Hardly anyone enjoys visiting the dentist. Whether it’s a root canal, a crown, or a complicated oral surgery, people associate pain with the experience. Still, they trust their oral health
to a licensed dentist because their teeth and gums need attention.
But what happens if something goes wrong while you’re reclined in that chair? Or what if you have dental work done and then experience complications months later? If you suffered significant loss or pain at the hands of a negligent dentist, you should consult an attorney who specializes in dental malpractice cases.
Dental Malpractice Cases: What types of problems can you sue your dentist for?
Most people think of malpractice in terms of what a physician (in this case, a dentist) does to cause harm to a patient. It can include everything from permanently injuring a tongue nerve during a surgery miscue to crafting a defective oral device that causes costly and painful complications. These are both acts on the part of negligent dentists – things they did but should not have. But did you know that a dentist’s failure to do something can also be grounds for a dental malpractice lawsuit? Failing to diagnose oral cancer or other serious problems when they ought to can also land dentists in the courtroom.
Here are just a few examples of dental malpractice cases in which patients took hefty settlements or won large awards at trial:
– Nerve injuries that affected a patient’s ability to taste
– Nerve injuries that caused permanent numbness in the tongue (or even just part of the tongue)
– Complications arising from negligently completed crowns and bridges
– Dentists’ failures to take a patient’s relevant medical history into account before acting
– Failure to detect oral cancer, periodontal disease, or other diseases
– Certain complications from anesthesia, even when releases are signed
– Unnecessary extraction of multiple teeth
– Extraction of wrong teeth (Oh, yesÃ¢Â?Â¦.it happens.)
Whatever the case, you do need to demonstrate more than just some short-term pain or an unnecessary extra visit. The dentist’s malpractice has to cause you harm that is quantifiable and of a significant enough degree that you can recover a sizable sum if the case were to go to trial. If you had to have expensive emergency surgery to correct what the dentist did wrong, if you missed a significant amount of work, or if you suffered permanent loss of sensation or disfigurement, those types of conditions (when combined with any pain and suffering) are ominous enough that the dentist’s malpractice insurer should offer you a fair settlement.
Also, laws vary by state, so you will need to consult with an attorney regarding whether a statute of limitations bars your claim.
Dental Malpractice Cases: What should you look for in a dental malpractice lawyer?
There are a number of boutique law firms that specialize in dental malpractice cases. Look for firms with at least one attorney who is also trained as a dentist. The joint JD and DDS, combined with litigation and settlement experience, signifies that an attorney is truly a specialist in dental malpractice cases. Ask the attorney to talk about his or her previous experience and the kinds of settlements he or she has previously obtained for clients.