The vast majority of dentists do excellent work and are rightly trusted by their patients.
However, dental negligence is something that you need to take very seriously if it happens to you, and you may be entitled to compensation.
What is the role of a dental professional?
A dental professional could be a dentist, dental nurse, hygienist, dental surgeon or other professional who offers dental treatment. Their role is to give you the best possible quality of treatment in order to meet your needs and they are typically bound by professional care standards that they are obliged to meet.
They are generally expected to carry out roles such as advising patients on dental care practices, undertaking dental check-ups, diagnosing conditions and carrying out the necessary treatment.
They are also expected to maintain dental records for all the patients they deal with, train staff, keep up to date with the latest dental care developments and manage the budget and other issues relating to their practice.
Suing your dentist – what is dental negligence?
As a general rule, dentists are measured by the abilities of the average competent dentist. This means that if the standards of care offered to you are below this baseline, they could be charged with a claim of dental negligence.
There are a few main forms that dental negligence can be expected to take. The most common ones are:
- Carrying out inadequate dental treatment that falls below the generally accepted minimum standard of care and which leads to an injury.
- Incorrectly diagnosing a dental problem and either failing to carry out necessary work or carrying out the wrong procedure, causing the patient to suffer further.
- Missing a dental problem and therefore failing to treat it, leading to a worsening of the condition..
- Being careless in their work, such as by using the wrong procedures and instruments, using instruments improperly or carrying out procedures improperly.
- Causing the patient to swallow a dental swab or other instrument.
- Using the wrong drug with a patient, using the wrong amount of a drug or failing to administer a drug properly
- Failing to maintain proper records for a patient that are then required at a later date, either for treatment or other purposes
- If any of the above situations have happened to you then you may well have a case of dental negligence and you should seek specialist advice.
What Should I Do If I Think My Dental Professional Has Been Negligent?
If you suspect you might have a case of dental negligence, you should hire a specialist dental lawyer in helping you suing your dentist. They will ask you questions about the treatment you have received and ask for proof as to why you think your dental professional displayed negligent behaviour in their treatment of your case.
Before you can make a professional negligence claim again a dentist or other dental professional , a thorough examination will have to be carried out. This will involve the lawyer examining the evidence you provide them and also investigating the care given by the dentist in question to see how strong your case is.
Assuming that your case is strong enough to proceed with and outside expert advice verifies this, your dental lawyer will then be able to write you what is known as a ‘letter of claim’. This will be sent to the dental professional in question, outlining your case and why you believe that you have a case of dental negligence.
The dentist will then be required to respond within three months of your initial letter, generally through their own legal representation. They will be able to investigate your claim and will then respond accordingly through a ‘letter of response’. Hopefully at this point, you will be able to reach a settlement with the dental professional, but if it is not possible to do this out of court, your dental lawyer will then be able to advise you on start formal professional negligence litigation proceedings at court.
As well as requiring prompt action to treat any personal injury caused by the negligence, if you are thinking of making a medical negligence claim for compensation, you will need to do this within three years of discovering the negligence. As the process can often be quite long and complex, it is important that you start the claims process by speaking to a specialist solicitor as soon as possible. Not only do strict time limits apply, but the sooner you speak to solicitor, the sooner you can start making sure you have hold of the evidence you will need to prove your case.
Suing Dentists – do I need a Lawyer?
It is a very good move to hire a specialist dental lawyer with experience of dealing with dental negligence as they will be able to handle different aspects of your case:
- Investigating the evidence
- Writing a letter of claim on your behalf
- Advising you on the best course of action following the dentist’s response
- Representing you and your interests if the case ends up in court
Thinking of suing your dentist? Contact us today
Regardless of where you live in England or and Wales, if you think you may have been the victim of a Dental Negligence, contact our specialist Dental Lawyers.
When it comes to suing your dentist, you can instruct us by phone, e-mail or Skype, or you can meet face-to-face with your lawyer in one of our offices in Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset.
For a FREE first consultation about suing your dentist please contact our specialist Professional Negligence Lawyers today
- Call us on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 or
- email us using the contact form below:
Comments or questions are welcome.