In the same way that medical doctors may be liable for damages as a result of substandard care or neglect in the treatment of their patients, dentists may also be held responsible for patient injuries or harm suffered under such conditions.
The conditions under which dental malpractice may be established are like those of medical malpractice. The claimant must prove that a dentist-patient relationship existed. They must also establish the medical standard of care under the circumstances of treatment, how that standard of care was breached and that there was harm caused to the patient and the nature of the patient’s resulting injury.
As you might guess, proving a dentist-patient relationship is often quite a simple task. A practiced personal injury attorney will establish the medical standard of care through the aid of a qualified expert medical witness, typically another dentist with an established record of performing the procedure in question. The medical witness will typically establish kind of medical care the patient should have expected to receive under the conditions of their treatment. From there, an attorney will seek to establish how the standard of care was breached, which may be the most difficult objective in a dental malpractice personal injury claim.
For instance, let’s say you sue your dentist over an injury caused by root canal procedure. An established oral surgeon who has performed this procedure before might be retained by your attorney to testify as to the standard of care expected in a root canal under the conditions of your treatment.
Your attorney, quite possibly through the help of the expert medical witness, will need to establish that the dentist that performed the root canal caused the resulting injury or exacerbated the existing injury by his or her action or inaction. How did the dentist’s actions divert from the standard of medical care established by your witness? How did that then result in your injury? These are some of the questions your attorney will need to answer.
It’s also important to know that just because a dentist has caused harm, it doesn’t necessarily rise to the level of severity that warrants a medical malpractice judgment. If you suffered excessive bruising or pain but not extensive damage, it may still be considered malpractice, yet not necessarily actionable or warrant monetary damages. It’s important to consult an experienced personal injury attorney before moving forward with any dental malpractice claim.
These are some of the more common circumstances that lead to dental malpractice awards:
- Improper extraction of teeth
- Failure to diagnose serious conditions
- Failure to properly treat complications of medical care (eg. infections)
- Failure to properly supervise or oversee treatment by employees (eg. dental hygienists)
- Wrongfully administered anesthesia
- Failure to refer to a specialist
If you have additional questions about filing a dental malpractice personal injury claim, please contact the lawyers of Bizzieri Law Offices. Our skilled and experienced attorneys work extensively to recover the highest damages to which you are entitled. Call us at 800.771.800 for a free consultation. We understand the strategies needed to best defend your rights and ensure that your rightful compensation is received.