Steve Wake argues back the case for solicitors after they were labelled ‘ambulance chasers’ by the BDA.
The public is more aware of their rights than ever before, and it should be pretty obvious to anyone in a functioning society; knowing your rights is a vital element of any country that professes to uphold the rule of law.
Therefore it came as a shock to me that some people in the world of dentistry see solicitors as the problem when it comes to dental negligence, that we’re targeting people who don’t deserve to be sued.
This is a blatant misrepresentation of basic facts, and one that has become all too prevalent.
Rooting out negligence
It’s fair to say that we work for money, just like you I have a mortgage to pay.
But somehow we’re depicted as making dentists suffer just to get paid.
They leave out the fact that behind every settlement a dentist has made a mistake that has cost someone dearly.
It’s not in anyone’s interest to take on spurious claims.
Without merit the case won’t succeed, and we won’t get paid.
That means that when a settlement is paid, treatment was shown to have fallen below the standards required of a reasonably competent dental professional.
Think about that.
You wouldn’t put ‘reasonably competent’ on your CV; these dentists have messed up.
How do I know this?
Because for every settlement a solicitor wins, a dentist has looked at the facts and agreed that the care given was negligent.
This is evidence, plain and simple.
We’re therefore doing more than suing dentists; we’re working with them to root out negligent practice in their field.
This isn’t ‘ambulance chasing’.
So if you’re a dentist with a good track record, there’s nothing to fear.
And if dentists are concerned about claim rates; perhaps they should ask themselves whether an increase in negligent treatment is to blame.