Niche expertise for risk assessment in dental claims

I’ve come across a number of cases recently where good claims nearly didn’t get off the ground because they were screened by people who lacked sufficient niche knowledge to risk assess a potential dental claim.  Fortunately, I was able to  assist, given my dental background:

  1. An ATE insurer turned down a case where a numb lip resulted from removal of a lower wisdom tooth without consent or even good reason, on the basis that the tooth was  diseased and needed to be taken out.  It was neither – it was the tooth in front which was diseased and needed to be taken out.  As I’ve said elsewhere – the numbering system(s) for teeth can cause all sorts of problems.  I was able to provide a positive prospects of success advice which enabled the case to be taken on for the claimant.
  2. A panel solicitor turned down a case involving undiagnosed gum disease, where reference in the records to “apical periodontitis”, which usually describes a problem having affected  the nerve of a tooth – an endodontic problem, affecting one specific tooth –  was misunderstood as being a reference to “periodontitis” ie gum disease.  I was able to clarify the true position and the claimant subsequently achieved a very favourable  out of court settlement.
  3. Solicitors consulted by an insurance company  for a client who had BTE insurance expressed the view that there would be “difficulty in proving causation” in a case where a dentist had failed to do anything about a poorly fitting complex bridge for approximately 18 months, by which time one of the supporting teeth was decayed beyond saving. The client appealed to the insurance company who said that if she obtained supportive advice from a barrister regarding foreseeable causation, they would instruct  another solicitor with the requisite “dental” expertise  to take the case, as they did not have a solicitor on their panel with this knowledge.  I was able to provide a supportive positive assessment of prospects and advise on next steps having assessed the papers, and the insurance company reimbursed the client for the cost of obtaining my advice accordingly.

A preliminary advice on merits from an experienced dental barrister can assist with investigating a potential claim and advising on next steps accordingly.

Contact Heather Beckett:

Instructing solicitors, insurers and potential direct public access clients are warmly invited to contact Heather at Goldsmith Chambers:

Phone: 0207 353 6802, requesting to speak to one of the Civil clerks

Or e-mail my clerks on