If A Dentist Is Negligent, Who Is Liable? – A Guide To Claiming Compensation

In this article, we answer the question, “If a dentist is negligent, who is liable?”. This is the type of question we’re asked when discussing dental negligence claims.

To make a dental negligence claim you must be able to show that the harm you suffered resulted from the dentist breaching the duty of care they owe to patients. So, in this guide, we will examine the eligibility criteria to pursue dental negligence compensation.

We have provided examples of the suffering that could be caused by a negligent dentist. You’ll also read about the types of evidence you could use to build a strong case against a dentist and how dental negligence compensation is calculated using two heads of claim.

Finally, we’ll explain how the solicitors on our panel could help you seek compensation on a No Win No Fee basis if you have a valid case.


Learn How To Claim For Dental Negligence

To help you understand your options, we offer a free consultation regarding dental negligence cases. To arrange yours you can:

Please read on for more information or get in touch if you’d like to discuss a dental negligence claim.

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If A Dentist Is Negligent, Who Is Liable?

So, “If a dentist is negligent, who is liable?”. All dental professionals have a duty of care towards their patients. That means they need to provide a service that is of reasonable skill and care. Should they fail in this duty of care and a patient is harmed avoidably they could be liable.

You may be eligible to make a dental negligence claim if:

  • You were owed a duty of care by a dental professional; and
  • They breached that duty of care; and
  • As a consequence, you suffered physical or psychological harm (or both).

Please feel free to reach out to us so that we can conduct a no-obligation initial assessment of your claim.

When Could You Suffer From Dentist Negligence?

In this section, we look at example scenarios of how you could be harmed by a dentist breaching their duty of care:

  • Where your dentist removed the wrong tooth because they misread your medical notes (or they were not up to date).
  • If gum disease or mouth cancer was negligently missed or misdiagnosed and your condition got worse as a result of delayed treatment.
  • If you suffered nerve damage which affected your ability to eat following a negligently performed root canal procedure.
  • Where your dentist used an anaesthetic containing a drug you were known to be allergic to, and you suffered a reaction.

If you are unsure if you could be eligible to begin a dental negligence claim, why not speak to our team today? If a dentist was negligent, who is liable can be assessed for free.

Is There A Dental Negligence Time Limit?

In any type of dental negligence claim, a 3-year time limit will usually apply. This will start from:

  • The date you were treated by your dentist; or
  • Your date of knowledge if it was not immediately obvious that something had gone wrong.

The Limitation Act 1980 sets out the time limit for medical negligence claims. If you begin the process too late, your case could be statute-barred which could mean you’ll miss out on any compensation you’re entitled to. Please note that there are exceptions to this time limitation.

How long dental negligence claims take to resolve varies from case to case. Factors that can affect the length of the claims process include whether you’re still suffering from your injuries and whether the dental practice accepts liability.

To check if you still have time to claim compensation for dental negligence, please feel free to call one of our advisors.

Evidence That Could Help You In A Dental Negligence Compensation Claim

In all dental negligence cases, you will need evidence to establish a) the extent of your suffering and b) a breach of duty.

The types of evidence you could provide to support your claim include:

  • Photographs of any visible symptoms such as swelling, bruising or bleeding
  • Details about the date, time and location of your treatment plus the details of the dentist who treated you.
  • A diary listing how your symptoms have affected you and when they prevented you from working or participating in other activities.
  • Medical or dental records to show the treatment you had and any subsequent treatment needed to address the harm you suffered.

If you have an eligible dental negligence claim and want expert legal representation a solicitor from our panel could offer their services. As part of the service they provide, they can collect the evidence needed to support such a case.

To check the validity of your claim, why not call us for a no-obligation initial consultation? If a dentist has been negligent, who is liable is key to working out if you could make a dental negligence claim.

How Much Compensation Could You Receive From A Dental Negligence Claim?

Dental negligence payouts in the UK will vary from case to case because they are based on the type of injury, the extent of your suffering, how this has affected your quality of life and financial repercussions.

If your dental negligence claim is successful, your compensation can include up to two Heads of Loss: general damages to cover any pain and suffering; and special damages to recoup any financial losses linked to your injuries.

When calculating how much compensation you might be entitled to, your solicitor will use a report from an independent dental specialist and the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). The JCG details guideline compensation brackets for many different types of injuries.

Our compensation table also uses figures from the JCG, but you should bear in mind that the amounts listed cannot be guaranteed and should only ever be used as a guide.

Compensation Table

Type of Injury Compensation Range Additional Comments
Teeth Up to £38,130 Where there is chronic and significant tooth pain because of an untreated dental abscess for example.
Teeth (i) £8,730 to £11,410 Serious damage or the complete loss of several front teeth.
Teeth (ii) £4,350 to £7,630 Serious damage or the complete loss of to two front teeth.
Teeth (iii) £2,200 to £3,950 Where one front tooth is damaged seriously or lost as a result.
Facial disfigurement (b) £17,960 to £48,420 Very disfiguring facial scarring and, as a result, severe psychological suffering.
Facial disfigurement (c) £9,110 to £30,090 Significant facial scarring which may have been reduced because of plastic surgery.
Jaw Fracture (i) £30,490 to £45,540 Where prolonged treatment and severe pain occur because of multiple fractures.
Jaw Fracture (ii) £17,960 to £30,490 Where the claimant finds it difficult to open their mouth or eating is difficult because of a serious jaw fracture.

Special Damages When Claiming For Dentist Negligence

In successful dental negligence claims, special damages might be included in any compensation payout.

These could cover the cost of:

  • Remedial dental work.
  • Care at home.
  • Lost earnings (including future losses).
  • Travel expenses.

Importantly, you should use receipts, wage slips or bank statements as evidence of any losses you wish to claim back.

If you’d like one of our specialist advisors to help you work out how much compensation for dental negligence you may be entitled to, please get in touch.

Use Our Panel of Solicitors To Make A No Win No Fee Dental Negligence Claim

Should you have a valid case, a dental negligence solicitor from our panel could agree to represent you. If they do they provide No Win No Fee arrangements when they take on a case.

If your claim is taken on, you’ll be sent a No Win No Fee contract called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This means that:

  • You won’t need to pay fees for your solicitor’s work in advance or for the duration of the claims process.
  • You won’t pay your solicitor for their work if the claim is lost.
  • If your claim is won and compensation is paid, a legally capped percentage of it will be deducted as a success fee.

If you get in touch with our team, we’ll check whether you have a valid dental negligence compensation claim for free. If you have an eligible case, we can connect you to a specialist dental negligence solicitor from our panel. For a free assessment of your claim, you can:

Read More About Dental Negligence Cases

Hopefully, this guide has answered the question, “If a dentist is negligent, who is liable?”. In this final section, we’ve added a few links to other resources you might find useful:

Here are some external links that might also be helpful:

Should you need to know anything else about proving liability in dental negligence cases, please get in touch.