Findings published by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance state that in 2018, 2.38% of all medical malpractice claims filed in Tennessee involved dentists. This figure provides a barometer of the scope of dental malpractice claims, though determining precisely how common dental malpractice is may be more difficult to do.
If you or a loved one suffered harm due to the action or inaction of a dentist or another type of dental medical professional, then you may be able to collect compensation for your losses.
Dental Malpractice Exists in Several Forms
Generally speaking, dental malpractice may arise from:
- Failure to diagnose an oral condition
- Misdiagnosis of an oral condition
- Error during a dental procedure
- Failure to prevent, or being the direct cause of, oral infection
More specifically, some of the errors that may be grounds for you or a loved one to bring a dental malpractice claim include:
- Using unsterilized—or insufficiently sterilized—dental equipment, which The Journal of Legal Nurse Consulting explains may lead to oral infection
- Failing to spot and properly diagnose oral infection
- Misdiagnosing any dental condition, which could lead to a condition worsening and possibly a patient undergoing a procedure that proves to be unnecessary
- Doing harm to a patient’s mouth during a dental procedure
- Failing to protect a patient from ingesting—partially or completely—a dental instrument
- Anesthesia-related errors
- Failing to inform a patient of the risks of a certain procedure
- Acting in any way that violates the standard of care in dentistry
If you or a loved one suffered injuries or other adverse outcomes that you believe are the fault of a dental professional, then you may consider the ways that you could pursue compensation for your losses from the responsible parties.
How Dental Malpractice May Be Determined
There may be a level of subjectivity in determining what does or does not qualify as dental malpractice, but there may generally be a blueprint for how any individual question of negligence is litigated.
The elements of a successful dental malpractice claim may include:
- Proving that you had a dentist-patient relationship with the person you are alleging dental malpractice against
- Showing that the dentist had a duty of care to you
- Establishing that the dentist breached their duty of care to you in some way
- Establishing causation between the dentist’s breach of duty of care and the damages that you or your loved one suffered as a result
Within this blueprint in mind, your lawyer may:
- Hire expert witnesses to testify to the standard of care in dentistry, as it pertains to your specific circumstances
- Have experts testify to how common dental malpractice is, and how common the specific error that you are alleging is
- Compare the standard of care versus the actions (or failures to act) that you believe caused you harm
- Presenting any evidence that suggests you were the victim of negligence
Proving negligence is important to winning a lawsuit, but may not be the only way that a lawyer may be able to assist you or your loved one.
How a Lawyer May Be Able to Assist Your Dental Malpractice Claim
Beyond the issue of proving the defendant’s wrongdoing, your lawyer may be able to:
- Calculate the total amount of losses that you sustained, and itemize those losses within your argument for compensation
- Create a written argument for how you were the victim of negligence, and why you deserve compensation as a result
- Represent you in any necessary in-person appearances pertaining to your lawsuit
- Negotiate a settlement with attorneys for the defendant(s) named in your lawsuit
- Defend your rights throughout the term of your lawsuit, any preliminary periods, and any subsequent periods in which your lawyer represents you
Hiring a lawyer can:
- Allow you to focus on your recovery or assist a loved one injured in a dental malpractice incident
- Prevent you from any added stress you would take on from bringing a lawsuit on your own
- Provide valuable assistance as you attempt to obtain any compensation to which you may be entitled
If successful, you may be able to collect awards covering:
- The cost of your dental care
- Income you lost because of the injuries you suffered
- Permanent harm you suffered—either physically, mentally, or financially
- Pain and suffering
- Any other losses related to a dental malpractice injury
Consider whether hiring a lawyer may be worthwhile in the period after you suffer harm because of dental malpractice.
Call The Cochran Firm - Nashville Today
A dental malpractice error could be costly in several ways, and you may be entitled to collect financial compensation for your losses. Call The Cochran Firm - Nashville today at 615-678-6278 for a free consultation.