Dental visits don’t always go according to plan. Just as with any other medical treatment, complications do occur, and when they do the patient is not necessarily entitled to personal injury damages. It is important, however, to understand that medical staff like physicians, nurses and dentists have a distinct responsibility to provide a certain standard of care recognized across the industry.
(Does your medical malpractice claim stem from prescription drugs? Learn more about establishing a prescription drug medical malpractice claim.)
If you want to prove dental malpractice, you really have to establish three criteria if you are to have a chance at recovering damages in your claim:
You Must Establish a Patient/Dentist Relationship:
Establishing that you are under treatment by the dentist in question is essential to your claim. After all, how can they be responsible for your injuries if they weren’t responsible for your care in the first place. This should not be a difficult task. But still, it’s crucial.
Under the Conditions Established, The Dentist Did Not Provide the Proper Treatment:
Establishing that your dentist made an error or failed to live up to their duty of care really means showing that under the conditions under which you were treated, they failed to live up to the standard any other licensed dentist would have been expected to provide a patient. Let’s say, for example, you suspect that you were given substandard treatment while in the dentist’s chair, you would need to first establish a baseline for what that acceptable standard of care would have been. Did he or she provide adequate anesthetic for the procedure? Were the instruments used clean? These are questions that might be raised by a competent dentist of the same or similar experience and education, who might serve as a witness. If you can establish what the proper procedure should have been as described by a competent dentist of similar credentials and experience, then you simply have to establish that your dentist fell short of that benchmark in your visit.
Level-setting with a “medical standard of care” allows you to show that by comparison your treatment was decidedly poorer that you would or should have expected.
You Sustained Injuries as a Result of the Dentist’s Failure to Provide Adequate Treatment:
Showing that your dentist provided less than adequate care is the first step in winning your claim. However, plaintiffs must also show that that substandard care was the cause of the injuries they sustained.
If a patient is visiting the office for a tooth extraction and in the process a nerve is damaged and the patient suffers severe permanent injury, you must first establish that the drilling done that day caused the nerve damage in question. But you also must establish that the drilling was indeed excessive for the conditions present on the occasion of your visit. So you must not only establish that the dentist went well beyond what any other equally qualified dentist would have achieved in that visit, AND that that substandard care is what caused the nerve damage that resulted.
This kind of claim requires extensive investigation, witness testimony and potentially second opinions from qualified dentists.
Establishing dental malpractice can be extremely difficult without an experienced personal injury attorney like those of Bizzieri Law Offices in Chicago. We possess the experience and the dedication to see your case through and recover the highest damage award to which you are entitled. Call our offices at 773.881.9000 and get the representation you need to get the compensation you deserve.