By Susan Braden
Within the last decade, this has become one of the hot topics in our nation. Though every family deserves quality, affordable dental care, still an astonishing 80,000 people a year become victims of medical and dental malpractice. However, only 10,000 of these people proceed to file a lawsuit to obtain proper compensation.
For some, fear of legal proceedings, busy schedules, avoidance of stress, or dislike of major conflict keep them from filing these lawsuits. However, for many, unfamiliarity with the legal process prevents them from moving forward in obtaining their due.
Did your dentist act negligibly, causing your mouth harm? Read on for the criteria you need to know to establish malpractice in court, which could lead to fair compensation.
According to the law, malpractice is “the negligent conduct of a medical professional that is directly responsible for causing an injury to a person.” When your dentist does something that causes harm to you, it could qualify as malpractice. Successful cases have addressed events such as nerve damage that affected taste or caused permanent numbness, failure to report oral diseases to patients, complications from poorly constructed oral appliances such as crowns or bridges, lack of accounting for a patient’s pertinent medical history, unnecessary or incorrect tooth extractions, and problems resulting from anesthesia — even with a signed release.
However, if the dentist does a procedure in an intelligent, responsible way, but the procedure does not go well due to uncontrollable factors (such as unforeseen medical complications), then you cannot file for malpractice. As long as the dentist is providing quality, reasonably affordable dental care, you are not a candidate for this type of lawsuit.
While many think that malpractice only occurs when the dentist actually causes harm, this is not the case. It also includes passive forms of negligence — things the dentist fails to do that should have been done in providing quality, affordable dental care. For example, if during your oral examination, the dentist fails to tell you he thinks cancer might be developing, you have just become a victim of malpractice.
Understanding what this definition of malpractice is may both give you proper awareness at your dentist office, and enable you to move on with legal services, to seek just compensation if you are a malpractice victim. With a proper understanding of malpractice, you can move forward to find truly quality, affordable dental care without any unjust financial or health problems holding you back.
If you need affordable dental care, see this article for more tips from Susan.