Nerve Damage to the Tongue by a Dentist

Is it possible to claim compensation for nerve damage to the tongue by a dentist and how you should go about it?

It should be possible to claim compensation for nerve damage to the tongue by a dentist if you have been diagnosed with a lingual nerve injury or paresthesia due to the carelessness of your dentist during dental treatment.

There is no justifiable defence against a claim for paresthesia due to dental negligence, as the fact that a dentist administered an anaesthetic directly into a nerve in your tongue constitutes negligence. However, unlike most other personal injury claims in Ireland, the Injuries Board will decline any application for assessment of compensation for lingual nerve injury you submit to them.

This is because a dentist is categorised as a medical practitioner, and their error which led to your injury would be classified as medical negligence – an area of personal injury compensation which the Injuries Board has no remit under the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003. Therefore, in order to claim compensation for nerve damage to the tongue, you will have to engage the services of a solicitor.

Having a solicitor handle your claim for paresthesia due to dental negligence is most straightforward. The solicitor will ask you about the treatment you received while at the dentist, how long it has been since you suffered your injury and what steps (if any) you have taken to seek medical attention. Admittedly, there is not a great deal a doctor can do if you have suffered a lingual nerve injury, but the injury should be recorded in your medical history to support a claim for nerve damage to the tongue by a dentist; so, if you have not yet been examined by a doctor, you should do so without delay.

Thereafter, your solicitor would obtain a copy of your dental medical history and ask an independent medical expert to review them to confirm that a mistake was made during your treatment which ‘on the balance of probabilities’ led to your injury being sustained. The solicitor would then send a ‘Letter of Claim’ to your dentist – or the clinic/hospital to which they are attached – advising the dentist that a claim for paresthesia due to dental negligence is being made against them and supporting the letter with the testimony of the independent medical expert.

With a sufficiently strong claim for compensation for lingual nerve injury prepared on your behalf, your solicitor should receive an admission of liability within a reasonable amount of time. At this point your solicitor will enter into negotiations with the dentist´s medical insurance company to obtain an appropriate settlement of compensation for nerve damage to the tongue by a dentist based on the level of your injury and the consequences it has made to your quality of life.

The whole process should take between six and nine month depending on quickly the acknowledgement of liability is received and provided that all the consequences of your injury are identified. In order to construct the strongest possible claim for claim for paresthesia due to dental negligence, it would be in your best interests to speak with a solicitor at the earliest possible moment, so that the full consequences of your injury can be accounted for in the settlement of your claim.