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Can You Sue a Dentist for Malpractice?

Yes, you can sue a dentist for malpractice. Dentist negligence lawsuits are more common than you might realize. In fact, the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism reported that dental malpractice cases make up one out of seven medical malpractice cases. 

Dentists, like other healthcare professionals, carry malpractice insurance to defend them from dental malpractice lawsuits. You do not want to battle a billion-dollar insurance company by yourself. A dental malpractice lawyer could advocate for you and help you pursue the financial compensation you deserve.

Recoverable Damages in a Dental Negligence Lawsuit

If you were the victim of dental malpractice, you might be able to pursue a claim for financial compensation for your injuries and other losses. Every dental malpractice case is different, and the damages you can recover will depend on the facts of your situation.

Here are some of the common categories of monetary damages in dental malpractice claims:

  • Additional dental bills: Usually, the bills for the original dental work are not recoverable because you would have incurred those expenses whether the procedure went well or not. Still, the dental costs you had to pay to get the flawed work redone or repaired can be included in your malpractice claim.
  • Medical bills: Many dental work complications need medical attention outside of what is considered dental services. If you had to receive non-dental healthcare services as a result of the substandard dental care, those medical expenses can be added to your dental malpractice case.
  • Lost wages: You can add your lost income to your claim if you missed time from work without pay while recuperating and undergoing additional procedures.
  • Pain and suffering: Defective dental care can cause pain for years. Some people also experience a decrease in their quality of life because, for example, they can no longer eat solid food. Pain and suffering damages address the physical discomfort and emotional distress that can accompany flawed dental care. 

A lawyer for dental malpractice can talk with you about the multiple impacts dental malpractice has had on your life.

The Anatomy of a Dental Malpractice Case

You will have to prove that a dental professional caused you to suffer harm as a result of their negligence. Some of the common categories of dental negligence include the following:

  • The quality of the dental work you received was substandard.
  • You had oral disease and received a delayed diagnosis or delayed treatment.
  • You had a dental condition that was hazardous to your health, and the dentist failed to diagnose or treat the condition.

On rare occasions, the dentist will intentionally commit misconduct.

Situations That Can Involve Dental Malpractice

Here are some of the situations in which most dental negligence claims arise:

  • Failure to diagnose or delayed diagnosis of periodontal disease: When periodontal disease is not diagnosed and treated promptly, the result can be tooth loss, stroke, heart attack, or other cardiovascular events. Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues and bones of the mouth that can usually be detected by routine X-rays.
  • Complications from anesthesia: These complications are one of the most common causes of fatalities following dental procedures. When the patient survives a significant anesthesia complication, they often suffer brain damage, which can be permanent and life-changing.
  • Complications from dental implants: A patient can develop an infection or failure of the implant after undergoing a dental implant procedure.
  • Crowns and bridges: The most common complications following crown and bridge treatments include poor occlusions, overhanging restorations, and open margins.
  • Complications after tooth extractions: Post-extraction issues can include infections, sinus perforation, and severed nerves.
  • Reactions to drugs: The dentist needs to check the patient’s medical history for drug allergies and all current medications to avoid an allergic reaction or an adverse interaction with another drug.
  • Complications after endodontic procedures: These complications can include air embolisms, infections, perforation of sinuses and nerves, and instruments left in canals.

You will want to talk to a dental malpractice attorney about whether you might be the victim of substandard dental care.

Filing Deadline for Dental Malpractice in California

California does not let you wait very long before you must file a dental malpractice lawsuit or lose the right to hold the at-fault party financially accountable for their negligence. Under CCP § 340.5, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice in our state is three years. Dental malpractice is a form of medical malpractice.

Please do not get tricked into missing the filing deadline. The only thing that will satisfy the statute of limitations if your claim has not already been settled is to file a dental malpractice lawsuit. Negotiating with the dentist or their malpractice liability insurance carrier does not satisfy the statute of limitations. If you miss the filing deadline, California law will forever bar you from seeking compensation for your losses.

If you think that you might have a negligence case against a dentist, you will want to talk to a dental malpractice lawyer near you. The KJT Law Group can help you seek dental malpractice compensation for your losses. Call us (818) 507-8525 or use our online form today.

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