My dentist told me that he had taken out the wrong tooth by mistake and was willing to offer me €2,000 in compensation plus make good his error, but I looked in the Book of Quantum which says that compensation claims for a wrong tooth extraction should be worth at least €5,300. Should I turn his offer down?
The value of compensation claims for a wrong tooth extraction can vary considerably depending in the circumstances in which the tooth was extracted. The figure you quote from the Book of Quantum (€5,300) actually relates to the lower end of the scale for the loss of a tooth, and being under local anaesthetic in a dentist´s surgery when the wrong tooth is extracted is a much different scenario from being involved in a physical accident where a tooth is violently knocked from your mouth.
However, there does appear to be a significant discrepancy between the compensation for a wrong tooth extraction being offered by your dentist and the amount quoted in the Book of Quantum – even if your dentist is prepared to make good his error. This could be explained by the fact that your dentist has admitted his error first to his insurance company, who have suggested the figure of compensation for a wrong tooth extraction to him.
It is in your best interests to discuss this situation directly with a personal injury solicitor to determine whether it is worth your while to make a claim for wrong tooth extraction or accept your dentist´s offer. Depending on the location of the tooth that was errantly extracted and how much work is required to make good your dentist´s error, the total amount of compensation for a wrong tooth extraction you could be entitled to could be in excess of the minimum quoted in the Book of Quantum.
However, you may also wish to consider the costs of compensation claims for a wrong tooth extraction as claims of this nature are considered to be resolved on medical opinions by the Injuries Board Ireland and they will decline your application for assessment – even though liability for the wrong tooth extraction has been admitted. Any claim for the extraction of a wrong tooth has to be made by a solicitor and may – although extremely unlikely in this case – have to be resolved in court.
There is also the personal cost of making compensation claims for a wrong tooth extraction if your dentist is a personal friend or has been caring for your family´s teeth for generations – even though the settlement of a claim for a wrong tooth extraction would be paid by the dentist´s insurance company.
So, you have plenty to think about before you make the decision about whether you should accept your dentist´s offer of compensation for the extraction of the wrong tooth. Ideally, you should speak with a medical negligence solicitor at the first practical opportunity to establish how much compensation for a wrong tooth extraction you personally would qualify for in your specific situation.