Is there any difference between making a compensation claim for orthodontic surgeon negligence against a hospital or a private practitioner?
There are a few a minor differences between making a compensation claim for orthodontic surgeon negligence against a hospital or a private practitioner that you should be aware of, but the grounds for making a claim for an injury by an orthodontist and the process for claiming compensation for negligence by an orthodontist are practically identical.
In order to make a claim for an injury by an orthodontist, you must have suffered an injury which ‘at the time and in the circumstances’ could have been avoided if greater care had been taken by the orthodontic surgeon. In order to establish that the orthodontic treatment you received was negligent, a solicitor would obtain the notes from your treatment and have them reviewed by an independent orthodontic specialist.
If the specialist agrees that your orthodontist displayed a poor professional performance when charged with a duty of care for your well-being, he or she will provide your solicitor with the evidence of negligence to support a ‘Letter of Claim’. This letter is then sent to the hospital or private practise at which you underwent your treatment, advising the hospital/practice that you are making a claim for orthodontic surgeon negligence.
This is where the two paths on the road to claiming compensation for negligence by an orthodontist may separate; as claims for orthodontic surgeon negligence made against a hospital are managed by the Health Service Executive, whereas a claim for an injury by an orthodontist in a private practice is likely to be dealt with much quicker because of their relative size.
There should be no difference in how much compensation for orthodontic surgeon negligence you receive, as the value of your claim is calculated according to the level of injury you sustained rather than the size (or wealth) of the organisation responsible for settling your claim. However, when you make a claim for an injury by an orthodontist in a private practice, there is also the prospect that you may be approached by the practice´s medical insurance company with an unsolicited offer of compensation.
Whereas a direct approach with an offer of compensation is a positive sign – inasmuch as the insurance company have acknowledged liability for their policyholder´s negligence – it is important that any offer of compensation for negligence by an orthodontist is referred to a solicitor. If you have suffered substantial damage to your teeth which will cost a lot of money to revise, you need to be sure that an offer of compensation is appropriate before accepting it.
Should you inadvertently accept an inadequate offer of compensation for negligence by an orthodontist, you cannot go back to the insurance company and ask for more (if you are making a claim for orthodontic surgeon negligence against the Health Service Executive, this scenario will never occur).
The most important issue in a claim for an injury by an orthodontist is that evidence of negligence is collected while it is most recent. Therefore, irrespective of whether your compensation claim for orthodontic surgeon negligence is against a hospital or a private practitioner it is recommended that you speak with a solicitor at the first possible opportunity.