Claims for dental injury and damage to teeth
Case summary of a dental injury claim we have successfully concluded. If you wish to recover compensation for your dental injury on a No Win – No Fee basis then call our FREE legal helpline on 0808 139 1606 for an assessment or send us an email.
Our client was eating a bowl of muesli purchased from her local supermarket. There was no warning on the packaging that shell may be present in the muesli. However, as she was eating, she bit on a piece of hard shell (which she believed was from a hazelnut) which broke her upper rear left molar tooth. She swallowed both shell and tooth before realising what had occurred. She initially wrote to the supermarket herself. She also obtained a statement from her husband who was present at the time of the incident confirming that she was eating the cereal when she broke her tooth.
The supermarket denied they were at fault so she instructed us to pursue a compensation claim on a no win – no fee basis.
We wrote to the supermarket. They responded by saying that our client had no evidence to prove that the damage to her tooth was caused by a hard shell contained in their muesli. We therefore sought disclosure of all documentation in relation to inspections carried out at the time of production to ensure that no nut shells were present in the muesli. The supermarket provided disclosure, including a hazard analysis study of the cereal and the product specification for roasted hazelnuts. We noted that under the same product order it specifically mentioned nut shell and specified that one shell per 25 grams of hazelnuts was the permitted amount.
Our client’s dental records were requested from her dentist as well as details of treatment costs. We provided disclosure of those records which included a report confirming the pre-accident condition of the tooth and the subsequent damage suffered. Unfortunately as a consequence of the accident our client’s tooth deteriorated and led to her suffering infections. As a result she decided to have the tooth removed. Due to the fact that the tooth was so fragile the dentist advised that a crown was not possible and that implants were the only option.
Following receipt of disclosure, the supermarket’s representatives referred the matter to the manufacturers of the muesli. The manufacturer also denied liability on the basis that they adopt a strict and thorough process for detection of contaminants and that quality control of the product is inspected to a high standard on several occasions throughout the production process to remove contaminants.
Various offers to settle were made by us. However the supermarket took the view that if anyone was responsible it was the manufacturer and the manufacturer took the view that there was no evidence that the product was defective.
Given the stance on liability a medical report was obtained from an independent dental expert confirming that “on the balance of probabilities” our client’s injuries were consistent with her account of what had happened. We sent the medical report to the insurers of both the supermarket and the manufacturer making a further offer to settle. Both Defendants rejected the offer and continued to deny liability.
Court proceedings were therefore issued against the supermarket. This step caused the supermarket to review their position. they didn’t want the matter to go to trial and an out of court settlement was negotiated.Our client therefore finally received compensation for her damaged tooth. It would have been better for all concerned if the supermarket had accepted responsibility at the outset and settled the claim without the need for significant legal costs to be incurred.
The case illustrates the importance for adopting a resolute approach to injury cases and the need to fight tenaciously throughout. It is not unusual for defendants to deny liability even when they think they might ultimately be held legally responsible. They often hope that by defending the claimant will grow disheartened and give up their claim.
If you want to make a dental injury claim on a No Win – No Fee basis then contact our FREE legal helpline on 0808 139 1606 for an assessment.