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Dental Negligence

€60,000 Dentist Negligence Compensation claim Settled by Woman (50) and Dublin Dentist

Fifty-year-old Roisin Mimnagh, has settled a €60,000 negligence claim against her former dentist for an undisclosed sum in the Circuit Civil Court following a treatment that she said left her afraid to smile.

Following the treatment Mrs Mimnagh told the Court that she had been horrified to find an incisor had been filed away without her permission and replaced with an amalgam or composite.

Mrs Mimnagh legal representative, David McParland, informed Judge Jacqueline Linnane that his client was someone who was generally happy with her appearance. She had attended Dr Anna O’Donovan, Griffith Avenue, Dublin, to have an incisor realigned. He said: “To her horror she afterwards found that her tooth had been filed away and replaced with an amalgam or composite that was smaller and shorter and different from her original tooth”.

Counsel for Dr O’Donovan, Barrister Sarah Corcoran, informed the Judge that her client had entered a full defence to Ms Mimnagh’s compensation claim. However they had admitted that written consent to the specific remedy for her tooth had not been received before the treatment took place. She added that the case before the court was not one of deciding liability but a matter of assessing damages.

Remedial work was completed in 2013 not long after the initial treatment. Mr McParland said Ms Mimnagh was still wearing an appliance on her tooth. Additionally a specialist told her that she would need further realignment work.

The judge was informed by Mr McPartland that his client initially believed she was going to have some white filling applied to her tooth to make it look straighter. She was very distressed when she later discovered it had been filed away and an amalgam or composite put on it. This left her afraid to smile.

Judge Linnane told the Court that she had examined the pleadings and had found that the latest expert report was more than three years old. Due to this she said that she would be unable to assess damages on the basis of outdated expert reports.

When Judge Linnane proposed talks about possibly settling the cas,  she was informed by Ms Corcoran that Dr O’Donovan had always had “a significant willingness” to deal with the case. Following some talks Mr McParland informed the Judge that the case had been settled and could be struck out with an order for Ms Mimnagh;s legal costs to be taxed in default of agreement.

The amount of the settlement was not disclosed in court.

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Dentist must pay €10,000 in Compensation to HIV Positive Woman after Stopping Treating Mid-Procedure

A dentist who refused to treat a woman while in the dentist chair and under anaesthetic after she disclosed to him that she had HIV status has agreed to pay the woman €10,000 in compensation.

In addition to this the dentist has agreed to provide a written apology to the patient in question.

Before attending the dental appointment, the woman had disclosed her HIV status to the dental clinic. Then, during the procedure, after she had been injected with anaesthetic, the woman was asked by the dentist whether she was taking medication. At this point she advised the dentist that she is taking her HIV medication. The dentist then withdrew his service raising his perceived concerns regarding possible contamination.

Speaking about the incident the woman at the centre of the case said: “I felt embarrassed, ashamed and I was really stressed and very anxious. Playing the whole scenario in my head again made me feel a kind of rejection. I went in confident thinking they knew my status and it was okay for them to help me, but after what happened it has had a huge impact on my self-esteem. It took me back to the time when I first found out about my HIV status. The woman added: “I had no idea that what they had done was wrong until after speaking to my doctor. I feel like going to the WRC helped me, as I believe the clinic is now aware that their conduct towards me was wrong. I feel better hoping they will not treat anyone that way, not only because they agreed compensate me, but also because staff will receive awareness training.”

As part of the settlement, the dental clinic has said that it will put in place an appropriate company policy that reflects their commitment to equality and will ensure that similar incidents do not arise in the future. The dental clinic will also provide equality and diversity, including HIV, training to its employees.

The woman also agreed to withdraw her discrimination case under the Equal Status Act which she had brought to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).


Commenting on the case, HIV Ireland stated: “Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Some dentists and dental services continue to refuse treatment to people living with HIV, incorrectly believing that there are special places to treat people who are HIV positive.”

Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, Emily Logan stated: “Dentists, just like other service providers are obliged to meet the commitments of the Equal Status Acts which protects people against discrimination. The clear message from this settlement is discrimination of this nature is not acceptable and should be challenged.”

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Consent to Dental Treatment Compensation

If you believe that you sustained an injury during a dental procedure that a dentist completed on you which you did not provide consent for then you may be in a position to initiate a legal action for consent to dental treatment compensation.

If may be the case that you had a tooth extracted, while you were under anaesthetic, that you had not agreed to. This could have a massive impact on your self consciousness, confidence and could even have caused you a great deal of personal trauma.

Duty of Care in Dental Negligence Compensation Cases

There is a duty of care that dentists must provide when they are administering care and treating patients. The must always receive the official consent from their patients prior to completing any additional dental work. In order for a consent to dental negligence compensation claim to be successful. Dentist negligence claims have to prove that the attending dentist displayed did not receive consent from the patient and that there was a degree of suffering caused by the subsequent dental procedure, either physical or mental.

Injuries Board Ireland and Dental Compensation Cases

The Injuries Board of Ireland does not deal with resolutions of dentist malpractice. Asa  result it is highly important that you arrange a consultation with a personal injury claims with a solicitor familiar cases like this as soon as you can do so.

Dental Experts in Consent to Dental Treatment Cases

It is normal, for an Irish compensation claim involving dental negligence claim to require the hiring of dental expert. This is so that they can be consulted for their opinion on whether there has been an evidence of dentist negligence during a procedure that was carried out without consent and led to patient suffering. The dental experts will be required to show that a competent dentist would have provided a different course of treatment that would not have resulted in the patient suffering.

Because of the many different accident and injury scenarios, it is very important that you speak with a solicitor at the first practical opportunity – even if it is just to find out whether you have a worthwhile personal injury claim. A personal injury will not charge you for his or her time when you first speak with them, and will provide you with the information that you need to decide for yourself whether you have a claim for personal injury compensation which it is worth your while to pursue.

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Teenager Ordered to Pay Compensation After Inflicting Jaw Injury

A teenager who violently assaulted and inflicted severe dental damage on another individual has been ordered to pay €1,000 in compensation by a judge in the Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

In June, 2016, an incident took place at Charleville Show when one young teenager headbutted another to the left side of his jaw and walked away. He, (the defendant) then approached the victim again and struck him with a closed fist on the same side of his face. As a result of this double attack, the victim suffered a serious injury to his jaw. After seeking medical treatment for the wound, it was revealed that he had to have two plates and splints inserted into his jaw. He also lost some of his teeth due to the attack.

The attacker, who is not named due to being under the age of 18, was apprehended, and brought to court last week. Despite admitting to the assault, no offer of compensation was made by the youth at the court. The judge presiding over the case, Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin, advised the accused youth that he would want to “wakey wakey” in terms of compensation.

The judge believed that it was unreasonable for the accused to appear before Cork Circuit Criminal Court with no compensation offer prepared. Therefore, the session was adjourned, and the court offered a warning to the youth that the next time he return to court, it had better be with an offer of compensation.

The youth returned to court yesterday. The Legal Counsel for the defendant, Dermot Sheehan, stated that there was €1,000 offered by way of personal injury compensation to the victim. Subsequently the judge adjourned sentencing until November 20. The accused teenager was remanded on bail.

Mr Sheehan advised the Court that said the accused, suffers from health issues, and offered this by ways of an explanation for his behaviour. Having read the report produced by the defendant’s counsel, Judge Ó Donnabháin commented that: “He has not got health issues, he has behavioural issues.”

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Prominent Solicitor Condemns Medical Negligence Rate in Ireland

A prominent solicitor has condemned the medical negligence rate in Ireland while speaking at a conference on the matter in September this year.

In September, Roger Murray, joint Managing partner at Callan Tansey solicitors, stated that he estimates that 1,000 unnecessary deaths happen annually every year in Ireland due to medical negligence. Mr Murray made these claims while speaking at a medical negligence conference, Pathways to Progress, attended by solicitors, medical workers and patients.

In his speech, Mr Murray stated that the four categories in which medical negligence incidents commonly occur are surgery (36 per cent), medicine (24 per cent), maternity (23 per cent), and gynaecology (7.5 per cent).

Mr Murray has spent many years as a medical negligence specialist solicitor, and has been involved in many compensation cases. While acknowledging that though injured patients and families do have empathy for medical professionals who make mistakes, “they cannot abide is systemic and repeated errors”.

The solicitor issued a plea for thorough investigations when mistakes do happen. He referred to many inquest situations where families learned that desktop reviews had been completed following a death, and the results were not disseminated to appropriate staff. He cited incidents such as this as vital improvement opportunities that had been missed.

Mr Murray said upward of 160,000 people attending hospitals in Ireland experience injuries due to human mistakes made my medical staff at the facilities. In his speech, he stated that he believes that there is “no compo culture” when it comes to medical negligence compensation actions in this country, saying that what we are seeing in the legal system is just “the top of a very murky iceberg”.

He went on to say that all those injured in medical incidents report it to the HSE. There are notifications of 34,170 “clinical incidents” annually and, of these, 575 resulted in compensation claims against the HSE, a rate lower than 1.7 per cent.

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The State Claims Agency Releases Report on Claims Against the State in 2016

The State Claims Agency (SCA) has released figures revealing that the cost of compensation claims taken against the State was €256.2 million last year.

The SCA is the Government entity which handles legal actions taken against the State. The reported increase of 22%, which brings the accumulative cost of compensation claims to €2.2 billion, was included in and released in their 2016 accounts. In comparison with previous years, it is clear from these figures that there has been a surge in the amount of costs incurred due to legal actions involving the State in recent years.

Séamus McCarthy Comptroller and Auditor General for  the Government’s financial watchdog remarked on the consistent increase in compensation claims saying, “The number of claims under management has increased significantly since 2011”.

The figures in the account under scrutiny show that the number of legal actions against the State given a ‘pending’ status numbered 8,900 at the end of 2016. At the end of 2011 this number was 6,000.

The total amount of compensation and legal costs paid out for legal actions against the State in 2016 was €256.2 million. In 2015 the figure was €219.3 million, showing a growth of 22%, or €36.9 million. This correlates with the total number of actions taken, which grew by 24% to 2,300. There were a number of factors that contributed to this rise.

The payout breakdown by government agency was also released. Compensation pay outs for legal actions taken against the child protection agency Tusla and the Health Service Executive (HSE) made up the majority (€1.9 billion) of the €2.2 billion total amount paid out by the state.

The Department of Justice and Defence, including the Gardaí, prison service and Army, was responsible for claims worth €175 million compared to €27 million for to the Department of Health.

The compensation bill for the Department of Education was approximately €50 million.

The State Claims Agency was established as part of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), to tackle at the increase in compensation claims being taken against the State.

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High Court Judges Call for Structured Payment Scheme for Compensation Settlements

Many High Court judges have called for the government to introduce a structured payment scheme for compensation settlements to catastrophically injured patients.

For several years now, many prominent High Court judges have made statements to the government expressing the need for legislation to enable structured payment systems for hospital negligence compensation settlements. They claim that the current system of lump sum payments is cumbersome, and failing the victims of negligence and their families. The judges-including Mr Justice John Quirke, Ms Justice Mary Irvine, and Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill-liken the way such claims are settled at the moment to a “lottery”, or a gamble on the basis of the anticipated life expectancy of a seriously injured victim.

Mr Justice Bernard Barton has recently spoken in favour of the movement with his fellow judges. His statement came while he was presiding over the O’Neill vs National Maternity Hospital. The case involved a young girl who suffers from cerebral palsy as a result of negligence by the hospital staff in charge of her birth in 2007. The defendants admit liability for her injuries. However, there is a disagreement as to how the compensation shall be paid; the defendants want to make interim settlements, but the mother of the young girl wants to a full settlement to be offered. Furthermore, neither party can agree to how much compensation the girl should be awarded.

There is considerable disagreement between the two parties as to the full cost of the girl’s future needs, and the potential loss of earnings of the family members charged with caring for her.  They argue that by offering an interim settlement, an investigation can be made over the next decade so that her needs can be assessed. Then, they would compile a report and the value of compensation calculated. However, her mother declined this manner of settlement. She claims that the frequent disruptions to her daughter’s life may cause psychological damage, and she wants her to live as normal a life as possible.

The judge and both parties agreed that if structured payment systems were in place, it would be easier to resolve the dispute over how much compensation the girl-or any catastrophically injured plaintiff-should receive. Negotiations in this case continue, with hopes of them reaching an end in the near future. The aforementioned judges have all used cases like this in the past to highlight the importance of structured settlements. The government has yet to act on their suggestions.

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