Like all cases of negligence and medical malpractice, dental malpractice occurs when the breach of a duty of care causes injury to another. As medical professionals, dentists are held to the standard of knowledge and skills possessed by a reasonably well-educated and well-trained dentist. Dental specialists, such as periodontists, oral surgeons, and orthodontists, have even more advanced education and training and are held to a higher standard reflecting the level of care expected in their field of specialty.
A claim for dental malpractice may be based on the dentist’s negligence or lack of competence. Common bases for dental malpractice claims include the following types of errors:
- Failure to diagnose a serious condition, such as oral cancer or periodontal disease
- Failure to treat or causing an unreasonable delay in performing treatment
- Damage to a nerve during oral surgery or other treatment
- Unnecessary tooth extraction
- Extracting the wrong teeth
- Causing infection to teeth, gums, or jaw by improper treatment
- Improper administration of anesthesia
- Crafting a defective oral device
- Failing to obtain a complete medical history
- Failing to obtain informed consent before treating
Errors committed due to dental malpractice often require reconstructive work by other dentists to undo the damage. A victim of dental malpractice may be able to recover such costs as well as other medical expenses incurred to treat infections or other complications. Like other cases of negligence and medical malpractice, the injured plaintiff may also recover damages for lost wages to compensate for missed work, as well as pain and suffering. Dental malpractice can be particularly painful and traumatic, and the prospect of further dental work to undo the damage only heightens the anguish and distress often experienced.
Seek Experienced Legal Representation
As a type of medical malpractice, dental malpractice is subject to similar issues such as the statute of limitations – the time for filing a lawsuit. Most medical malpractice claims must be brought within 2 ½ years of the date of injury, as opposed to three years in ordinary negligence and personal injury actions. Sometimes the injury may not be immediately noticeable and may only be discovered months or years later, such as when a piece of a drill bit breaks off and lodges in the tooth. In these cases, the statute of limitations may be even more difficult to pin down.
Dental malpractice and medical malpractice claims have many difficult hurdles to overcome. By retaining an experienced personal injury attorney with a proven record of success, you can improve your chances of prevailing on your claim and recovering a fair settlement. In New York City, contact Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C. for a free consultation.