Dental Malpractice Lawsuits and Understanding Your Rights

By Prev Info - October 16, 2022

 A highly skilled team of Los Angeles personal injury lawyers have to deal with a number of different cases and unfortunately an increasing number of these are down to dental malpractice. 

Dental malpractice lawsuits are not new and have been on a steady rise over the last few years, although they may be smaller in number when compared to other medical malpractice lawsuits. So what exactly constitutes dental malpractice?

In the US, the legal definition of what constitutes dental malpractice may differ from state to state, but in general malpractice occurs when a dentist causes an injury due to defective or negligent dental work, or fails to diagnose or treat possible oral conditions which may cause the patient harm if not acted upon, or have for whatever reason wrongly delayed treatment for possible oral conditions, which could have otherwise been treated. 

On top of this, dental malpractice can also come about when the dentist doesn't treat the patients with care, thus causing the patient excessive pain and suffering.

In California, an LA personal injury lawyer explains that for a claimant to file for a possible dental malpractice lawsuit, they have to prove that the dentist must have either intentionally, or indeed unintentionally, committed an act that caused harm to the patient that no other oral healthcare provider would have committed. They must also prove that the harm caused resulted in significant injury to the patient.

Like all medical professions dentists have a duty to provide an acceptable level of care and as a result must get written or verbal permission for any work they undertake. This work must not exceed the level of permission given by the patient as this may bring about grounds for a lawsuit. 

One important thing to remember is that dentists cannot guarantee results, so simply bringing about a malpractice lawsuit on the grounds that the treatment the patient received wasn't successful or wasn't as expected is not possible.

So when can you bring about a claim? A Los Angeles personal injury lawyers explains:

As a direct result of dental treatment received, you may have a case for a claim if you are suffering from the following or have reason to believe the following occurred:

-Temporary or permanent injuries to the nerves of the lips, jaw, tongue and the chin

-Any structural injuries to the lips, jaw tongue and chin

-Permanent numbness or a loss of taste

-Tempero Mandibular Joint (TMJ) disorders

-Injury or indeed death caused by excessive use of anaesthesia

-Failure to diagnose oral illnesses such as cancer, periodontal/gum disease

-Injuries associated with teeth extraction

-Extraction of healthy teeth

-Dental surgical procedures that lead to infections and further complications

-Failure to obtain consent and operating in boundaries beyond that consent

-Painful dental treatments or further injuries caused by faulty dental equipment such as lasers, drills and silicone implants.

So how can a dental malpractice injury lawyer help?

In California a highly skilled team of Los Angeles personal injury lawyers who are well versed in dental malpractice lawsuits will have a team of independent professionals whom they can call upon to help to verify your claim. In this case they will have their own medical and oral experts who can examine you closely and from this will report their findings back to the attorney. Using this information, your lawyer will build a case. 

As well as recovering expenses in order to put right the treatment, the victim may also claim for damages covering loss of wages during the treatment and recovery period plus any future treatment or surgery needed. In some cases the victim might be able to claim punitive damages filed directly against the dentist for any pain, suffering and inconvenience caused.

In terms of speed, you and your lawyer will have to act fast, because in many states, although time scales do vary, you can have as little as 180 days to bring about a case, if it is a claim against a public hospital or government employed healthcare dental provider. Claims of this nature are known as tort claim statutes. If your lawyer does not bring about legal action before the expiration of the statute, then the claim is invalid. For this reason you need to choose a skilled LA personal injury lawyer wisely.