Dentist Malpractice Compensation Claims

If you have undergone substandard dental treatment, or have been injured due to negligent dental treatment, you may be able to claim for your pain and suffering by making dental malpractice compensation claims. A visit to the dentist can be a highly unpleasant experience at the best of times; however it should never result in a personal injury being sustained due to a poor professional performance by your dentist. When avoidable mistakes are made and patients are injured as a result, you may be entitled to claim compensation for dental malpractice.

Dentists usually complete dental work to a very high standard, and patient care in Ireland is mostly first rate. Some dental treatment may not have the intended effect and if no competent dentist could have been expected to perform a treatment to a better standard, it may not always be possible to make dentist malpractice compensation claims. However, when a procedure is completed unnecessarily, dental work is performed to a poor standard or when incompetence or carelessness causes you to sustain an avoidable injury, you should be eligible to claim dentist malpractice compensation.

When Can Dentist Malpractice Compensation Claims Be Made?

As with any personal injury sustained due to the negligence of a medical practitioner, it is necessary to establish and prove that a mistake has been made which could have been avoided and that there has been a failure in a duty of care. A dentist owes a patient a duty of care to ensure that procedures are only carried out when necessary and are completed to a high standard. Compensation claims for dentist malpractice are only possible when it can be demonstrated that this duty of care has been breached.

There are many scenarios following which dentist malpractice compensation claims can be made. The following list is not exhaustive, but details the most common reasons for making dentist malpractice compensation claims in Ireland.

  • Nerve damage
  • Anaesthesia errors
  • Post-surgery Infections
  • Extraction of healthy teeth
  • Careless dental procedures
  • Damage to teeth and gums
  • Loose fillings, crowns and implants
  • Misdiagnosis of a dental condition
  • Failure to diagnose a dental problem
  • Failure to get authorisation for a procedure

Eligibility to Make Dentist Malpractice Compensation Claims

In order to be eligible to make dentist malpractice compensation claims in Ireland, a patient must have suffered a personal injury as a result of the action – or inaction – of a dentist or dental nurse. The personal injury must have been avoidable had the dentist in question taken an alternative course of action or performed a treatment such as a surgical procedure with greater care.

A dentist should have had the necessary knowledge to correctly identify a dental condition and arrange for the appropriate treatment to be administered. In the case of a misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose a dental condition, a lack of knowledge or skill is grounds for claiming dentist malpractice compensation. In any dentist malpractice compensation claim it must be demonstrated that, when faced with a similar set of circumstances, a competent dentist would have performed a procedure correctly, made a correct diagnosis of a dental or medical problem and – by doing so – avoided an injury to a patient from being sustained.

There may not always be one method of treating a condition and, by choosing a particular treatment, it does not necessarily mean that the dentist has acted in a negligent manner. An example would be when a dentist prescribes antibiotics which may differ from those prescribed by another dentist. If the antibiotic treatment chosen by your dentist failed, and a more conventional choice would have succeeded, this may not in itself amount to dentist negligence. Only if under the circumstances, the body of evidence would suggest that “on the balance of probabilities” the antibiotics prescribed were clearly incorrect, could dentist malpractice compensation claims be made.

Dentist malpractice compensation claims are usually far more complex and, as a result dentist malpractice compensation claims are not assessed by the Injuries Board Ireland. If you have suffered due to a poor professional performance by a dentist, then your eligibility to claim compensation for dentist malpractice must be thoroughly assessed by a dentist malpractice solicitor.

The Statute of Limitations and Dentist Malpractice Compensation Claims

If you are considering a claim for dentist malpractice compensation in Ireland, you only have two years of an injury being sustained or, in the case of a disease or infection contracted, within two years of the disease being correctly diagnosed. The time limit is imposed by the Irish Statute of Limitations and it is exceptionally rare that the timeframe for making dentist malpractice compensation claims would be extended past this time limit. By ensuring compensation claims for dentist malpractice are made close to the time of the injury, it gives the victim and their solicitor the maximum chance to establish and prove negligence.

Dentist malpractice compensation claims for children and the mentally handicapped are dealt with differently by the Irish Statute of Limitations. The two year time limit still applies; however the limitation period does not start in any dentist negligence compensation claims for children until they reach their eighteenth birthday. For the mentally handicapped, the limitation period may never start, unless they regain the mental capacity to make a claim.

Dentist Malpractice Compensation Claims – Summary

If you believe that you have sustained an avoidable injury due to the negligence of your dentist, you should seek legal advice from a specialist dental negligence solicitor about claiming compensation. Compensation claims for dentist malpractice can be highly complex and will require thorough investigation before they can be filed. Since it will be necessary to base a claim on medical facts and opinions, experts will need to be consulted to establish that the actions – or inaction – of a dentist directly caused an injury, and that a competent dentist “at the time and in the same circumstances” could have avoided your personal injury from being sustained.

If you are eligible to make dentist malpractice compensation claims, the experience of a specialist dentist malpractice solicitor will maximise your likelihood of making a successful claim and of recovering your full entitlement to dentist malpractice compensation.