What is Dental Negligence / Malpractice
Dental malpractice, or what is usually referred to as dental negligence, is best defined as an avoidable injury caused by a dentist who fails, or is negligent in his work. If you have a case where a dentist has performed poorly, with negligence or inappropriately and that treatment results in harm being caused to a patient can lead to a dental negligence claim for compensation.
A dental negligence claim then, is a legal action that is among the list of clinical or medical negligence cases that you can possibly bring if you have been injured. Just as in clinical negligence, a dental claim can be made even if you have suffered a psychological injury. In many cases the suffering caused by the injury is just one small part of the claim as financial loss, expenses, treatment costs, refunds and future treatment costs, as a result of a dentist’s negligent work can all be reclaimed.
Call us at Law-Med, to determine what expenses may relate to your claim and how far the claim could extend. If you look at the following list it may give you some indication of the types of claim that we typically bring.
Types of Dental Claim
Dental negligence has many different types. Any dental treatment that results in pain, injury or trauma could potentially be considered to be negligence. If you have experienced any of the below at the hands of a dental professional, you may be eligible to make a dental negligence claim.
What are the there different types of Dental Negligence?
Cosmetic Dental Negligence
Failed Root Canal Treatments
Delay in treating abscess or cystic related disease
Implants that have failed and or have a defective function or appearance
Periodontal Disease Misdiagnosis, Failure to Diagnose, Delay in Diagnosing
Nerve injury through anesthetic
Lingual Nerve Injury, Alveolar Nerve Injury, Trigeminal Nerve Injury
Dental Related Palsy
Poor orthodontic planning
Failure to diagnose caries and poorly executed restorations (fillings)
Defective / Poorly fitting bridgework
Failed Dental Crowns
Dental Nerve Injuries through incorrect implant placement
Dental negligence, or dental malpractice, is likely to involve injury to the patient, whether through badly performed dentistry, failure to use appropriate skill and judgment, failures to diagnose. This may involve damage to a facial or dental nerve, pulling out the wrong tooth or failing to diagnose dental infection resulting in further problems.
COMPLEX OR SERIOUS INJURIES
Serious harm to a patient can be a feature of dental negligence particularly if there is dental nerve, lingual nerve or alveolar nerve injury. Also surgeons may cause a serious infection due to unsafe practices, fail to diagnose oral cancer, or even failing to manage a dental abscess can result in substantial and permanent injury. These sorts of dental cases could all qualify as dental malpractice and could result in substantial awards.
DID YOU CONSENT?
Every dentist has to obtain consent for the treatment that they undertake, this doesn't mean that they have to get a patient to sign a consent form for everything but there has to be a discussion about the benefits of treatment or alternatives. If your dentist has performed treatment that you didn't want and didn't authorise then this has not been consented and may constitute a criminal assault.
HOW TO BRING A CLAIM
Medical evidence in the form of a expert report will need to be collected to establish that there is negligent treatment by your dentist. In addition there are time limits for bringing a claim. You will hear a great deal of talk about the 3 year limitation rule, however, that is a matter for us to determine. Rarely does the claim begin at the same time as the negligence in dental actions as the "date of knowledge" is often many years later.
What is the Process
There is a proven order to how to approach the evidence in a dental negligence claim:
Breach Reporting – This is established by a report from an expert which details how the dentist has breached duty by providing care that has fallen below the required standard of care. This standard is measured against whether other dentists would have acted in the same way.
Causation Reporting – This means demonstrating that the dentist’s breach of duty caused you harm. If your harm was not caused directly by the dentist’s breach of duty, then there can be no claim.
Damages - Quantum Reporting – This means a report demonstrating the level and extent of harm and how much it may costs to put things right with remedial treatment.
Putting you at the Heart of the Claim
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