Dental injuries are perhaps not the most common type of injury when you think of a personal injury claim. Cases can range from anything between a simple broken tooth, where a full recovery is made within a short period of time, to cases where individuals require lifelong dental treatment as a result of the accident.
A dental injury could be sustained in any number of ways including:
Who is at fault for a dental injury will depend on the accident circumstances. In an accident at work it could be the employer. If the injury is caused by a trip or fall on the highway, the council is likely to be responsible. In a road traffic accident, another car driver may be at fault.
As with all personal injury claims, once liability (fault) has been established, it is necessary to prove the extent of the injury by obtaining medical evidence. A dental expert is instructed to comment on the injury and whether there is a causative link to the accident.
The expert will also comment on the treatment that is required as a result of the accident and only this is a recoverable cost from the defendant. Therefore, if an individual has a broken tooth as a result of the accident, the cost of replacing the tooth will be recoverable, but if they have not been to the dentist in the last 5 years and require fillings, this won’t be recoverable as it is not linked to the accident.
The psychological impact of dental injuries can be severe. In cases where front teeth are missing this may prevent the injured person from leaving the house, attending work and relationships may be affected. If treatment is delayed or particularly extensive this can have a negative impact on an individual’s wellbeing. The incident itself causing the dental injuries is often quite traumatic. As a result, psychological injuries are often associated with dental injuries.
In serious cases, some accidents involving dental injuries can also include jaw injuries. If a jaw is fractured, it can lead to it becoming displaced resulting in clicking, an altered bite as well as permanent numbness and the risk of osteoarthritis. In these cases maxillofacial and dental surgeons also need to comment on the injuries.
Dental injuries are valued in the same way as other personal injury claims; by considering case law and also by using the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). All cases are different and the value of compensation awarded will depend on the severity of the injury, the amount of treatment that is required as well as the day to day restrictions and difficulties following the accident.
In addition, other losses and expenses such as loss of earnings, travel or medical expenses may be claimed. Start your claim today
A claim for a dental injury must be brought (submitted to the court) within three years of the date you suffered an injury or three years of you being aware that you have suffered an injury. There is an exception for children under the age of 18 years who have until they reach their 21st birthday to submit their claim to court.
In cases involving serious injuries, individuals should seek treatment immediately. In other cases, it is still important to visit your dentist for treatment as soon as possible. Whilst dental treatment can be organised through the claim this often happens at a later date. It is important for individuals to obtain treatment at their local dentist as we will request the dental to support the case.
Initially, if treatment does not take place on the NHS, individuals will have to pay for the treatment themselves. If liability is admitted and it is proved that the injuries were caused by the accident, the cost of past and future treatment can be claimed from the defendant. The amount of treatment will be considered by the medical expert.
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