Ouch! Personal Injury Caused By Dental Negligence

Let’s face it, you would search far and wide to find an individual who claimed they enjoyed going to the dentist.  Most people either put off visiting the dentist for as long as they can, or reluctantly slink into a dental chair once a year, and pray that there will be no need for the dreaded drill to be turned on.

When Dental Work Goes Wrong

We do not often think about the risks we take when obtaining dental treatment.  However, as a case from earlier this year highlights, the type of personal injury that can be caused if a dental practitioner is negligent can be life-changing.

In September 2011, an aspiring model was put under general anaesthetic in Birmingham City Hospital in order to have three teeth removed.  She woke up from procedure in agony, and after demanding an explanation from staff, discovered she had received a large burn on the side of her mouth as a result of the operation.  The hospital admitted responsibility for the injury after it was found that similar incidents had happened before. The young woman is awaiting settlement for lost earnings and further treatment to correct the scarring.  Unfortunately, her dreams of a successful modelling career have been dashed.

Other types of injuries that can be caused by dental negligence include:

  • Failure to diagnose or properly treat gum disease
  • Failure to explain the risks involved in a particular procedure, or discuss all treatment options available to the patient
  • Complications caused by badly fitted crowns, or negligence in other cosmetic procedures
  • Sub-standard root canal work

If you receive an injury due to the negligence of your dental practitioner, you may have a right to claim for compensation.  It is important to remember that dental practitioners take out professional indemnity insurance to cover any claims for damages.  If you have suffered damage due to negligent dental treatment that requires you to spend additional money on fixing the original work, then it is fair and reasonable that the professional responsible for the original situation foot the bill via their insurance.

Proving Dental Negligence

To prove dental negligence, you must firstly show that the dental practitioner owed you a duty of care.  If they have taken you on as a client, then this is usually proof enough that they in fact owed you a duty.  Secondly, the victim must show, on the balance of probabilities, that the dental practitioner breached his or her duty of care to you, and that given a similar set of circumstances, another practitioner would have acted differently.  Often, this second point requires expert testimony to be given in court.

Is No Win No Fee Available for Dental Negligence Claims?

It is possible to bring a dental claim using a no win no fee basis. This can save you a lot of anxiety as you can have the confidence to bring a claim for compensation, knowing that you will not be required to pay legal costs of you are unsuccessful.

To enquire about making a claim for negligent treatment by a dental practitioner, contact our office today.  Our experienced solicitors will take the time to listen to your situation and advise you as to whether or not you have a viable claim.

The Consequences of a Secondary Brain Injury caused by Medical Negligence

On 29th December 2013, Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher suffered a serious brain injury caused by a fall while skiing, where he hit his head on a rock. Michael Schumacher was left critically injured and is still immobile and unable to speak ten months later. He is receiving first-class rehabilitation treatment to assist him on the road to recovery.

While Michael Schumacher’s injury received world-wide media coverage, many other families around the world are left supporting the fallout from their loved one’s traumatic brain injuries with much less financial support.

Traumatic brain injuries can cause a huge range of complications, from physical, cognitive and behavioural problems including co-ordination difficulties, memory loss and speech impediments. In extreme cases, brain injury can lead to permanent severe disability or even death.

Primary brain injury

Most brain injuries result from direct or indirect trauma to the head. This trauma can be caused by road accidents, heavy falls, violence or sports and recreational injuries.

Secondary brain injury

Secondary brain injury may be caused by medical misdiagnosis of the original brain injury. Immediate medical care is critical to the treatment of a brain injury. Occasionally, the brain injury is overlooked and left untreated as medical staff deal with other, more obvious bodily injuries. This is particularly common where there are “closed head” injuries and there are no outward signs of brain injury. Even where the skull is not fractured, there can still be internal brain injury.

The problem with medical staff misdiagnosing or overlooking an initial brain injury is that, left untreated, further injury within the brain can occur and cause permanent brain damage and even death. The long-term effects of your brain injury may not become apparent until days or weeks after the original accident. The delayed diagnosis of a brain injury can allow further brain damage to develop in the intervening period. Examples of this sort of secondary brain injury include seizures, edema and hematoma.

In addition, an untreated initial brain injury increases the likelihood of a secondary traumatic brain injury. Some of the symptoms of the initial brain injury can include balance and co-ordination problems, which in turn greatly increase the risk of subsequent falls and accidents. This may lead to a second blow to the head, which would carry more severe medical consequences than the initial brain injury.

Medical negligence

Medical staff have a duty of care to their patients and where care is not properly delivered, there may be grounds for a compensation claim. Two key elements have to be established in a case of medical negligence. Firstly, the actions of medical staff need to have exacerbated your original injury, and secondly, the level of care you received needs to have been unequal to a standard that you would expect from a similarly qualified medical practitioner.

Claiming for medical negligence

If your family member has suffered a secondary brain injury caused by medical negligence, the emotional pressure on you can be intense and overwhelming. There will be many demands on your time and energy, at a time when all you want to do is support your family member.

At Injury Lawyers 4U we specialise in personal injury and accident claims, including those arising from medical negligence, and we operate on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. Compensation can make a huge difference to the life of your injured family member and the rest of your family. We can manage your compensation claim sensitively and professionally, leaving you time to support your loved one.

Contact our professional team today by filling in our short contact form and one of our experienced team will get straight back to you.

The Horror Of Waking Up Part Way Through Surgery

Waking up part way through a surgical procedure would probably come high on the list of most people’s idea of their worst nightmare coming true.  Imagine lying completely helpless, as surgeons and theatre nurses talk around you, while cutting into your body.

Well it may surprise you to learn that for more than 150 people per year, this horrifying situation comes true, according to a recent study.  The Royal College of Anaesthetists and Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland orchestrated a study looking into three million operations over a period of one year and found that in one in every 19,000 operations a patient wakes up, despite a general anaesthetic being administered.

The study found that around 41% of cases involved long-term injury to the mental health of the individuals affected.  One women, who went on to be awarded £30,000 compensation, described waking up and feeling the agony of the surgeon cutting and then stitching up her stomach.  She suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after the experience, in which she said that the feeling of being trapped and not being able to move or communicate (due to the tubes down her throat)  in order to tell the people around her what was going on was “worse than the pain”.

Some patient akin the experience to being “buried alive”,

What Causes People To Wake Up During Surgery?

The study found that around 90% of the cases occurred when muscle-relaxant drugs were given alongside the drugs that cause the patient to lose consciousness.  This would explain why the patients were physically paralysed, but aware of what was going on around them.

In C-section operations, the anaesthetist provider may issue a lighter dose of general anaesthesia in order to protect the unborn child.  This can also leave the patient at risk of anaesthetic awareness; therefore, the person administering the anaesthesia should explain the risks to the patient before proceeding.

It was found that in 17 cases of anaesthetic awareness, errors in drug administration were to blame.

Can I Claim Compensation If I Wake Up During Surgery?

Waking up during surgery can cause tremendous psychological damage.  It must be stressed that the situation is rare, and even when it does occur, most people suffer from only a brief awareness and no ill-effects.

Those that do suffer from a lengthy and painful experience of anaesthetic awareness may experience the following side-effects for many years after the event:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • An extreme fear of medical procedures
  • Nightmares
  • Insomnia
  • Flashbacks

It is possible to claim compensation for anaesthetic awareness, however, you will need to prove negligence on part of the person who administered the anaesthesia, and that the episode of anaesthetic awareness caused you damage.

No Win No Fee

In order to make compensation claims more accessible to those who cannot afford large legal fees, many personal injury solicitors provide no win no fee representation.  It is important that you enquire about this when you contact a legal professional about claiming compensation.

Anaesthetic awareness can result in life-changing psychological damage.  If you have suffered from this rare occurrence and believe it has caused you damage and suffering, then please contact our office to talk to one of our advisors.  We will take the time to listen to your situation and advise you as to whether you have a chance at making a successful claim for the compensation you deserve.

A Woman’s Right To Her Own Body – Medical Negligence During Childbirth

In May 2014, it was reported that a New York woman was suing her doctors and Staten Island University Hospital after she claimed that she was forced into having a C-section which resulted in a perforated bladder[1].   This has once again opened the debate surrounding a woman’s right to make decisions regarding the refusal of medical treatment in childbirth.

As long as you have mental capacity, you have a right to refuse medical treatment, even if this means your life will be in danger.  This includes childbirth. However, when a health professional is charged with delivering a baby, there are two lives to consider. So whose rights are paramount – the mother’s or that of the unborn child?

Childbirth’s Deadly History

It is important to remember that medical advances in childbirth have massively increased the survival rates and reduced the incidents of birth injuries in both women and babies.  Right up until the modern age, childbirth has been a hazardous experience, and if something went wrong very little could be done.  If you haemorrhaged, you died.  If the birth was obstructed, you died (often after days of agony). The invention of forceps in the 16th Century gradually started to reduce mother and child mortality rates (tragically the development of forceps was kept a secret for more than 100 years by its inventors, the Chamberlen family[2]).  Caesareans have been carried out since ancient times, but the procedure was historically used to save the life of the unborn child and the mother almost always died.  In fact, it was not until the 1500s that a woman was recorded to have survived a caesarean[3].

A Two-sided Debate

As always, there are two sides of the maternal versus foetus rights debate.  Those who argue that the mother’s rights are paramount, state that there is no basis in law for foetal supremacy and if a woman’s basic human right to have control over her own body is ignored, then she is reduced to the role of  a “vessel” rather than a human being[4].   In one case[5], the Court of Appeal supported this view by stating in its judgment, “Pregnancy does not diminish a woman’s entitlement to decide whether or not to undergo medical treatment. Her right is not reduced or diminished merely because her decision to exercise her right may appear morally repugnant.”

Of course, the other argument in favour of the mother having total control over what happens to her during labour, is that all medical procedures carry a form of risk. If doctors can ignore a patient’s express wishes regarding refusal of treatment, what are the consequences if that treatment goes wrong?

On the other side of the debate is the concern of how to protect a mother and a baby from ill-informed decisions[6].  Is it right for a health professional to stand by and allow a healthy infant to perish because the mother has refused medical intervention?  In one case[7], in which doctors applied for and obtained a Court order for an unconsented caesarean delivery whilst a woman was already in active labour, a Florida Court held that “Because of the very substantial risk that the course Ms. Pemberton was attempting to pursue would result in the death of her baby, requiring her to undergo an unconsented caesarean section did not violate her constitutional rights. …[8]”. In 1992, a UK Court held “that in a situation in which the lives of mother and the unborn child would both be at risk if the operation were not performed, it was open to the court to make a declaration that the operation could be performed notwithstanding the mother’s refusal of consent”[9].

Unconsented Treatment and Medial Injury

If you have not given proper, informed consent for medical treatment, the health professional that performed the treatment can be charged with battery[10].  A claim for medical negligence can also be made if things go wrong, if proper informed consent is not given.  This rests on the basis that if the health professional had given the patient concerned full disclosure of the risks involved in the procedure, the patient may have refused to give consent and the procedure that gave rise to the complication may never have taken place.

People will continue to debate the rights of a Mother and that of an unborn child and many will be watching the case outlined at the beginning of this post with interest.  However, if you have been the victim of medical negligence which you believe was caused in whole or in part because you did not have the opportunity to provide full, informed consent to the procedure performed on your person, then contact us today.  Our compassionate, experienced lawyers will listen to your story and advise you on how to go about seeking compensation.







[1] http://www.aol.com/article/2014/05/17/n-y-woman-sues-doctors-over-forced-c-section/20887698/

[2] http://fn.bmj.com/content/81/3/F232.full

[3] https://www.washington.edu/alumni/columns/sept00/delivery4.html

[4] http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/dec/16/mothers-fighting-against-birth-intervention

[5] St. George’s Healthcare N.H.S. Trust v S [1998] 3 W.L.R. 936

[6] http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/dec/16/mothers-fighting-against-birth-intervention

[7] Pemberton v. Tallahassee (66 F. Supp. 2d 1247) 1999

[8] http://www.lawandbioethics.com/demo/Main/Media/Resources/Pemberton.html

[9] Adult: Refusal of Treatment) [1992] 3 W.L.R. 806

[10] http://www.bjmp.org/content/right-consent-it-absolute

Claiming For Cosmetic Surgery Errors

Recent figures released by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (Baaps) show the UK’s cosmetic surgery industry is still booming – despite health scares such as the PIP breast implants scandal. The overall number of procedures has risen by 20% in the last four years, topping 43,000 in 2012.

With so many treatments being offered within a mostly self-regulated industry, it’s hardly surprising that when mistakes are made, they often go unreported. However, cosmetic surgery errors are no different to any other type of clinical or medical negligence. If you’ve been physically or mentally damaged by a cosmetic procedure that went wrong, you’re entitled to claim compensation.


Types of cosmetic surgery claims

Here are a few of the most common scenarios.

  • Breast surgery – bulging or different sized breasts; scarring and skin puckering; nerve damage.
  • Liposuction – extensive scarring; sagging skin.
  • Tummy tucks – fluid retention; skin loss; loss of skin; unsightly scarring.
  • Face lifts – unpleasant scarring; infection leading to necrosis (skin death); ‘pixie ear’ where the ear lobes are unnaturally stretched.
  • Nose jobs – dents or bulges on the nose; mismatched nostrils; total nose collapse.
  • Chemical peels – burns and scarring of the face.
  • Dental negligence – uncomfortable or painful dental implants; swelling and inflammation from poor surgical techniques; burns, blisters and ulcers from tooth whitening chemicals.

Why you should claim

The short and long-term effects of faulty cosmetic surgery can be devastating. As well as suffering physical pain and discomfort, victims of botched procedures can suffer mental trauma as a direct result of their experiences. At the very least, you’re likely to feel angry and upset that you’ve chosen to pay for a procedure in the hope of improving your appearance – only to end up looking and feeling worse than before.


Injury Lawyers 4U is here to help

Injury Lawyers 4U is a national network of personal injury specialists. We deal with all kinds of medical negligence claims and we’re highly experienced at dealing with claims for cosmetic surgery errors. Your claim will be dealt with by an expert personal injury lawyer, giving you the best possible chance of success. As we work on a ‘No Win No Fee’ basis, you can be sure that we’re working hard to secure you the compensation you deserve, without any risk to you in making the claim.


Call us for honest, professional advice on 0845 345 4444. We’re open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or complete our online form and a lawyer will call you back at a convenient time.