Will I have to go to court to resolve a claim for orthodontic surgeon negligence?
Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor
Editor in Chief
It is unlikely that you will need to go court to resolve a claim for orthodontic surgeon negligence, as if you solicitor does not feel that you have a viable claim for negligent orthodontic treatment, he or she would not advise you to proceed with legal action.
In order to establish whether you have a claim for compensation for orthodontic surgeon negligence which is worth your while to pursue, your solicitor would engage the services of an independent dental expert to ascertain whether the treatment you received was sub-standard and represented a poor professional performance.
If this is the case, your solicitor would then send a ‘Letter of Claim’ to the orthodontist – or the clinic/hospital to which they are attached – advising the orthodontist that you are making a compensation claim for negligent orthodontic treatment, supporting the letter with the evidence of alleged negligence compiled by the dental expert and inviting the orthodontist to make an offer of settlement.
Most claims are settled this way and your solicitor will have calculated how much compensation for negligence by an orthodontic surgeon you should be entitled to so that, when an offer is forthcoming, your solicitor will be able to advise you without delay whether the offer represents a fair settlement of your claim. If the solicitor believes that the offer of compensation for negligence by an orthodontic surgeon is inadequate for the pain and suffering you have experienced, he or she will go back to the orthodontist´s insurers and negotiated a more suitable settlement.
If liability for your orthodontic injury is denied, your solicitor would discuss with you the options available and their potential costs. Your solicitor could issue court proceedings, which may prompt an offer of settlement without an acknowledgement of liability if the orthodontist´s insurers believe that you have a strong claim for orthodontic surgeon negligence.
This is likely to result in an out-of-court settlement before a hearing is required and, provided that the offer of settlement is adequate and would cover the cost of any remedial treatment you require, your solicitor should advise you to accept it.
However, before going through all of the above procedures, it would be necessary for you to discuss with your solicitor the treatment you were undergoing at the time, the injury you received and the information you have been provided with about how the injury was caused and what your orthodontist intends doing to reverse the cause of your injury.
As a poor professional performance in a claim for orthodontic surgeon negligence is easier to establish when evidence of alleged negligence is at its most recent, it is recommended that you contact a solicitor at the first possible opportunity.