symptoms you experience.
- Medical records, as well as any records from further corrective treatment.
- Obtain the contact information of anyone who was in attendance with you for the dental procedure. Their statement could be taken during the claims process to provide further detail as to what happened.
You may benefit from working with a specialist dental negligence solicitor from our panel as they can collect evidence in support of your claim. To get assistance in this regard, speak to our advisors today. After they have decided you have a valid claim, you could be linked with a solicitor from our panel, who could not only provide support with the collection of relevant evidence but also ensure your claim is started within the relevant time limitation period.
Following a cost-free no-obligation assessment of your specific circumstances by our advisors, you could be connected with one of the dental negligence claims specialists from our panel of solicitors if it is decided you have valid grounds to begin legal proceedings.
Our panel can offer a type of No Win No Fee contract called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). By starting your potential claim under a CFA, you will enjoy a number of key benefits. Firstly, in most cases there will not be an upfront fee for the solicitor to begin working on your case. Secondly, you will not be met with any ongoing fees during the claims process itself. Lastly, in the event the claim fails, there will be no fees for the solicitor’s services.
For a successful claim, you will be awarded compensation. The solicitor will deduct a percentage of this compensation as their success fee. The percentage charged as a success fee is subject to a legally binding cap. What this means is, the majority of any awarded compensation will go to you.
Talk to our advisors to enquire about any of the information in this guide, or to potentially start a claim. Our team can assess your particular circumstance and potentially connect you with a solicitor from our panel if you have a valid claim:
See more of our guides
- Read our guide examining whether you need to claim with medical negligence solicitors near you.
- Find out how much money you could be awarded in a medical negligence claim.
- See our medical negligence claims guide here.
Other resources you may find useful
- The NHS has issued guidance on what to do if your NHS dental treatment goes wrong.
- Read more about the standards from the GDC for dental professionals on their site.
- The government issued a press release about improving access to dental care in November of last year.
We’d like to thank you for reading our guide on dental negligence claims. We hope we have provided an informative overview of who could be eligible to claim. To ask any questions you have, or to get a free assessment of your particular circumstances, get in touch with our dedicated team of advisors. Contact them using any of the details provided above.