Your dentist should help you maintain the health of your teeth and gums. They spend years in school and in training, learning how to do so. Visits to the dental office should leave you in good health; they should not lead to severe pain and illness.
Unfortunately, some dentists do not have the requisite training to do their job competently, or they do not care enough about their profession to be attentive and conscientious when dealing with patients. You should not have to suffer for the negligence, recklessness, ignorance, and inattentiveness of your dentist. If you have been the victim of dental malpractice, then you should build up a case and sue.
Your must first retain the services of a lawyer. That is the only way to prove the malpractice of your provider. Before you file suit, you will need to establish a legal strategy or the beginnings of one. You should hire a lawyer who has extensive experience and expertise in pursuing dental malpractice lawsuits. A lawyer of this kind will help you clarify your claim. They will listen to you with care and sensitivity, and they will help you determine the exact nature of the malpractice you’ve suffered.
This is one of the most important elements of the suits. Lawsuits must be grounded in facts. You must know and be able to prove exactly what your dentist did or did not do if you are to win.
Here are a few types of dental malpractice:
Failing to Diagnose
The entire purpose of a dental check-up is to confirm that all is well with your oral health. If evidence of a problem exists and your dentist fails to notice it, you could develop further complications over time. It is the responsibility of your dentist to carry out a thorough examination and to diagnose any conditions that may exist. A dentist who does not do this has violated the standard of care and is legally liable for it.
Giving the wrong diagnosis can be as bad, or in some cases is even worse, than failing to diagnose. If you seek treatment based on an incorrect diagnosis, the treatment will fail. Not only will your condition worsen, you will have paid money for nothing. In some cases, a bad diagnosis and incorrect treatment can lead to painful treatments that were completely unnecessary.
Treating the Wrong Tooth
This kind of dental malpractice can lead to the ruin of a perfectly good tooth and the neglect of the one that has given you so much trouble. Whether you need a crown, a root canal, or an extraction, the dentist must first identify the tooth that is to be operated on. As a layperson, your teeth may all look the same. But dentists are trained to tell them apart, and they are obligated to use this knowledge to give treatment and perform surgery.
Using Unsterilized Equipment
Dentists must reuse much of their equipment. They are obligated by law and professional principle to thoroughly sterilize each item after it has been used. Failure to do so can lead to the spreading of disease and infection.
Failure to Obtain a Complete Medical History
Your teeth and gums are part of an organic system that is interdependent. Your dentist should obtain a complete medical history before performing any procedure. Current or previous medical conditions can affect dental treatment. Your provider should also know of any medications you may be taking so that they can plan accordingly. You are not the expert, you are not the doctor, and therefore, you should not be the one to think of how your medical history may affect your dental treatment. This is the responsibility of your dentist. If they fail in this task, they can be held legally liable.
This is not an exhaustive list. Your lawyer may discover other dental errors or failures as you continue to tell your story. After your initial consultation, you may be reticent to pursue the matter any further because of costs. This is a legitimate worry. A dental malpractice lawsuit can be expensive. However, most malpractice lawyers will arrange it so that they get a percentage of the compensation you are awarded. Indeed, most such lawyers will not even take the case unless they know they can win it.
Lawyers who specialize in dental malpractice suits are trained to gather crucial evidence, introduce eyewitness and expert testimony, and bring the relevant bits of law to bear on the case. The aim is to prove that your dentist did not deliver the acceptable standard of care. Here are some of the actions your lawyer will take to meet that goal:
Dentists are required to keep records of every patient they treat. The first thing your lawyer will do is file a motion to see all of the records your dentist has on you. These can be used to show the various points in which there were mistakes and lapses in judgment. Your lawyer will also be able to investigate the history of your dentist and may be able to discover past lawsuits for malpractice.
Eyewitness and Expert Testimony
Your lawyer will know how to interview the staff at the clinic. The people who work with such dentists are often not willing to come forward to give evidence. It takes a skilled and experienced attorney to get such individuals to talk. Most people want to do the right thing; they also know when someone has been wronged and deserves justice. The technicians and nursing staff who work with the dentist you are suing will have unique insight into their methods of work. Your lawyer can persuade them to submit sworn statements or even to testify in court, if necessary.
Your lawyer will also be able to call on the knowledge of dental experts. Such specialists can review and analyze your case and discern the various places your dentist went wrong. These professionals are often the most important witnesses in the case because they can explain why your dentist failed to provide the acceptable standard of care.
In the end, you must prove that your dentist failed to perform their professional obligation in some way, that they did not meet the standard of care as defined by law, that this failure has led to illness, pain, and suffering, and that you are entitled to compensation. Your lawyer will be able to put the case together in such a way that this is all proven.
However, the case need not go to trial for you to get compensation. The respondent may decide to settle. If that happens, then your lawyer will need to negotiate a compensation settlement that is commensurate with all that you have had to endure.