DENTAL NEGLIGENCE CLAIMS - Vicarious Liability and Non-Delegable Duty
Posted on 14th September 2022 at 09:31
An important principle was recently settled in dental negligence claims by way of a Court of Appeal judgment following a High Court decision in 2021 in the case of Hughes -v- Rattan.
Often a patient will attend their dental surgery and be seen by one of a number of associate dentists and not the owner and operator of the practice who is, in most cases, a dentist himself.
In this particular case the Claimant underwent treatment as an NHS patient and then later complained about his standard of that treatment. The Claimant was treated by one of three associate dentists who worked at the Practice. The question for the Appeal Court was whether the owner of the Practice was responsible by way of owing a non-delegable duty to the Claimant. This principle of non-delegable duty was confirmed by the Court of Appeal leaving the owner of the Practice liable on behalf of the associate dentists working there by way of its non-delegable duty.
In the same case the Court of Appeal also found in favour of the owner in relation to the principle of vicarious liability, distinguishing the associate dentist as a contractor and not allowing the protection afforded to employees.
The decision making as to who properly identified as a Defendant is made easier for a Claimant by this case. An associate dentist can be sued directly but arguing a non-delegable duty means that the owner can also be sued for the negligent treatment given by the associate dentists.
If you feel you may need to make a dental injury or personal injury negligence claim, or to speak to a member of the PI negligence team for advice, please call us on 0113 2007480 or fill in our contact form and one of the team will call you back.
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