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What is Dental Malpractice?

Posted in Dental Malpractice,Professional Negligence on January 15, 2020

A dental chair


Dental malpractice occurs when a dentist breaches their duty of care, causing harm. Victims can take legal action, but need an experienced attorney to prove their case and get compensation.

Comparing Key Points

Element Description Evidence
Duty of Care Dentist’s responsibility to provide an accepted standard of care Expert testimony on standard procedures
Breach Failure to meet the standard, like improper use of tools Medical records, notes with inconsistencies
Causation Breach directly caused injury/harm to the patient Records linking breach to resulting injury
Damages The losses incurred due to the breach, like bills or disability Documentation validating costs, losses

What is dental malpractice?

A: Dental malpractice occurs when a dentist fails to provide the accepted standard of dental care, causing injuries or other harm to a patient. Victims may file a malpractice lawsuit against the dentist to recover compensation for their losses.

Even though the majority of dentists are competent and trustworthy, many Americans are fearful of going to the dentist due to past negative experiences, oral sensitivities, or simple anxiety. For some dental patients, these fears become founded when their dentist does something against the standard of care that harms them. When this occurs, the dentist can become liable for dental malpractice.  Importantly for victims, dentists can be sued for dental malpractice just as doctors can be sued for medical malpractice.

  • If you suffered an injury or other dental problem at the dentist or after seeing your dentist, it is best to schedule a case consultation with a seasoned New Orleans dental malpractice lawyer
  • Upon reviewing your circumstances, the attorney can tell you if you have a valid dental malpractice claim and how much it might be worth.
  • If you choose to pursue legal action, they will help you move forward.

Defining Dental Malpractice

Those who desire to bring a lawsuit against a dentist or other professionals need to prove that they were harmed or otherwise suffered damages as a result of the substandard care they were provided. In general, you need to prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care, and he or she breached that duty, and that breach caused your injuries and damages.

  • It is the job of the plaintiff’s lawyer to prove each of these elements in court.
  • They will rely partially on your medical and dental records such as your history, informed consent, a treatment plan, notes about your treatment.
  • If the records are not complete, are unclear, have missing pages, or inconsistencies, the plaintiff could be more likely to win their case.

Your New Orleans dental malpractice attorney may also use the testimony of expert witnesses in your case to prove your claim. An expert witness can show how the dental care you received fell below the accepted professional standard of care.

Examples of Dental Malpractice

Dental malpractice can occur in several different ways. It is particularly troublesome as many dental procedures are not easily reversed or fixed.

  • For example, once a permanent tooth is pulled, there is no way to put it back.
  • An unstable bridge can be broken or knocked out, causing pain and embarrassment to a patient, which may take time to fix.

Other examples of dental malpractice include:

  • Anesthesia complications
  • Failure to diagnose oral diseases or cancers
  • Failure to diagnose or treat periodontal/gum disease
  • Injuries to oral nerves
  • Dental implants
  • Complications with bridges and crowns
  • Tooth extraction problems
  • Improper use of dental or surgical utensils
  • Root canal injuries
  • Orthodontics
  • Complications from Novocain
  • Infections
  • Excessive force during surgical procedures causing permanent jaw disorders or chronic facial pain
  • Injury to the oral cavity or surrounding bone tissue during a dental procedure
  • Failure to refer to a specialist
  • Lack of informed consent
  • Unnecessary examinations or procedures
  • Failure to properly supervise or oversee the actions of employees
  • Insurance system abuse

If you endured any of these injuries or circumstances, reach out to an experienced New Orleans dental malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. Time is of the essence as valuable evidence can be lost in your case and your allotted time to file a lawsuit is limited. Most states have enacted laws preventing claims from being filed after only two years from the date a patient-doctor relationship began or when the patient began suffering harm. If you do not act within this time limit, your legal right to seek compensation for your claim will be void, and you will not receive compensation for your injuries.

Who Can Be Liable for Dental Malpractice?

When it comes to considering who can be held liable for dental malpractice, many people immediately think of the dentist providing care. However, depending on the circumstances, other medical or dental professionals can also be named in a lawsuit by a dental malpractice lawyer in New Orleans. These professional can include:

  • Dental assistants
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Periodontists
  • Orthodontists
  • Endodontists
  • Pharmacists
  • Maxillofacial surgeons

Your New Orleans dental malpractice lawyer will carefully review your medical records and all of the details of your case to determine who could be liable. If there are multiple responsible parties, your attorney will name each one in your lawsuit. 

It is possible that more than one party could be found liable for your injuries and damages. 

When this happens, the court will assign each party a percentage of fault, and they will be responsible for paying that portion of your damages.

Dental Malpractice Damages

Your lawyer will need to show that you suffered injuries and damages as a result of the sub-standard dental care you received. Your injuries and damages are used to determine how much your case is worth.

The more severe your injuries and damages, the higher your compensation could be. Damages can vary from one case to the next, but the most commonly claimed damages in dental malpractice cases are:

  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Disability related to chewing, swallowing, or talking
  • The need for future dental care to fix the negligent care
  • Dental and medical bills

Call an Experienced Dental Malpractice Lawyer in New Orleans

If you or a loved one have been injured or harmed through a situation arising from a dental exam or procedure, you need a dental malpractice lawyer in New Orleans that experienced in the intricate area of dental malpractice litigation.

At the Law Office of John W. Redmann, L.L.C., we recognize how distressing and detrimental dental malpractice can be. 

We will pursue your claim as fully as is allowed under the law with the goals of ensuring that you receive all of the compensation you are entitled to and to hold those who have harmed you accountable for their actions. In addition, we will never collect legal fees from you unless we win your case.

If you have been injured, do not delay. Schedule your free consultation today and begin protecting your rights. 

Call (504) 500-5000 to reach the Law Office of John W. Redmann, L.L.C. or use our convenient online contact form.