Going to the dentist holds its fair share of worries. From worrying about problems with your teeth to stressing about the pain of dental procedures, you might have your plate full. But have you ever considered the outcome of your dentist doing something wrong that causes you more pain in the long run? Maybe you find yourself in that situation right now. You may have heard of medical malpractice, but the same can happen in the dental world, too. It’s important for you to understand what dental malpractice is, so you can learn how to fight it and receive the compensation you deserve.
What is Dental Malpractice?
The definition of dental malpractice is simple enough. When something your dentist does-or doesn’t do-results in your injury, you’ve been the victim of dental malpractice. Some common examples of dental malpractice may include:
· Delayed or incorrect diagnosis
· No diagnosis
· Unnecessary treatments
· Improper administration of anesthesia
· Severe injury because of treatment
· Treating the wrong tooth
Can You File Suit?
If you think you’ve been a victim of dental malpractice, you’re likely also wondering if you have grounds to file a lawsuit against the dentist that did you harm. In most cases, you can, but you first need to make sure you have a legitimate case of dental malpractice on your hands. Before you can file a lawsuit against your dentist, you’ll need to be sure you can perform four things:
1.Dentist-Patient Relationship – This is the easiest step, and is typically not disputed. You need to prove that you had a relationship with the dentist.
2.Medical Standard of Care – Next, you need to establish a standard for the level of care one can expect to receive from dentists in your area for your particular situation. You’ll typically need an expert witness to verify this step.
3.Breach of Standard – After you’ve established the standard, you’ll need to prove how your dentist breached that standard of care. This is often the hardest part, because you’ll need to prove without doubt that what your dentist did caused your harm.
4.How Serious? – Finally, you’ll need to establish how serious the injury was. If the injury was minor, it may not be worth it to pursue a lawsuit.
Should You File Suit?
If you can perform the four steps listed above without problem, you’re likely a good candidate for a dental malpractice lawsuit. But does that mean you should still pursue one? Every situation is different, and it’s best if you take the time to consult with an attorney who deals with dental malpractice cases.
The more time you take to prepare yourself for a potential lawsuit, the faster the overall process will go. A seasoned and experienced attorney will be able to help you perform the fours steps listed above, and will be able to best advise you on how to proceed.
If you think you’ve been a victim of dental malpractice, it’s best to consider all options before your injury or condition gets worse. That way, you can receive the care you need to fully recover.