My teenage daughter is distraught after losing her tooth at the dentist; can she make a claim for losing a tooth due to an error made by a dentist?
Your teenage daughter may be eligible to receive compensation as part of a claim for losing a tooth due to an error made by a dentist, however if she is under the age of eighteen she will not be able to pursue a dentist error compensation claim on her own behalf because she is still a minor. Under UK law minors are not permitted to make a claim on their own behalf or advise a solicitor. However you or another legal guardian may be able to represent her in her claim, acting as her “litigation friend”.
However, the UK Statute of Limitations, which allows potential claimants up to three years to pursue a claim starting from the date an injury is sustained, applies somewhat differently when it comes to the amount of time a minor has to pursue a claim. Because your daughter cannot make a claim until she is eighteen, this means that the three year time limit will not begin until she turns eighteen. This in turn means that she will have until she is twenty one to make a claim for losing a tooth due to an error made by a dentist. Should you wish to wait until she can pursue the dentist error compensation claim on her own behalf, the option is there.
Nevertheless, it is still advisable for you and your daughter to contact a claims solicitor with experience in dealing with such claims like losing a tooth at the dentist due to an error claims at the first possible moment. Although it may seem like she has plenty of time to make a claim, it would be best to know if her claim is sufficiently strong while the evidence is still recent. Furthermore it can be difficult to establish negligence in a claim for dental negligence, so the more time your solicitor has to gather evidence, the better. He or she will write to the dental professionals involved in your daughter’s tooth loss and obtain all of the relevant dental documentation associated with the procedure in which she lost her tooth. This information will be presented to a panel of independent dental experts who will determine whether or not tooth loss was a demonstration of negligence or if it could not have been avoided.
If they conclude that your daughter’s tooth loss was preventable then it is likely your solicitor will begin the claims process. Once the negligent party admits liability, negotiations for the amount of compensation your daughter should be entitled to will begin. They will evaluate how much her claim is worth by taking into consideration a number of factures such as her age, sex, the pain and suffering experienced due to her tooth loss, the cost of a replacement tooth and the impact her tooth loss has had on her quality of life. You say your daughter is distraught; it is possible that she has suffered some emotional trauma as a result of her losing a tooth at the dentist due to an error, especially given her age. It would be advisable for her to see a counsellor to discuss her feelings and also maintain a diary keeping note of any instances that her tooth loss has prevented her from taking part in everyday life.
The information provided here is general advice regarding pursuing claim for losing a tooth due to an error made by a dentist, it is no alternative to the specific legal advice a professional solicitor will be able to provide. Therefore it is recommended that you make an appointment for a consultation at the first possible moment.