How Do You File a Dental Malpractice Lawsuit?
There are thousands of dentists in New York City, and the majority of them provide high-quality care for their patients. Unfortunately, mistakes happen, and when they do, patients often suffer. After a dental mishap, you should not be left alone with the high cost of future treatment or lost income from missing work. Fortunately, you can file a claim against any negligent dentist who causes you harm. Like other malpractice claims, though, filing these claims comes with unique challenges.
If you need help filing your claim and navigating the challenging process, our New York City medical malpractice lawyer is here to help you claim the full damages you rightfully deserve. Read on to learn more about how to file dental malpractice, or contact us today.
What Is Dental Malpractice?
Dental malpractice is more common than people think. In fact, one out of every seven malpractice cases involves dentists and dentistry professionals. Like medical malpractice, dental malpractice occurs when a dentist or other professional does not provide the proper standard of care and a patient becomes hurt as a result.
This does not mean that any time a patient has an unsuccessful result, it is a case of dental malpractice. For dental malpractice to have occurred, the dentist professional must have acted in a manner that did not meet the proper standard of care.
Examples of Dental Malpractice
Dental malpractice can take many forms. Some of the most common types of this malpractice include:
- Failure to diagnose: Dentists do not only identify and fill cavities and clean a person’s teeth. They also diagnose serious diseases and conditions such as peritonitis and even oral cancer. When these conditions are not diagnosed promptly and properly, patients can suffer serious harm. Dentists must know how to test for these diseases and conditions so patients can receive the treatment they need as soon as possible.
- Negligent errors: Dentists owe patients a very high duty of care to provide the best treatment possible. When a dentist or other dental professional makes a mistake during a root canal, dental surgery, or tooth extraction, patients can suffer lip, tongue, and jaw injuries.
- Unnecessarily extracting teeth: Dentists typically try to save a patient’s tooth whenever possible because ideally, patients should have a full set of natural teeth. When dentists unnecessarily extract teeth, patients may require a bridge or even a set of dentures, depending on how many teeth were extracted.
- Facial paralysis: Nerves can also become damaged when dentists act negligently. Any damage to the nerves may result in facial paralysis, which can have a significant impact on a patient’s life for months and years to come. Sometimes, a patient must live with facial paralysis for the rest of their life.
- Medication errors: Dentists may prescribe antibiotics if patients have a tooth infection, or they may administer anesthesia if a patient has to undergo surgery. Several mistakes can be made with medication. A dentist may fail to review the patient’s medical history and prescribe them a medication they are allergic to. Or, an anesthesiologist may administer too much of a drug while the patient is undergoing surgery, which can result in nausea, vomiting, and even respiratory distress.
- Failure to treat: A dentist may diagnose a patient with a condition or dental problem but not treat it right away. During the delay, a patient’s condition or problem may become worse, making it costlier to treat and causing the patient greater pain and suffering.
Any time a dentist acts negligently in any of the above ways, or any other, you can hold them liable for dental malpractice. When filing a claim, it is important to know which elements of your case you will have to prove.
How to File a Dental Malpractice Lawsuit
Dental negligence can have several negative impacts on your life. You may not be able to speak or chew properly, and you will likely suffer significant pain and suffering. Some consequences are even worse. For example, when oral cancer is not properly diagnosed, you may require even more advanced and aggressive treatment. You can file a claim against the negligent healthcare professional that caused your injuries but when you do, you will have to prove several elements of your case. These are as follows:
- Duty of care: You must first prove the dental professional owed you a duty of care. To do this, you must show there was a dentist-patient relationship. You can prove this element by showing that the dentist treated you.
- Negligence: To prove negligence, you must show that the dentist did not provide the standard duty of care. Dentists owe their patients a very high duty of care. Usually, determining whether a dentist is negligent requires determining whether another professional in the same field would have acted in the same way.
- You suffered harm: You must show a direct link between the act of negligence and your injuries. For example, if a dentist failed to diagnose oral cancer as soon as possible, you can prove this by showing the difference between the treatment you required then and the more aggressive treatment you need now due to the delayed diagnosis.
- Certificate of merit: Dental malpractice is a form of medical malpractice. In New York, all medical malpractice cases must include a certificate of merit. This is a statement from another healthcare professional who works in the same field as the defendant. Within the statement, this professional must say that the defendant did not act with the appropriate standard of care.
Proving the above elements of a dental malpractice claim is never easy. A New York City medical malpractice lawyer will have the necessary resources to prove your case and will help you obtain the full settlement you are entitled to.
Call Our Medical Malpractice Lawyer in New York City Today
When serious injuries occur, it’s important to know how to file dental malpractice. At Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C., our New York City medical malpractice lawyer will prove who is liable for paying damages and hold them accountable for paying the maximum compensation you deserve. Call us at 1-877-ASK4SAM or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.