Dental Malpractice and the Standard of Care

Dental Malpractice and the Standard of Care

Most people are pretty aware of what medical malpractice is thanks to a slew of medical dramas. However, just like medical professionals are held to a certain standard of care, so too are dentists, nurses, anesthesiologists, and other professionals (including lawyers!).

What Is Malpractice?

Malpractice, as defined by Google, is the “improper, illegal, or negligent professional activity or treatment, especially by a medical practitioner, lawyer, or public official.” While colloquially we may quip that receiving inadequate care is “malpractice”, legally there are specific guidelines that must be met in a malpractice case.

For a finding of legal malpractice, an attorney must show that a relationship existed between the plaintiff (the victim) and the defendant (the professional accused of malpractice) and that the latter provided care that was not in line with the standard of care for their profession.

The standard care is especially important. Medical and dental treatments have complications and suffering from these complications is not considered malpractice. Rather, malpractice is defined by whether a professional deviated from the standard of care and whether that deviation led to injury to the victim.

The standard of care is defined by the community of practice. For dentists, the standard of care would be defined by determining what other dentists would do in the same situation. Would they also extract an infected tooth or perform oral surgery? If the defendant’s plan of action differed from the standard of care for their professional community, an attorney will then try to link that negligence to the injury suffered by his or her client.

Essentially, to show malpractice an attorney must illustrate that a dental practitioner is liable for his or her client’s injuries because of their negligence or recklessness in deviating from the standard of care.

Identifying Dental Malpractice

I covered what dental malpractice is in a previous post, however, I believe it’s important to cover it again because it remains a murky topic. There are no good statistics on the incidence of dental malpractice and reporting will remain poor until more people understand what dental malpractice and speak up.

One way to report possible dental malpractice is to reach out to the Florida Dental Association Foundation. According to the national American Dental Association, state associations will review and mediate disputes between patients and dentists. Unfortunately, this information is not readily available on the FDAF site.

Another way to deal with a possible dental malpractice dispute is to seek advice from a Tampa dental malpractice lawyer. A lawyer who has handled similar cases can walk you through the process and help you determine whether you have a viable claim.

Consulting with a Tampa Dental Malpractice Lawyer

Finding a reputable Tampa dental malpractice lawyer doesn’t have to be as frustrating as getting a cavity filled. At John Bales Attorneys, we help those who have been injured by dental professionals seek compensation for medical bills, corrective procedures, and pain and suffering.

We believe that when someone else has caused you harm or injury, you shouldn’t have to pay.

Dental malpractice is no laughing matter. It can leave victims with nerve damage, paralysis, and more. In some cases, victims have been killed because of a dentist’s poor decision making.

Holding a negligent or reckless dentist or dental assistant liable can not only help you receive the compensation you deserve, but it serves to protect others from undergoing the same fate. Don’t get caught unawares by the Florida statute of limitations, consult with a Tampa dental malpractice lawyer today.