Your dentist is meant to be there for regular check-ups and to repair any issues with your teeth. They are medical professionals obligated to work with extreme care and attentiveness to their patients’ issues. However, some dentists do not uphold this high standard. Dental malpractice cases account for these dentists when a patient is harmed through their lackluster care.
The National Practitioner Data Bank reported that for 2006-2016, among the 19,755 dentists nationwide, there were 16,337 medical malpractice payments and 13,772 adverse actions filed against them. This is an extremely concerning number, but we are here to ensure that these dentists do not get away with it and continue their malpractice with others.
At Agruss Law Firm, LLC, we have helped thousands of clients to seek justice and compensation for personal injuries, and you won’t owe us a penny for our services unless we win your case. If you or a loved one has been injured due to dental malpractice, contact our office today for a free consultation.
Types of Dental Malpractice
Since dentists are medical professionals trained in their specialty, one should be able to reasonably assume that they are in good hands when they get their teeth checked. When they do not behave or treat a patient in the way another reasonable dentist would under the same circumstances, it is a case of dental malpractice.
Patients can get seriously harmed and require extensive and additional hospitalization or surgery to repair the damage that they have caused. Injuries that can result from their malpractice include nerve damage, scarring, disfigurement, infections, complications, and more. A few types of dental malpractice that can cause these injuries to include the following:
- Improper or unnecessary extraction of teeth – This can cause extensive complications for a patient and cosmetic concerns, as well.
- Lack of informed consent – Illinois state law says that dentists must provide patients with detailed information about a procedure or treatment so that they are aware and able to choose to go through with it or not. Failure to do so violates the law and carries serious repercussions.
- Incorrect drug administration – When these professionals prescribe the incorrect drug and/or dosage, the patient can suffer from extensive complications and costs.
- Failure to refer to a specialist – Dentists should be attentive enough to the patient to spot any red flags with their condition and refer them to a specialist. If they do not, a life-threatening condition could go unnoticed until it is too late.
- Anesthesia complications – Dentists administering the incorrect amount of anesthesia can cause a patient immense pain and complications.
- Errors in oral surgery procedures – Procedures such as root canals, dental implants, cavity fillings, and more should be carefully and correctly conducted for a patient to avoid injuries such as nerve damage, fractured jaws, air embolisms, and more.
- Unnecessary procedures – Treatments should be administered only when necessary to help the patient. When dentists add on treatments or procedures, it could cause complications and excessive costs for the patient to take on.
- Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis of an oral condition – Serious consequences can follow if a dentist fails to find and treat a condition early on or at all.
Proving a Dental Malpractice Claim
Dentists are not the only liable party in dental malpractice cases; oral surgeons, orthodontists, oral radiologists, and other oral care specialists can be liable for the injuries caused by a certain individual’s negligence. The key is to find at what point that the malpractice occurred. This is why one of the most important things to consider here is that you keep proper documentation of every procedure, cost, and drug prescription that you are given by the oral specialist. This will help you prove your case by being able to point out when and where a mistake was made. We will assist you in doing so by conducting an investigation into your experience, the doctor, and the procedures, as well as consulting experts in the topic.
Medical professionals are held to a higher standard of care for their patients than other occupations due to the high stakes of their work. Specialists are held to an even higher standard than general physicians. According to the Illinois Dental Practice Act, supervising dentists can be held responsible for the care of their patients as well as for failing to prevent those are unqualified to practice dentistry from treating one of their patients. But there is also much more to consider before you file a claim, which we will help you in sorting out.
There is more to a dental malpractice claim than simply having documentation of the process. You must prove certain things to bring a valid case forth and essentially prove that they were negligent in treating you. You can prove these components by showing medical records and bills, testimony from experts in oral care and treatment, and more that we will assist you in obtaining. Also, your injuries cannot be minor (such as temporary pain) to prompt you to take legal action. There are a few components to proving a dental malpractice claim to ensure that it is valid and succeeds:
- There existed a physician-patient relationship between you and the oral specialist.
- The oral specialist has a responsibility to a professional standard of care.
- The oral specialist breached this professional standard of care and how they did so.
- This breach was the sole and direct cause of your injuries and harm.
- You suffered actual damages from their breach of care.
Damages That Can Be Recovered
Dental malpractice can be a serious, life-altering, and life-threatening issue. Even more concerning is that much fewer people carry dental insurance or a sufficient amount to cover the costs of your injury. According to the National Association of Dental Plans, over one-third of American adults have no dental insurance. This can make the medical costs associated with your injury even more stressful to take on. One of our experienced attorneys will work tirelessly with you to protect your rights and get these medical expenses out of the way through a successful claim or lawsuit. Some damages that you can recover after dental malpractice include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Future loss of earnings
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of reputation
If you or a loved one has been injured due to dental malpractice, contact our office today for a free consultation.