But what if there is no valid insurance in place or the insurer refuses to provide cover?
A recent judgment handed down by Her Honour Judge Belcher in a decision of Ramdhean v (1) Agedo and (2) The Forum Dental Practice Ltd, has set an important precedent that could be relevant to anyone pursuing a claim against a dentist or a GP.
The claimant in the case, Miss Neema Ramdhean, is claiming damages for personal injuries and other losses that she suffered as a result of alleged negligent dental treatment she received from the first defendant, Dr Alfred Agedo, who was an independent contractor completing work for the Forum Dental Practice Limited (FDPL), the second defendant.
Miss Ramdhean had been referred to Dr Agedo by her general dentist, as she needed a wisdom tooth extracting, and he did not have the expertise to carry out the procedure.
Dr Agedo, whose whereabouts are currently unknown, had professional indemnity cover, as is legally required. However, because he had not notified his insurers about the claim against him, they cancelled his insurance, as they are entitled to do under the terms of the policy.
The court found that FDPL owed a ‘non-delegable duty of care’ to the claimant. Furthermore, they were vicariously liable for the dental work provided by Dr Agedo, even though he was not employed by FDPL. These are points that will be relied on should Miss Ramdhean be able to prove her dental negligence claim.
Matthew Gascoyne, specialist medical negligence solicitor at Atherton Godfrey, commented: “We are extremely pleased that the court has addressed a serious loophole in the way in which dentists are indemnified, ensuring that patients who suffer injury as a result of negligent dental work are able to recover the compensation they need, even in situations where the dentist can no longer be reached or the insurer refuses to provide cover.”
If you have any concerns about the standard of medical treatment you have received, for a confidential chat about your options, call 01302 320621 or email firstname.lastname@example.org