Compensation Claims for Oral Cancer
Dentists, like every other medical professional, owe a duty of care to their patients and are expected to make sure that they take every necessary action to ensure that they safeguard the health of their patients, provide them with the right standard of care and also make referrals to specialists for proper medical intervention where necessary. When the dentist fails in his duty towards his patients, he has become negligent and such actions could cause the patient to suffer avoidable harm, injury or complications.
In the case of oral cancer, if the dentist fails to correctly diagnose, properly manage and give adequate oral cancer treatment to the patient according to acceptable standards of medical practice given the prevailing circumstances, the patient may be entitled to make oral cancer compensation claims.
Our dental negligence solicitors are well experienced having many years of practice in this area of medical negligence. They are here to represent and help you make dental negligence claims for oral cancer if you have suffered from dental malpractice.
What Is Oral Cancer?
These are malignant tumours developing in various parts of the mouth and oral cavity; including the lips, tongue, cheeks, hard and soft palate, salivary glands, tonsils and throat.
Oral cancer is divided into two categories
- Those occurring in the oral cavity: (this includes the lips, inside of the cheeks, gums, anterior two-thirds of the tongue, the floor and roof of the mouth)
- Those occurring in the oropharynx: (this includes the tonsils, base of the tongue and middle region of the throat)
How Common Is Mouth Cancer In The UK?
Mouth cancer is quite common in the UK with about 6,800 people diagnosed each year with the condition. Sadly, one person dies every 5 hours from the disease which claims approximately 10,000 persons every year.
Diagnosing when mouth cancer is starting is key towards long term survival rates and better treatment outcome. Early detection cannot be over emphasized when it comes to oral cancer as it claims more lives than cervical and testicular cancer combined. For those diagnosed early, the 5-year survival rate is approximately 60%.
According to Cancer Research UK, Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) accounts for around 90% of oral cancer cases. In fact, oral squamous cell carcinoma is among the ten most common cancer types in the world with a 50% mortality rate. Oral cancer is predominantly found in the elderly although there is a recent increasing prevalence of oral cancer in patients aged 40-49.
When through doctor negligence, the start of gum cancer, tongue cancer, or any oral cancer is missed or wrong diagnosed, the illness continues to progress as more cells become cancerous meaning that the patient will suffer more complications, the patient will need a more invasive treatment regimen, and most likely have a reduced life expectancy.
Symptoms Of Oral Cancer
There are several conditions which when they appear and do not go away after two weeks may indicate oral cancer. When this happens, it is important that you visit your dentist for a proper medical examination.
The symptoms include
- Unexplained, persistent lumps in the mouth or neck
- Persistent mouth ulcers
- Red or white patches in the mouth lining or tongue
- Looseness of teeth, or sockets
- Persistent numbness, pain or tenderness of the lip or tongue
- A thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
- Unexplained pain in the mouth or neck
- Blocked nose or bleeding from the nose
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
Treatment Techniques For Oral Cancer
Usually, three treatment procedures are used in treating oral cancer. Most times these treatment procedures may be combined depending on the severity of the case. They are:
When diagnosed early, it is possible to have a complete cure in up to 90% of oral cancer cases. This is why when you have a case of Dentist or GP negligence where there was late diagnosis, wrong diagnosis or failure to diagnose leading to further complications, you may make misdiagnosis claims.
Our dental negligence solicitors are ready to stand by you in your difficult time, defend you and see to it that you are deservedly compensated. We are ready to represent you no matter what dental negligence claims you may have including oral cancer claims, tongue cancer claims, cosmetic dentistry claims, and other medical negligence claims relating to dental malpractice.
Would A Dentist Spot Mouth Cancer?
A dentist is expected to have a high index of suspicion even if not a maxillofacial surgeon or oral cancer specialist. This is due to the fact that he is primarily the first port of call whenever a patient begins to seek dental help. He should therefore be able to make the right diagnosis and appropriate referrals. The dentist owes his patients a duty of care and failing to diagnose an oral cancer condition is negligent of the medical professional.
Dentists are expected to screen the oral tissues of any patient that visits the dental center and record their observations. If they find something suspicious, then they need to investigate further and make provision for the patient to be seen by a specialist for proper attention.
A dentist should therefore spot mouth cancer and take appropriate steps to see that the patient gets the right quality of care. Early diagnosis and referral to a specialist will boost the patient’s chances of long-term survival as well as prevent the patient from needing a more difficult surgery and less facial disfiguring. It may also mean that the patient will not need radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
You therefore may be entitled to a medical negligence claim for misdiagnosis if your dentist failed to spot your mouth cancer. Additionally, even after a referral, you didn’t get professional care from the specialist causing you to suffer further complications, you may also have a dental negligence claim.
Can You Die From Mouth Cancer?
As earlier mentioned, mouth cancers are majorly Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) and have a mortality rate of 50%.
Every 5 hours, one person dies of mouth cancer. Also, it is estimated that about 10,030 persons will die this year of oral cancer. This simply means that someone may die from mouth cancer when there was an unnecessary delay in making the right diagnosis, mismanagement after making diagnosis, delayed treatment or surgical error.
How Do I Prove My Oral Cancer Claims?
To prove your oral cancer claims, it is important to establish that the negligence of your dentist, and the substandard care you received made you suffer pain, harm, injury or complications which could have been prevented if you had been well treated.
There are four parts of medical negligence which has to be established which are:
- Duty - that your dentist or oral cancer specialist had a responsibility of care to you
- Deviation - that your dentist failed to fulfil that duty of care to you
- Direct causation - that the failure of your dental health provider to provide you with standard medical care directly resulted to the pain and suffering you are experiencing
- Damages – that you have suffered damages as a result of your injury. This could be financial, mental, social damages or otherwise.
It is important that you know that negligence alone is not enough to make a claim. There must be an effect on the patient. Causation has to be demonstrated as a direct result of the negligent treatment. That is only when a claim can be successful.
How To Make A Claim?
First you have to come to us for your claims. Our NHS negligence solicitors are some of the best medical negligence solicitors in the UK with many years of combined experience having successfully represented a lot of clients who have made similar medical negligence claims. We are able to ensure that you get the best possible legal representation for a favorable compensation amount.
Our consultation sessions are free of charge where we discuss with you and make a thorough evaluation of the details of your case to know if you really have a valid claim.
We will assign to you a personal dental negligence compensation claim solicitor who with other experienced AvMA accredited medical negligence solicitors will build a very strong case for you and ensure that you get justice for the harm done to you.
We will assist you to gather the necessary documents you need to prove your claims. Where necessary, we will write to relevant bodies on your behalf requesting access to the needed files for your case. In making you claims, you will need the following:
- Detailed statements of what transpired
- Medical records test and scan results
- Witness statements
- Photographs or images showing severity of injury
- Proof of financial losses incurred as a result of the negligence caused injury
- Medical report from a specialist detailing the impact of the negligent treatment on you and the severity of injury or complications suffered
Thereafter we will establish liability of the medical professional or hospital and negotiate a favorable compensation figure for you.
How Much Compensation Can I Claim?
The compensation amount you will likely receive after a successful claim is not fixed but depends on several factors and specifics that affect your case. For instance, two oral cancer claims will most likely receive different compensation amounts because the severity of injury caused by the negligent treatment may not be the same. The amount of pain and suffering as well as expenses made with respect to the injury suffered will likely not be the same and this will affect the value of the final compensation award.
In the UK however, the average compensation fee for a medical negligence case is £50,000 but because of the following factors, one may be awarded a far higher or lower compensation amount. These include:
- Location of injury
- Type of injury and severity
- Future prognosis (estimated period for recovery)
- Amount of pain and suffering experienced
- Travel expenses for medical treatment
- Financial losses incurred which will include past, present and future estimated costs
- Costs of therapies and rehabilitation
- Costs of prostheses, etc.
How Long Do I Have To Make My Oral Cancer Claims?
The Limitation Act of 1980 stipulates that you will normally have three years from the date of medical negligence or when you first discovered it to make your claims. After this period, it has become statute barred.
If the victim died as a result of medical negligence, the family has three years from the date of death to make claims.
Also, in cases involving children, the children have until their 21st birthday to make claims (three years after becoming an adult). Preferably, a parent or guardian can make claims on their behalf.
During our free consultation sessions, our dental negligence solicitors will explain to you in clearer terms how you can make claims on behalf of a loved one if they are unable to make them by themselves.
No Win No Fee Oral Cancer Claims
We offer you a chance to make your claims without having to pay any upfront legal fees through our No Win No Fee policy. This policy ensures that you are also protected from any debt even if the case was not successful.
You will only have to pay 25% of your compensation award at the completion of a successful medical negligence claim. This 25% of your settlement payout which is deducted is called “success fee”.
We encourage you not to hesitate to make your claims as we recommend that you begin your claims as early as possible to give your representatives the time they need to build a solid case for you. Additionally, it also helps in making the task of gathering evidence and documents much easier since it is a recent event.
Reach out to us today by filling out our Online Free Claim Assessment Form or call us on 0800 999 3372 and let one of our solicitors schedule a meeting with you to discuss your claims.