As a patient who suffered dental malpractice, you have options for seeking both compensation and justice. However, navigating the personal injury claims process isn’t easy—especially if you’ve never filed a legal case before. In a situation like this, you could benefit from hiring a personal injury lawyer. They can investigate the treatment you received, calculate your losses, and fight for fair compensation.
Understanding What Constitutes Dental Malpractice
Dental malpractice happens when a dentist violates their field’s accepted standard of care. That means rendering the same quality of care as another professional would in the same situation. For example, dentists must prevent infections after oral surgery. A reasonable professional would offer sufficient aftercare instructions and possibly prescribe antibiotics. A negligent healthcare provider may fail to close an incision, fail to address dry socket, or otherwise allow a patient’s concerns to go unheeded.
Examples of Dental Malpractice
Dental malpractice is more common than many people think. A dentist could be considered negligent if they:
- Fail to diagnose a condition properly
- Render unnecessary treatment
- Fail to successfully complete a procedure (such as a tooth extraction)
- Violate patient/client confidentiality
- Charge for fraudulent services
- Fail to provide appropriate aftercare
- Fail to render informed consent
The scenarios above are just a few examples of what constitutes dental malpractice. Trust your gut. If you feel that you received inadequate dental care, and you suffered injuries as a result, you have options for seeking fair compensation.
Proving Dental Malpractice Requires Proving Negligence
Nobody’s perfect. That’s why many dentists opt to carry malpractice insurance. This policy covers losses that arise from a professional’s actions or omissions. Yet, you can’t simply file a dental malpractice claim with an insurer and expect to recover damages. Your case must have evidence that supports the four elements of negligence, including:
- The dentist owed you a duty of care. Every dentist has a duty of care to provide the best possible treatment to their patients. This means properly diagnosing health conditions, successfully completing procedures, and maintaining ethical boundaries.
- The dentist violated their duty of care. Your dentist rendered care that another professional in the same situation would find insufficient. For instance, pulling the wrong tooth could constitute a breach of the dentist’s duty of care.
- You suffered injuries. Insufficient dental care could result in nerve damage, infections, and the need for additional procedures.
- You have damages stemming from the malpractice. You may have medical bills, lost income, and other losses arising from the treatment you received.
Proving negligence in a dental malpractice case comes with many obligations—some of which you might not be equipped to handle on your own. When you secure legal representation, your lawyer can handle everything your case requires.
You Have Rights as a Patient Who Suffered Dental Malpractice
As someone who suffered dental malpractice, you have options for recouping your losses and holding the negligent party responsible. Depending on your situation, you could file a personal injury claim or lawsuit to recover compensation. Recoverable damages in your case may include:
- Medical bills, such as for additional dental procedures
- Cosmetic costs, such as getting a dental flipper
- Lost income, including tips, bonuses, and benefits
- Loss of future earning capacity
- The cost of anything you spent out of pocket related to the injury
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
A fatal dental error may have claimed your loved one’s life. In that instance, you could recover the costs associated with their funeral, memorial, and final care costs.
How Much Patients Can Recover Depend on Their Situations
You may wonder how much you can recover after suffering dental malpractice. The answer ultimately depends on:
- The injuries you suffered
- Your estimated recovery period
- Your time missed from work
- The procedures required to address the error (if applicable)
- The extent of your personal pain and suffering
- Whether you lost a loved one to dental malpractice
California limits how much you can recover in medical malpractice cases. When you work with a lawyer, they can explain what caps apply and what they mean for your personal injury claim.
You Have a Limited Time to Sue a Negligent Dental Professional
Every state has a statute of limitations that outlines how long injured claimants have to initiate a lawsuit. For instance, Californians have three years to file their medical malpractice lawsuits under CCP § 340.5. The statute of limitations begins running either from the date of the error or when you discovered it.
Deadlines surrounding personal injury cases can quickly get complicated. When you hire a dental malpractice lawyer to handle your claim, they can assess your case’s deadline and uphold your right to fair compensation.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Advance Your Dental Malpractice Claim
After suffering injuries at the hands of a negligent dentist, you have the right to partner with a lawyer who can advocate for what you need. They can build a strong case by:
- Investigating the details of the error
- Gathering evidence, such as your medical records
- Calculating your economic and non-economic losses
- Assessing the error’s effect on your life
- Filing your claim
- Handling all case-related communications
- Negotiating with the liable insurance provider
- Initiating a lawsuit within the statute of limitations
From the very beginning, your goals become your lawyer’s goals. They’re just as invested in your case’s outcome as you are. That’s why they offer help on a contingency-fee basis. Getting their attorney’s fees rests solely on your case’s outcome. If your case doesn’t yield compensation, you don’t pay for their time and efforts.
Begin Your Free Claim Review With KJT Law Group
You shouldn’t be kept up at night worried about your case’s outcome. While you work toward maximum medical improvement, a dental malpractice lawyer from KJT Law Group can manage your legal matters. We can seek fair compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and various non-economic losses. Call (818) 507-8525.