At Brown & Crouppen, our attorneys help those who were injured as a result of dental malpractice. Our law firm operates on a contingency-basis, meaning there is no upfront cost to you — if you don’t get paid, we don’t get paid.
Visiting the dentist could arguably be one of the little fun experiences that one has to go through. However, as adults, we understand the necessity of good oral hygiene and the importance of having a qualified professional work on your teeth. When a procedure goes wrong or is misdiagnosed, it can lead to a lifetime of stress and anxiety that can affect not only your oral health but your physical health. It’s essential to know your rights regarding dental care and what you can do if the care goes wrong. Although you never want an issue to arise with your dental care, it is essential to know what to do if you find yourself in this situation.
Thankfully, dental malpractice is relatively uncommon; although it is a form of medical malpractice, it is estimated that only one of seven medical malpractice cases is dental malpractice. Most dental procedures do not cause severe injury, but unfortunately, mistakes can happen. If an injury has occurred, you are well within your right to file a lawsuit, although many cases will be able to settle without going to court.
Our dental malpractice attorneys help injured patients pursue compensation for their injuries and damages.
Common Forms of Dental Malpractice:
These are a few of the most forms of injuries to dental patients:
- Jaw fracture — Most commonly found after tooth extraction, a fracture can occur when too much force is used to remove a tooth.
- Alternatively, dental implants where hardware is implanted directly into the jawbone can cause fractures and subsequent structural damage, rendering future treatment detrimental or impossible.
- Delayed or wrong diagnosis or treatment — Can range from simply waiting too long to have a procedure done or treating the wrong disorder or tooth.
- Improper usage of dental tools and equipment — Resulting in injury to the gum, bone, tongue, or tooth/teeth.
- Nerve injuries caused by dental injections — Either permanent or temporary. Signs of nerve damage may include numbness or lack of feeling in the tongue, gums, cheeks, jaw, or face; tingling or pulling sensation; pain or burning feeling; and in the worst-case loss of taste. If the nerve affected was mental, sensory paralysis may also occur. Severe damage can lead to many issues, such as the inability to move the tongue properly, causing speech deficits.
- Loss of taste and/or sensation — Can be caused by anesthesia used for a procedure, structural damage to the tongue, or disease that has failed to be diagnosed.
- Permanent or temporary structural injuries to the tongue, jaw, chin, or lips — Can severely affect future treatment that is necessary and cause previous treatment to become ineffective. Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorders — Characterized by pain in the jaw joint and/or the muscles that control jaw movement.
- Wrongful death resulting from dental procedures or oral surgery — Sometimes, general anesthesia or treatment in an operating room may be necessary for more extensive cases. The risks of general anesthesia accompany these procedures.
- Negligently completed crowns and bridges — Specifically improperly fitting teeth may cause structural damage to the gums and allow infection to occur and travel to the jaw, causing infection of the bone itself.
- Failure to detect oral cancer, periodontal disease, or other diseases — Failure to detect cancer/diseases can become life-threatening if not treated promptly. Even if the treatment becomes delayed, more intense treatment may be necessary to eradicate the disease completely.
- Unnecessary extraction of multiple teeth and/or extraction of the wrong tooth — Can lead to significantly increased medical costs and alteration in eating patterns could lead to significant nutritional disorders in the future.
- Lack of consent — Dentists and any other medical provider have a duty to explain in detail the procedure that is occurring along with the associated risks that accompany the treatment. They must provide you with all information regarding the treatment to make the choice that is best for you.
- Molesting a patient while under sedation — Sedation alters mental consciousness and delays your ability to think clearly. Unfortunately, instances such as these do occur and are severe grounds for punishment.
If you’ve suffered severe injuries as a dental patient, our personal injury lawyers can help you develop a strong claim against the negligent dentist and pursue fair and just compensation for damages.
Developing A Strong Dental Malpractice Claim
First, be aware that dental malpractice is a form of medical malpractice. As with all medical malpractice cases, four key elements must be examined when determining if malpractice has occurred.
The legal elements that must be proven include:
- Duty — This means that you hired the dentist to perform treatment within your oral cavity, and they had a duty (responsibility) to complete the recommended treatment.
- Medical professionals breached that duty — The dental care you received was negligent. Under the care of another provider with similar credentials, they would have acted under specific guidelines and care that would have resulted in a successful procedure.
- Injury — An injury occurred due to direct treatment from the dental professional.
- Damages — You or your loved one suffered due to the injury, including lost wages and significant pain.
Remember that there are time limits involved with filing a lawsuit should the above qualifications be met. To ensure that proper filing occurs within these specified time limits, it is of the utmost importance that you seek attorney opinion as early as possible.
Every day, Brown & Crouppen fights for the rights of people like you, who may have been the victim of medical malpractice.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does a dental malpractice case take?
In general, it may take six months to a year before the malpractice case is settled, although often longer. Depending on the type of injury and the treatment to repair the damage, your attorney may advise you to wait to file suit until you know the total costs incurred as a result. Additionally, malpractice requires that experts are available to attest that the treatment was incorrect or perhaps even unnecessary, and depending on their schedule, the timeline could be pushed further. Finally, outside influences, such as global pandemics, can significantly impact the backlog in court, again increasing the amount of time required to settle a suit. It is not uncommon for a case to take over a year in current conditions.
What compensation can I expect from my dental malpractice lawsuit?
Compensation from dental malpractice lawsuits can range from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. While you have the right to file a suit, it is essential to remember that many cases are settled before going to court, which could significantly impact the amount you receive.
Request a Free Case Evaluation From A Dental Malpractice Lawyer
Your attorney will be well versed in each state’s laws and know what additional items are required to ensure a smooth litigation process. Some states require the initial complaint to be filed and direct evidence of merit (that is, the case has potential value) and that an expert witness has testified to the fact. Remember, just because you are dissatisfied with a dentist’s treatment doesn’t necessarily mean you have a malpractice case. Speaking with a dental malpractice attorney, such as the team at Brown & Crouppen Law Firm, will ensure that your case is evaluated and handled with the care it deserves. The consultation will also ensure that you know the steps required for a successful outcome and know that someone is fighting on your side to obtain the justice you deserve.
Getting started is easy. You can call us at 800-536-4357 for a free consultation, or tell us about your case with our free case review form. And remember, there’s no upfront cost to you — if you don’t get paid, we don’t get paid.
Related Practice Areas
- Medical Malpractice