By dentist Dr. Richard Mitchell
Why should you hire a dental malpractice attorney?
A good dental malpractice lawyer can let you know if you have good reason to file a dental malpractice claim.
Every dentist has a legal obligation to treat you correctly, to a certain standard. The lawyers call this "a duty of care".
The dentist has a duty to care for you, and to only provide treatment that is in your best interests.
BUT even if your dentist DOES NOT stick to this "duty of care", you do NOT automatically have a dental malpractice claim. You have to be able to prove that you suffered some harm in some way as a direct result of the dentist's negligence.
Sometimes, this can be hard to prove, especially in a court of law. The dentist you are trying to sue will have his own attorney, paid for by his malpractice insurance. He will also have one or more "experts" who will cross- examine you in an attempt to discredit you.
A dental malpractice attorney will help you to build a solid dental malpractice claim, and make sure that you get a fair hearing.
But what sort of things might give rise to a claim?
Remember, it's not enough that the dentist did something wrong. You have to show that you suffered some harm as a result. Here are some possible claims;
1. Failure to diagnose, or wrong diagnosis. If you suffer harm because your dentist did not diagnose a problem in time, you may have a claim. For example, not diagnosing gum disease, allowing it to get worse over time and resulting in you getting loose teeth. OR not spotting a mouth or tongue cancer.
2. Failure to obtain informed consent. This means the dentist must get your consent for the treatment before he starts. It is also important that he has your informed consent.
Informed consent means that the dentist must explain the treatment to you in a way that you can understand. If he bamboozles you with technical words, you may not understand the procedure, and so any consent you give is uninformed. You don't know what it is you are consenting to!
3. Any injuries to your lips, tongue or mouth due to carelessness or negligence by the dentist. For example, it is not normal that you leave the dentists office with a cut lip after getting a filling.
4. Improper treatment. This could be failing to place dental implants correctly, resulting in them falling out. Or doing a root canal procedure wrongly, leading to a tooth infection and possibly having to get the tooth pulled.
5. Numbness after a surgical procedure, if you were not warned about the possibility beforehand. There is always a small chance of some numbness after getting a wisdom tooth out, for example. But the dentist must warn you about this beforehand.
Unfortunately, nobody is perfect, and mistakes happen from time to time. But a dental malpractice attorney will be able to help you if you have suffered some harm due to a dentists' negligence.
Here is a link to a legal website to help you find a dental malpractice lawyer; Lawinfo
Page written by dentist Dr. Richard Mitchell LinkedIn Profile