Can I Sue for Dental Malpractice?

Dental Xrays and Gavel

Your Dentist Can Be Sued for Malpractice

Just like other negligent health care professionals, a dentist can be sued for dental malpractice. If it is determined a dentist provided sub-standard treatment, he or she can be held responsible for injuries.

Dental Malpractice Laws Differ in Each State

Medical malpractice laws are different in each state. However, most dental malpractice cases require a four-pronged situation which involves:

  • duty directly related to medical standards
  • a breach of the said duty
  • causation
  • resulting damages

Your dentist, or any dentist, is responsible for complying with standards of care when treating a patient. This care is usually defined as the level where a good standing dentist, in addition to the same or similar background in education and location, would offer care under nearly the same or a similar situation.

Breach of Duty

If your dentist does not treat you within these standards of care, then he or she has breached their legal requirements. There is an exception to this when there is an unsuccessful or an unfortunate result. This is because dental practice is not an exact science. Therefore, there are no assurances that a specific treatment will offer success or prevent complications in the future.

Breaches of Standard Care

There are types of procedures where a dentist breaches set standards. For example, if the dentist pulls the wrong tooth, this is considered a breach of standard care. Another example is when the injection is botched, and this results in permanent nerve damage.

Dental Malpractice: Cases Which Are Unclear

Other dental procedures could result in being not so clear cut if there was breached duty. In such cases, they are usually assisted by providing testimony from an expert medical witness. In such a situation, the expert witness would testify as to the prescribed standard of care in the situation and precisely how the dentist’s conduct was sub-standard in meeting the plaintiff’s needs.

Determining the Damages

The final step in proving dental malpractice is the damages. You must verify your dentist’s breach resulted in causing you harm. This might be the unnecessary loss of a tooth, nerve damage, costs of correcting the mistakes your dentist made, pain and suffering, and so forth.

Filing A Lawsuit – Dental Malpractice

If a dentist has injured you, you face the statute of limitations. This means you have a specific time limit in which you must file your lawsuit. The time limits vary in each state. Generally, if you have been injured, you need to file within five years from the last time you saw the dentist. Or, you must file within three years of the date the injury was discovered.

Contact Fellerman & Ciarimboli

Have you been the victim of dental malpractice? Are you considering suing and want an experienced, professional team of attorneys to represent you? Contact Fellerman & Ciarimboli today to schedule a free consultation.

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