Dental malpractice is categorized by injury as the result of negligent dental work, as well as the failure to correctly diagnose or treat adverse oral conditions. Dental malpractice also includes any intentional misconduct acted upon a patient by a dental care provider. Overall, in order to bring a possible dental malpractice lawsuit, one must prove that the dental care provider committed a dental procedure, whether intentionally or not, that no other reasonable dental care provider would have committed.
A dental care provider must at all times obtain a patient's consent for any treatment he enacts. Treatment that exceeds the consent given may be grounds for a dental malpractice lawsuit. However, results of a medical procedure cannot be guaranteed and a lawsuit may not be brought because a patient was unhappy with the results of a treatment.
Dental Malpractice cases can come in many forms. They can cause injury via the misuse of analgesics, anesthetics, antibiotics and sedatives. Negligent dental care providers can also insist on costly procedures that are not necessary. The common cases of dental malpractice include: facial paralysis, problems with cavity fillings, dental-related surgical errors, root canal errors, and chronic pain.
Dental Malpractice and negligence can be caused by many causes. The common causes of dental malpractice cases are:
- Failure to detect an oral disease or malformation
- Use of defective dental products
- Injury to oral cavity or surrounding bone structure and
- Improper use of dental or surgical utensils
- Wrongful death caused by dental procedure
- Performing unnecessary procedures
It is also possible for a dental care provider to exploit the insurance system for the physician's benefit. A dentist might perform many non-required or even unnecessary diagnostics and follow-up exams just to get more insurance money. Though rare, such conduct falls under dental malpractice.
As in many malpractice cases, having well written documented evidence is helpful. Documented evidence helps build credibility for a claim as well as remind the patient of events he might have forgotten. A journal of the events and symptoms of a patient is a good source of documentation. Dental records, which include the symptoms and injuries the patient has incurred, are also helpful in building a dental malpractice case. Remember, it is important that the documentation portray the patient’s actions as trying to be helpful and understanding, lest the defense argue that the patient was attempting to bring a lawsuit from the start.
Dental charts play an important role in dental malpractice cases, as they can corroborate the patient’s story. However, it is important that the dental care provider does not alter or “lose” any records. It is recommended that the request for dental records be made by the patient, with no sign of building a potential malpractice case. Patients commonly say they need the dental records for a second opinion. It is important that the copy of the dental records received be checked against the original to verify is correctness and completeness. Also, there may be certain types of records that are not included in dental charts (such as x-rays, prescriptions, referral slips). It is important that the patient obtain all these records as well.
In court, the accused negligent dental care provider will have attorneys that will try to refute and devalue your case. Having a dental malpractice attorney on your side will help fight and counter the testimony given by the dental care provider.
You have the right to receive proper compensation for the injuries sustained due to a negligent dental care provider!
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