Although the majority of dentists are highly experienced professionals who offer a great deal of care to their patients, dental negligence cases sometimes arise where a patient has been mistreated (or not treated altogether) and their condition has worsened. There are four main situations where you may be entitled to claim against such malpractice:
If you have a moderate to serious dental condition that your dentist hasn't acted sufficiently to cure, you may be able to file a false diagnosis claim. In simple terms, a false diagnosis is a case where your dentist has treated a minor issue while ignoring a much larger problem at hand. Additionally, situations where your dentist has underplayed the severity of your condition can also lead to false diagnosis claims.
In order to be liable to submit a claim, you must be able to prove that your condition worsened as a result of your dentist's negligence. Perhaps you had a serious cavity problem that was exacerbated by your dentist's refusal to act, or your dentist misdiagnosed a case of gingivitis. Whatever it may be, you must be able to show the insurance company that you suffered as a result of improper treatment.
Missed diagnosis cases are very similar to false diagnoses; however, to be liable for a missed diagnosis claim you must be able to prove your dentist completely overlooked an existing condition. Rather than simply playing the severity of the condition down, your dentist must have completely missed the presence of a condition in order to prove your claim to be correct.
Sometimes, dentists do miss minor problems. As such, the court may not be on your side if you are unable to show a general worsening of your condition as a result of your dentist's lack of diagnosis. In these situations, evidence is key. Having a second (or even third) diagnosis that backs up your case will prove to be highly beneficial when filing your claim.
Improper Dental Treatment
When most people think of dental negligence, they think of improper dental treatment. Simply put, improper treatment cases arise when your dentist has carried out careless work when delivering your dental care. If you have suffered from pain or discomfort due to a dentist's negligence in treating you, you may be entitled to compensation.
Improper dental treatment doesn't just mean an accident during a procedure that has caused injury; rather, negligence can be something as simple as extracting the wrong tooth or installing the wrong filling. If either of these, or a related issue, have caused you damage then you should speak to a personal injury lawyer about your case.
Problems Relating to Anesthesia
When you visit the dentist for any form of invasive treatment, your practitioner will administer anesthesia in order to reduce the pain. In the majority of cases, this will be local anesthesia administered to numb the surrounding area; however, if you undergo extensive work, you may be given general anesthesia in a local hospital.
With any form of anesthesia, it's vitally important that your dentist administers the correct amount at the correct time. Anesthetic agents can be dangerous if given carelessly, and can lead to a number of problems. Although uncommon, there are a few factors that can cause your dentist to administer dangerous levels of anesthesia:
- Misjudging the correct level for your body – The effect of anesthesia on your body is highly dependent on your weight. The correct level for a heavier person may be far too much for a light patient. Therefore, any misjudgment on the side of your dentist can cause problems.
- Ignoring allergies – Although rare, some people may be allergic to a particular type of local anesthetic. If your dentist has delivered an agent without first consulting you, and this agent has triggered an allergic reaction, you will be liable for compensation.
- Lack of consent – If your dentist has given you anesthesia without first informing you of the procedure, you have been a victim of dental negligence and will be able to file a claim.
While the majority of dentists are highly trained, highly professional practitioners, dental negligence claims do happen. If you feel like you have been a victim of dental negligence, speak to a personal injury lawyer or someone who will be able to handle your claim quickly and efficiently, getting you the justice you deserve.