There are typically two different types of compensation in dental malpractice claims: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are actual damages you can verify with documentation, while non-economic damages are less tangible. Dental malpractice settlements typically include a combination of the two.
Learn about the types of damages in dental malpractice and how patients pursue financial recovery through dental negligence claims.
Understanding Dental Malpractice Claims
Dental malpractice claims arise when a dental care provider fails to meet professional standards of care, and their patient suffers injuries as a result. To prove dental malpractice, you must establish the following:
- You were the patient of the dental professional, which gave them a duty of care.
- The dentist, dental hygienist, or other dental professional failed to meet the standard of care for their field.
- You suffered injuries, illness, or other losses because of their violation of the duty of care.
- You have losses arising from the incident.
If you meet the above criteria, you may have grounds to pursue monetary compensation through a dental negligence claim. Most dental professionals carry malpractice insurance, so you may seek compensation through an insurance claim. You could also pursue compensation through a dental malpractice lawsuit.
You Could Recover Economic Damages in a Dental Malpractice Claim
Economic damages refer to tangible losses you can substantiate using documentation like invoices, estimates, and receipts. Types of economic damages you could pursue in a dental malpractice claim include:
- Medical expenses related to negligent dental care
- Dental repair work
- Dental prosthetics and equipment
- Medication to treat your dental injuries
- Lost income due to dental appointments and procedures
- Lost future income if your injuries affect your ability to work
Damages for economic losses can also extend to damages you suffered due to medical complications. For example, if poor dental work led to an infection that required hospitalization, you can pursue these related medical costs.
Non-Economic Damages in Dental Malpractice
Non-economic damages for dental malpractice claims are harder to prove, but they can be just as debilitating. They refer to intangible damages you experienced as a result of a dental professional’s negligent practices. Types of non-economic losses you could claim in a dental malpractice suit include:
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
Coping with dental injuries can create serious physical, mental, and emotional discomfort. Victims of dental malpractice may suffer from anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to their dental professional’s negligent treatment. Injured parties may also isolate themselves or withdraw from activities they once enjoyed.
You should not have to suffer the effects of dental malpractice alone. A skilled dental negligence attorney can help you seek the compensation you deserve.
What Constitutes Dental Malpractice?
Dental malpractice occurs when a dental professional causes injury to a patient through their negligence or carelessness. Common types of dental malpractice include:
Failure to Diagnose
Dentists have a duty to use appropriate methods to diagnose issues. In some cases, failure to diagnose dental issues can lead to life-threatening complications, like heart disease, chronic inflammation, infection, and cancer. If a dental care provider fails to diagnose a problem, they could be liable for costs that arise as a result.
For example, if the dentist failed to diagnose a cavity and it becomes infected, they could be responsible for the costs associated with treatment and repairs. This may include antibiotics, tooth extraction, root canal, surgical intervention, and rehabilitation.
Misdiagnosed Dental Issues
If a dental professional misdiagnoses dental problems, they may provide incorrect treatment. The patient may end up paying for unnecessary treatments that do not correct the initial problem. In some cases, incorrect treatment can cause additional complications that further disrupt the patient’s health and well-being.
You can hold a dentist liable for the expenses you incurred due to their incorrect treatment. This includes the costs to correct their error as well as the treatment to address the actual problem.
Some dentists anesthetize patients for certain procedures. If the dental professional or anesthesiologist fails to appropriately administer anesthesia, the patient can experience significant physical pain. They may suffer from PTSD, fear, or anxiety following a procedure with insufficient anesthesia.
Anesthesia errors that result in overdoses can significantly compromise the patient’s health and safety. In serious cases, incorrect anesthesia practices can lead to the patient’s death. If you or a loved one suffered from anesthesia errors during a dental procedure, you could pursue compensation for your losses.
Incorrect dental extractions, cracked teeth, poorly-placed veneers, mismatched implants, and other cosmetic dentistry errors can have serious long-term effects on the patient. Patients who suffer cosmetic errors in dentistry may suffer compromised dental health, reduced dental longevity, and painful dental sensitivity.
Partner With a Skilled Dental Malpractice Attorney
If you or someone you love suffered injuries due to a dental professional’s negligence, a dental malpractice lawyer with KJT Law Group can pursue the compensation you deserve. Call today to learn which types of damages you can pursue in a dental negligence claim and how we can assist with your claim. Dial (818) 507-8525 to begin.