Medical malpractice covers a broad range of fields, and one of those is dentistry. Numerous healthcare professionals, including dentists, oral surgeons, and dental hygienists, can commit serious errors. In some cases, those mistakes cost the life of the victim. What rights do you have if a dental professional has committed malpractice? Trust the team at Hale & Monico.
What Is Considered Dental Malpractice?
Dental work involves more than routine cleanings. It often includes surgical work in the mouth, drilling into teeth, and contact with bones and nerves. Dentists can commit a variety of mistakes such as:
- Injuries during root canal work
- Damage to oral nerves
- Failure to detect oral cancer and disease
- Anesthesia errors
- Problems extracting teeth
Some mistakes can be fatal. These usually involve anesthesia errors, in which the patient never wakes up, or failure to screen cancers and diseases. In cases like these, the victim’s family may have a wrongful death claim.
Every medical malpractice case, including those involving dentists, starts with discussion of the duty of care. Healthcare providers are required to perform their duties just as a reasonable professional would in the same circumstances. Dentists are similarly obligated, and when they breach this duty of care and hurt their patients, they can be held liable for malpractice.
It’s important to know that dentistry is not an exact science. No court expects a dentist to never make a mistake, and the law does not guarantee the total absence of errors. What the law is concerned with are unreasonable mistakes, those that would not be committed had the dentist been careful. Dental malpractice can happen for a number of reasons, such as:
- Poor training
- Lack of sanitary dental instruments
- Too many patients
- Clerical errors
Knowing the exact reasons your dental malpractice occurred is a critical part of making a legal claim. It’s the injured patient’s responsibility to set forth the grounds of a malpractice lawsuit. Having a knowledgeable attorney is an essential part of this process. Your lawyer will understand the sort of details that have to be included in your claim.
In most cases, expert witness testimony will be necessary to establish the proper duty of care and to explain why it was breached. Dental malpractice cases are notoriously complex and often touch on several medical fields, depending on the case. Our law firm has a network of professionals we can call upon as expert witnesses, and we know how to develop the testimony that will support your case.
Once your lawsuit has been filed, the discovery process can begin. Discovery is a critical stage in any civil lawsuit. It is the method by which both parties gain access to useful and relevant information in the case, such as medical records and details about how the dental practice is run. Obtaining this evidence will help you build a case, so you need a lawyer who thoroughly understands the discovery process.
Contact Hale & Monico Today
Dental malpractice can cost patients thousands of dollars in medical bills they never should have incurred. It also takes time away from their work and results in unnecessary pain and suffering. When a dental professional is negligent, patients get hurt. That’s when the attorneys of Hale & Monico go to work. Reach out to us today to discuss your legal options.