What can I do if I receive substandard dental care in France?

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Reader Question: I received substandard dental care. Is there an organization I can contact to request a refund of money paid? The dentist has now moved and I have to redo the job.

All dentists in France have a duty of care, which means they are required to provide a reasonable level of treatment. They don’t have to cure or fix your problems (this may not be possible), but they should do everything possible to treat you properly.

If you received substandard treatment, your dentist is obligated to try to remedy the situation.

So, the first option you should try is to go back to your dentist and ask him to fix the problem you are having.

It is obviously more delicate in the case of our reader because his dentist has moved. Another complicated situation is if a dentist refuses to treat you because he does not take responsibility for the problem.

There are different options you can try in this case.

Prove mistreatment

You are responsible for proving that the treatment given to you by your dentist is not of a sufficient standard.

If, as is the case with our reader, the dentist has moved away and therefore cannot treat you, or in another scenario the dentist refuses to take responsibility for a mistake, you need to gather evidence of a improper treatment in order to claim compensation.

This is not necessarily limited to reimbursement, but can potentially include other costs such as loss of income if you were unable to work, and possibly compensation for physical suffering resulting from poorly done work. , or distress due to damage to the appearance of the teeth.

The first step for this is to ask your dentist for your medical records (medical file). The most official way to do this is to send them a registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt (registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt).

You can also apply by e-mail, phone call or in person, but the registered letter could be useful if the matter goes to court.

Your dentist has eight days to send you your medical file.

The next step is to seek the advice of an independent expert dentist (independent medical expert Where medical adviser for victims) who will be able to give you a health check and an attestation that the work carried out by your dentist did not comply with a reasonable standard.

You will have to pay for this service but may be able to use a legal guarantee included in a health or home insurance contract called legal protection guarantee – we explain more about this later in the article.

There are various associations offering independent expert doctors or dentists, such as the Association Aide Indemnisation Victimes de France. You can find contact details for their expert dentists here.

Another option for getting an assessment of your situation and possible help is to to apply to Regional Commission for Conciliation and Compensation for Medical Accidents, an organ that can potentially help find a solution between you and the dentist. Note that in some cases, compensation may also be possible from a public body called Oniam where something went wrong and caused you harm, but it cannot be proven that the dentist was at fault.

With your proof, you can go back to your dentist and ask him for a refund/compensation or to correct the mistakes he made.

Dentists may use their own professional insurance in the event of a claim, in which case the insurance company may wish to have their own expert examine you.

If no compensation is offered, or if you are offered an amount that you consider too low, your last resort is legal action. judicial court. For this, you will need to be represented by a lawyer.

Legal protection guarantee

You may have something called a legal protection guarantee Where defense-recourse guarantee under a health insurance, home insurance or other type of insurance contract. This obliges the insurers to carry out the legal formalities on your behalf.

However, this will only cover you for legal issues defined in the contract and related to the specific type of insurance. For example, if you have this type of coverage as part of your car insurance, it will probably only cover you for car-related problems and not for a dispute with a neighbor or a dental complaint, for example.

If you happen to have insurance that has a legal protection guarantee covering medical and/or dental issues, your insurer will contact the dentist or even the dentist’s professional liability insurance for you. If this does not lead to an agreement, legal proceedings may be considered.

In this case, your insurer will represent you in court. If you wish, they will also offer you a lawyer.

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