The vast majority of dental professionals do a fantastic job looking after our oral health. However, unfortunately the unthinkable can and all too often does happen, with cases in which clients have suffered from painful injuries as a result of dental negligence on the rise. In this situation, even if an injury is accidental or unintentional, the law entitles you to hold your Dentist to account by granting you the right to claim compensation.
Whilst the law does not step in simply because we suffer pain at the dentists, it does offer us protection if something goes wrong because of a clinical error or some form of malpractice.
Dental injuries are wide ranging, from those that cause minor discomfort, to those that have a serious and long-lasting impact on the injured person. Some of the dental negligence cases that we routinely advise on are:
Making a dental negligence claim in Scotland can be complex. On top of the usual personal injury law and the claims process, it is also necessary to have a thorough knowledge of the latest accepted dental practice. This is because whether or not a dental professional has acted negligently and therefore caused you to suffer an injury must be clearly established, which requires an understanding of the professional medical standards dentists must uphold. Only then, if you have a convincing argument and supporting evidence, will you be entitled to compensation.
The level of compensation you are entitled to for suffering dental negligence depends on the particular circumstances of each individual case, such as the severity of your injuries, your scope for recovery and the impact your injuries have had, and will have, on you. As well as for the pain and suffering of the injury itself, it is also possible to claim for future care, loss of earnings and delays in treatment.
You will normally have three years to begin a compensation claim from the date of the injury or from when you first became aware of the fact that you have received negligent dental treatment.
The majority of dental negligence claims will be based on both medical evidence and the recollections you have of the injury. Therefore, the sooner you decide to begin the process, the more details about the injury you will be able to provide your lawyer with and the more time they will have to build a compelling case, as once the three years have passed, you will not be make a claim.
There is however an exception to this, if you are claiming on behalf of someone who does not have the legal capacity to make his/her own decisions then there will not be any time limit to make a compensation claim.
A similar principal applies to claims on behalf of a child under the age of 16. There will be no time limit for anyone under the age of 16, however, as soon as they turn 16, the three year rule will take effect.
There are a number of factors, which will determine how long the process of settling a dental negligence claim will take, such as gathering & reviewing of evidence, the severity of injury sustained as well as acceptance of responsibility by the third party all contribute to the length of time it will take to settle the claim.
If a claim is relatively straightforward then it can take as little as just few months to settle, whilst a more complicated case can take as long as a few years.
Despite the above timescales, during the process of a dental negligence claim, it is best to ensure that you stay patient. Your lawyer will continue to work tirelessly towards earning the compensation you deserve and holding the individual involved to account.
Throughout the process, your lawyer will keep you informed, providing updates throughout the full process of the claim and answer any questions you may have along the way.
Pursuing a negligence claim can often be a costly process, prohibiting people from accessing the compensation and peace of mind they deserve. However at Jones Whyte, we don’t believe this is fair and as such are able to offer most of our dental negligence cases on a no win no fee basis, which means that if your claim is unsuccessful, you will not need to pay us anything.
As soon as you become aware that you have been injured and you believe your dentist is at fault, you should contact a personal injury lawyer with expertise in dental negligence claims. It is essential that you act quickly, to avoid the three year time constraints set out in the Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973.
Your lawyer will speak to you about your experience, what happened and the effects it has had on you since, review the evidence and advise whether your claim is likely to succeed. If you have a valid claim and you wish to pursue it, your lawyer will first make contact with the party you hold responsible and aim to settle the matter out of court. Where this is not possible, the next step would be to initiate court proceedings in order to seek the rightful compensation for your injury.
At Jones Whyte, we understand the impact dental injuries can have on your physical and emotional health, as well as the financial strain in repairing the damage caused. Where the injury could have been avoided, this can make things even harder to cope with. The lawyers at Jones Whyte are here to support and guide you through the process of claiming compensation owed to you. We have an excellent reputation for putting our clients’ best interests first, and achieving the highest possible amount for them.
If you need advice about a dental negligence claim, please contact our specialist solicitors today on 0141 375 1222 or email
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