Dental care is crucial for overall health. Generally, proper dental care entails brushing and flossing effectively and undergoing regular cleanings. Periodically, most dentists conduct comprehensive examinations that include X-rays.
Dentists’ Liability for Dental Procedures
Dentists, orthodontists, and oral surgeons are liable for injuries resulting from treatment-related errors. If a dentist’s professional negligence causes an injury to a patient, the patient may have the right to file a lawsuit for medical malpractice.
To be eligible to file a dental malpractice claim, the patient must establish the four (4) elements of medical malpractice. What are the four fundamental components?
In most instances, it is not difficult to establish a dentist-patient relationship. If you have received care at a dental office, you likely meet the patient threshold. In order to establish a relationship, there must be completed paperwork outlining services and payment expectations.
The applicable medical standard must be pertinent to the contested procedure. If such a standard exists, it is straightforward to demonstrate. A medical expert must testify regarding the appropriate standard of care. The expert will explain to the court what the dentist should have done. To qualify as an expert witness, the witness must be familiar with the specific procedure and be able to testify about the appropriate expectations.
As with the existence of the medical standard of care, this must be attested to by a medical professional. The medical expert must explicate how the dentist’s actions violated the standard of care. This requires demonstrating what the standard of care required the dentist to do, what they did instead, and how their actions led to an injury.
If a dentist fails to meet the standard of care, a patient who was not injured cannot seek compensation. A patient must demonstrate that the dentist’s negligence caused an injury that resulted in damages in order to assert a malpractice claim. A medical expert’s testimony can link the patient’s injuries to the dentist’s actions.
If you believe that these four elements apply to your situation and can be used to prove dental malpractice, you may have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Typical Dental Malpractice Cases
Similar to medical malpractice, certain dental procedures are more likely to result in malpractice claims than others. Typical fact patterns that form the basis of a dental malpractice claim include the following:
- Failure to diagnose dangerous conditions, such as TMJ or oral cancer, that threaten a patient
- Improper tooth extraction (wrong tooth or wrong patient)
- Failure to treat dental problems such as infections
- Improper administration of anaesthesia
In each of the situations described above, the dentist failed to adhere to the expected standard of care. This failure resulted in injury, whether it was a missing tooth, an infection, or mental and physical suffering.
If you or a loved one were injured as a result of negligent dental care, you may be eligible for compensation. If you believe your case contains all four elements of a malpractice claim, you should consult a personal injury attorney about your legal rights.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm
Contact Abrams Law Group for a free consultation if you’ve been hurt in an accident and require legal assistance.