Six-figure claims against dentists quadruple in a decade

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The number of claims exceeding £100,000 against dentists has quadrupled in a decade, according to the Dental Defence Union.

According to www.dentistry.co.uk the Union managed to settle eleven claims that went over the £100,000 threshold in 2015. It only dealt with two in 2006.

The Union has said that it has paid nearly £5 million in compensation cases that exceeded £100,000. The largest claim, for £120,000, was awarded to a patient for failure to diagnose and treat periodontal disease leading to tooth loss.

John Makin, head of the Union, was reported by dentistry.co.uk to have said: “We are seeing disturbing rises in the cost of clinical negligence claims and a surge of claims exceeding £100,000 against our dental members”.

“These payments are no reflection on clinical standards, which remain high, but rather a result of a combination of rising patient expectations and the availability of no win no fee arrangements for clinical negligence claims,” he said.

“It is telling that over the last three years, we have paid out more in claimant’s solicitors’ legal costs than in compensation to patients.

He added that despite legal reforms to make the fees lawyers charge in personal injury cases more proportionate to the damages received by the patient, the combination of the increases in the size and number of compensation claims was leading to “a toxic mix, in which indemnity is becoming more expensive for individual dental professionals”.

 

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Marek Handzel

Marek Handzel is the editor of Claims Magazine. Marek welcomes articles, letters, or feedback from readers and can be reached by emailing marek.handzel@barkerbrooks.co.uk