- 07 Jul
What is Dental Malpractice
Root Canals and Negligence: Uncovering What Dental Malpractice Is
Trying to get your best smile shouldn’t be too painful. While the majority of Florida dentists are well-trained professionals, there are a few who suffer from questionable judgment that can lead to patient injury. Personal injury law provides recourse for individuals who believe that a dentist’s actions (or inaction) has caused them injuries and allows them to file dental malpractice claims.
What is Dental Malpractice?
Just like Medical Malpractice, Dental Malpractice is part of personal injury law that covers injuries to individuals caused by professionals such as doctors, dentists, and even lawyers. Essentially, the claim is that a dentist acted in a way that did not meet the standard of care for his profession. Whether this was through negligence, willful disregard, or due to other criminal activity (such as insurance fraud), the belief is that a professional, such as a dentist, should be held accountable for the procedures they perform (or fail to perform).
For example, let’s imagine a patient comes in because of a painful abscessed tooth. The dentist schedules an extraction for the following week and sends him home. In the meantime, the patient is hospitalized with a fever and an infection. He fails to get the care he needs and ends up hospitalized for two years and partially paralyzed. Sound ridiculous?
Unfortunately, this happened to a 38-year-old father of two in Pennsylvania. The dentist and hospital settled with him for $4.5 million.
What Does Standard of Care Mean in a Malpractice Case?
Two terms that often come up in Dental Malpractice, as well as Medical Malpractice cases, are “negligence” and “standard of care.” In regards to malpractice cases, negligence is usually used to describe actions that were not to the standard of care or that were not handled appropriated.
The standard of care, which is used in most professional malpractice cases, sizes up the actions of the defendant against other dentists or doctors. For example, in the previous story, the dentist sent home his patient without getting a CT scan that would’ve revealed the extent of his infection. At the least, the dentist should have referred the patient to an oral surgeon who would’ve been better qualified to deal with his symptoms. If other dentists agree that this would be the appropriate action in that situation, then that action is seen as the “standard of care.”
The dentist who failed to refer the patient showed he was negligent in his actions and did not meet the standard of care. The next step in a dental malpractice case is to prove that the actions of a negligent professional caused the pain and suffering the plaintiff has filed suit for. In order to do this, a knowledgeable Tampa personal injury lawyer is necessary.
Consulting with a Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer
Trying to find a Tampa personal injury lawyer who will work hard on your case shouldn’t be as painful as a root canal. If you feel that your dentist was negligent in his or her care and it resulted in unnecessary pain and suffering, seeking out legal advice should be your next step.
Consulting with a Tampa personal injury lawyer with a history of dental malpractice cases can give you a better understanding of your options. You’ll be able to speak with someone that understand the process and is able to give you an honest opinion about your case.
If you’ve faced lingering pain because of a poorly performed or unnecessary dental procedure, speaking with a Tampa personal injury lawyer is your next step to recovering damages to help pay for dental and medical bills resulting from shoddy dental work. Because Florida does have a statute of limitations on malpractice suits, it’s important to speak with a professional as soon as you suspect a problem so a trained Tampa personal injury lawyer can begin their investigation and start getting you the answer you deserve.