INJURY*

Damage to Teeth Claims*

Personal injury claims* for damage to teeth is a very common occurrence. Common injuries are loss of teeth, chips, breaks and fractures. Injuries can be caused as a result of a car accident, slip, trip or fall in a public place or workplace accident.

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Who is Liable?

If you have sustained some form of damage to your teeth as a result of negligence of another party you may be entitled to pursue legal action. Dental negligence may also play a part in tooth damage if treated by an inexperienced or negligent dentist. An important part of this claims process is determining who is liable for the cause of your injuries. This will vary depending on the circumstances in which they were sustained.  

Type of Tooth Damage Claims*

Tooth Displacement (Dental Avulsion)

Tooth displacement occurs when a tooth is completely knocked out of its socket. There is a small window of opportunity whereby the tooth may be saved if the following steps are followed:

  • Pick the tooth up by the crown – not by the roots.
  • If dirty wash it under cold water – it is possible to replant the tooth in some cases, a good way to do this is to reposition it and bite down on a piece of cloth and hold it in position.
  • If you cannot follow these steps, storage of the tooth is important – you can do this by keeping the tooth in a glass of milk or you can keep the tooth in your mouth until you reach the dentist or a container with saliva.

Loosened Tooth (Luxation)

A loosened tooth occurs where the tooth is not totally knocked out but is loose enough that it can be moved in different directions. It is important not to move the tooth around too much or too hard with your tongue as you risk it coming loose entirely. It is advisable to seek dental treatment immediately so it can be put back to its original position.

Tooth Fracture

A fracture in a tooth can come in a number of different ways. Tooth fractures can appear as:

  • Lines – extremely small cracks in the enamel – usually do not cause any pain and don’t require treatment.
  • Fractured cusp – a crack that usually occurs around a filling – may cause some light pain and require dental treatment
  • Vertical crack that extends to the gum line – In cases where the crack reached the gum line, the tooth may need to be removed.
  • Split tooth – a crack in the tooth that extends beyond the gum line – depending on the severity of the crack your dentist may need to extract the entire tooth
  • Root fracture – these cracks start below the gum line and travel upwards – if not treated the tooth may become infected and it may need to be removed.

What are the Causes of Damaged Teeth Claims?

Dental Negligence

All dentists are obliged to practice dentistry to the highest of medical standards. Dental negligence claims* arise when a person suffers an injury as a result of dental treatment or their appearance has been affected as a result of dental malpractice*.This can leave the injured person with either temporary or permanent damage to their teeth. If it is found that a dentist has acted in a negligent manner and breached their duty of care then they may be found liable for any damage or injuries which have been caused. It is important to note that dental negligence can also occur during cosmetic dentistry procedures.

Malpractice cases include:

  • Misdiagnosis of medical conditions, such as gum disease or oral cancer
  • Delayed diagnosis of medical conditions, such as gum disease or oral cancer
  • Incorrect tooth extraction
  • Injury as a result of poor standard of dental work
  • Performance of unnecessary dental procedures
  • Severed nerve claim
  • Poor standards of hygiene leading to infection
  • Fractured Mandible claim

Road Traffic Accidents*

Dental injury occurring in a road traffic accident can either be direct or indirect injuries. Direct dental injuries occur when the mouth is stuck by some object during the accident causing the tooth to fall out or crack. Indirect dental injuries occur when the force of the car accident causes the mouth to shut abruptly which leads damage to the teeth.

The accidents occur, and claims are made when the accident is caused by a negligent third party. For example, where another person has broken the rules of the road. It is important to note that these claims can be made by drivers, passengers and pedestrians. As a passenger you are also entitled to make a claim against the driver of the car in which you were travelling. There is a universal expectation that all road users will follow the rules of the road so when this is not done the chances of injuries being sustained becomes higher.

Causes of Tooth Damage

Accident at Work

Following a workplace accident*, it is often the case where the employer who is found liable for any injuries which have been sustained by their employees -provided it is proven that the accident happened as a result of the negligence of the employer in some way.

Employers have a duty of care to their staff to ensure that their health and safety is a priority throughout the course of their work. Failing to do so could result in them being found liable for any accidents that have occurred. As part of this they are required to carry out frequent risk assessments which will help them to both identify and eliminate any hazards which could lead to an injury being sustained by an employee. They are also required to provide adequate training and personal protective equipment (PPE) as this can help to reduce the number of accidents and injuries. Failing to do so is known as employer negligence.

Injuries

  • Fractured teeth
  • Tooth loosened by not fallen out
  • Tooth fell or was knocked out

Causes of Tooth Damage

Accidents in a Public Place

In public places, whether it be shops, supermarkets, business premises, public parks, playgrounds or simply walking along a footpath, there is an expectation that the area would be relatively risk and danger free. In cases where the owner/occupier of a public place or business premises failed to uphold their duty of care and not provide a risk free environment and you can prove that your dental injury* could have been avoided if the occupier had taken necessary steps to provide a hazard free environment, then you may be entitled to pursue legal action.

Causes of Tooth Damage

  • Slip and fall on a wet floor in a shop/supermarket
  • Trip and fall over uneven flooring
  • Fall in a stair well because of broken or inadequate handrails
  • Tip and fall because of inadequate lighting
  • Slip and fall on wet floor/broken glass in a pub or nightclub
  • Tripping on a pot hole or poorly maintained footpath
  • Accidents in playgrounds and public parks

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How do I make a claim?

Once you have gathered all the relevant information in relation to your injury it is then time to move forward with your claim. It is important to use a personal injury* solicitor to help you with this.

  1. Prepare the information for a solicitor

    When you decide you want to move forward with your injury claim* it is important to have all the relevant information to hand when contacting a solicitor. Important information to have on hand at this point is:

    • Date of the accident
    • Location of the accident
    • Details of who/what caused the accident
    • Specifics of what happened
    • Who did you report the accident to?
    • If any emergency services attended the scene, and their details
    • Details of your injuries
    • Hospitals/Doctors attended with your injury
    • Any pictures you may have taken of the scene of the accident and/or your injuries
    • Details of any witnesses
    • Is there CCTV that may have captured the accident?
  2. Solicitor becomes your trusted advisor

    As a solicitor is aware of the injury claim* process they can avoid any legal bumps in the road you might encounter if you did this yourself. It is their job to be your trusted advisor on all legal matters throughout your case.

  3. Solicitor obtains a medical report

    The most important document needed to prove your injuries is your medial report. The reason a solicitor will ask for your doctor’s details or if you have attended the hospital is so they can obtain all the medical reports required to pursue the case for you.

  4. Solicitor prepares the Injuries Board application

    As soon as your solicitor has gathered all the information, your injury claim* will be submitted to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board for assessment. You solicitor will do this for you. Once the Injuries Board assess your claim your solicitor will revert with a suggested settlement amount. At this stage you have a choice to accept the Injuries Board assessment or reject it and move the next steps.

    At this point one of two scenarios will unfold:

    a. If both you and the party at fault accept the Injuries Board assessment, your case is settled and the person at fault will be ordered to pay settlement to you.

    b. If either you or the person at fault reject the Injuries Board assessment, then you move to the next stage and your solicitor will issue legal proceedings.

  5. Possible case outcomes

    Before you start to concern yourself with court and everything that comes with it, it’s important to understand that only a very small percentage of cases actually make it to a courtroom.

    Settlement meetings will be arranged where a settlement can be negotiated. Most cases are settled at this point without ever having to step foot into a courtroom and remember it’s your solicitor’s job to be with you every step of the way, right beside you to ensure that your best interests are met at all stages. Your solicitor is to be your trusted advisor throughout the process and to let you focus of your recovery, as they focus on settling your case.

At Tracey’s we make law accessible to all — regardless of your knowledge or experience with the claims process. For more information and a confidential discussion on your car accident, phone 01 649 9900 where you can speak with a member of our team straight away, or email ask@traceysolicitors.ie to tell us about your case.

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Case Settlement

If you are to proceed with an injury claim* you may be entitled to claim compensation for the injury and added expenses you may have incurred. These claims are called damages.

General Damages

General damages are non-financial damages such as pain and suffering and/or physical and emotional injuries following an accident*.

Special Damages

Special damages are out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of the injury*, for example, loss of earnings (if you are out of work), medical bills, and added travel costs as a result of the injury (for example, travel to and from the hospital). Learn more about Special Damages

Material Damages

Material damage refers to damage caused to your personal property. For example, in a road traffic accident, the material damage would be the damage to your car.

What are the Legal Time Limits?

The statute of limitations are the legal time limits on how long you have to make a claim — these vary depending on the situation. The general rule for most personal injury cases* is that the person has two years from the date of the accident or date of knowledge of the accident* to make a claim for compensation. Contacting a solicitor to discuss your case will help you in determining how long you have left to make a claim.

Learn more about Time Limits

About Tracey Solicitors

We draw on more than 30 years of experience in personal injury law to provide you with expert advice and legal services.

We’re here to help you with your claim, and will work with you to ensure you understand every step of your legal journey.

Contact Us

Our friendly and experienced team are waiting to answer your call. Lines are open Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm.

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