If you have sustained an injury or suffered as a direct result of a dental professional’s negligence, you may be entitled to make a compensation claim.
While it is not often discussed, it is much more common than people think, with around 16,000 cases of clinical negligence registered with the Compensation Recovery Unit annually.
Many of the clients we speak to have suffered from dental malpractice and are unsure how to proceed, which is why in this article we will explain everything you need to know about negligence and how to make a compensation claim.
What is dental malpractice?
Dental malpractice occurs when an injury has been directly caused, overlooked or made worse by a dental health professional. This can include situations where poor, incorrect or delayed dental treatment has led to an injury or suffering.
If this type of negligence has happened to you and has caused harm to your physical or mental wellbeing, or has caused financial loss, you may be entitled to make a claim and receive compensation.
What can I make a dental malpractice claim for?
There are a number of reasons why people might decide to claim compensation, including:
- Being wrongly diagnosed or having a delay in diagnosis has led to suffering as a result
- You were not informed of the risks involved in your treatment
- You believe that the correct dental procedures were not followed during your treatment
- Alternative options were not explored before treatment, and you have suffered directly from the treatment you received.
- You were not referred for additional tests after experiencing concerning symptoms (e.g. oral cancer)
- Nerve damage (temporary or permanent) that has led to numbness of the face, lips, and tongue, difficulties eating etc
- When root canal treatment goes wrong, teeth are fractured, or infected bacteria were not removed before a filling, or a crown was installed
- Loss or damage to multiple teeth
- Wrong tooth extraction
- Cosmetic dentistry issues
- Poorly installed fillings
These are just a handful of the most commonly experienced issues that lead to individuals seeking compensation.
If you are unsure whether you can make a claim, don’t hesitate to contact a team member at Wafer Phillips, who will be happy to discuss your case and advise on how best to proceed.
How do you prove dental malpractice?
Proving dental malpractice begins with finding evidence that your treatment fell below acceptable or reasonable standards. However, what is defined as reasonable or acceptable varies between cases.
Claimants may need to prove that if another dental professional treated you in the same circumstances, they would have made different decisions to ensure your wellbeing.
It is important to prove that if the negligence hadn’t occurred, you wouldn’t have been injured, or you wouldn’t have suffered as you did as a result. This can include retrieving dental records from before and after to prove an injury has occurred.
In some cases, this evidence will need to be assessed by a dental expert who is separate from the claim. They will look into the long-term effects of the negligence, as this will affect your compensation claim.
When it comes to collecting evidence, we always recommend that you use a solicitor to act on your behalf. Dental malpractice claims can be complex, and it is important that the appropriate and relevant evidence is collected to create a strong case.
There are some pieces of evidence you can collect yourself, such as records of expenses you have had to pay for as a result of the negligence. This may include private healthcare you received following your treatment to manage any subsequent damage.
You may have also been forced to take time away from work due to the injury.
It is important to make a note of these things as they can be used as evidence in your claim. If you are successful in your compensation claim, these out-of-pocket costs will be awarded as part of the total amount.
How long does a dental malpractice claim take?
Every case is different, and the length of the claim will often depend on the severity of the injury sustained and whether or not your dental practitioner accepts responsibility.
We pride ourselves at Wafer Phillips on working quickly and efficiently to settle cases and get our clients the compensation they deserve, but more complex cases may take longer.
Why should you choose Wafer Phillips Solicitors to make your dental malpractice claim?
For more than 30 years, we have supported victims of dental malpractice and acted on their behalf to achieve a successful compensation claim.
We understand that being injured or suffering as a direct result of negligence can be incredibly difficult to deal with, but our team is here to help.
Our specialist injury claim solicitors can support you through collecting evidence and filing a compensation claim as well as ensuring you receive the correct medical treatment.
Your solicitor will be with you through every step of the process and will continue to work hard to win you the settlement you deserve at the end of the case.
At Wafer Phillips, we adopt a no-win, no-fee policy, with no hidden charges for you to worry about.