Who would have thought dentists would fail to diagnose an oral problem. It happens.
“While many people don’t tend to think of their dentist as being someone they can sue, dental malpractice is more common than you might think. Certainly, in many instances, the dentist, if approached about a concern, will remedy the situation as soon as they can. However, if an injury is permanent, that may become another story and may also culminate in a lawsuit,” said Stephen M. Ozcomert, who handles personal injury cases, accidents, and malpractice law in Atlanta, Georgia.
One thing potential plaintiffs need to know is that that dental malpractice, also referred to as dental negligence, does not always involve an injured patient. What it means, in addition to a physical injury, is that the dentist failed to spot a disease in their patient’s mouth during the course of an oral exam.
For instance, a dentist may not have noticed or paid attention to the signs of mouth cancer. If that does happen, any lawsuit filed on behalf of the plaintiff would state the dentist was negligent in not detecting the disease. “As you may well imagine, there may also be disputes over the dental fees charged for whatever care the patient did receive,” Ozcomert said.
“You should know that all dentists are mandated by law to keep records of their patients; a dental history. It’s these records that may be used as evidence should the case grow legs and go to court. Have dental records been altered? Yes, and that’s an issue that also needs to be dealt with should a case go to trial. The bottom line is this: if you think your dentist is being uncooperative and difficult about producing records, etc., it’s time to speak to a medical malpractice attorney and get some legal advice,” Ozcomert said.
While many think they can save money and do legal actions like this on their own, it is not a wise idea. Often the complainant/plaintiff has no idea how to negotiate a settlement, never mind understanding the possible long-term ramifications of certain oral/dental injuries. If they attempt to settle on their own, chances are they will miss out on viable opportunities, and money, that could have helped them with any further bills.
The key to most medical malpractice lawsuits, including dental malpractice, is the fact that there needs to be negligence present. The dentist needs to fall short of providing the accepted standard of dental care that other dentists with similar education and experience would provide. Generally speaking, should someone take their dentist to court and the issue is dental negligence in the provision of a service or treatment, the plaintiff would be best having an expert dentist testify on their behalf.
“It’s a good strategy to discuss your potential dental malpractice case with an experienced attorney, for the simple reason that not all instances of poor service or bad results are classified as malpractice. You need to know this before you choose to pursue a claim,” Ozcomert said.
To learn more visit http://www.ozcomert.com.