Going to the dentist may already make you nervous. The needles, drills, and sleeping gas send shivers down your spine. What happens if something goes wrong? Can you sue your dentist? How do you know you have a case?
Can You Sue Your Dentist?
The simple answer to whether you can sue a dentist is a resounding “yes.” A dentist is a doctor specializing in your mouth. While no dentist seeks to purposefully harm a patient, accidents happen. Dental accidents, like medical accidents, can cause further harm and damage to the patient. While most dental mishaps aren’t fatal, they can nevertheless drastically alter and decrease the quality of life for the patient.
With this potential liability, patients have the right to sue their dentist for negligence, carelessness, and improper procedures.
How Do You Know if You Have a Case?
There are certain things you must prove in order to have a successful lawsuit against your dentist. Suing your dentist isn’t as simple as showing the judge the pain and damage your dentist accidentally done to you.
Here are the four things you must prove in order to have a valid dental lawsuit:
- Prove the Dentist/Patient Relationship. The first thing you must prove is that your dentist is a certified dentist and that he or she was treating you as a patient at the time of the incident. This is one of the easiest steps to prove.
- Prove There Was a Breach in the Standard of Care – Next, you have to prove that your dentist did or failed to do something wrong that violated the standard of care. Usually, the standard of care is whatever is clinically acceptable in the given circumstances.
An example would be your dentist accidentally making a greater incision than necessary during a dental procedure, whereby causing damage to your nerves. The extra cutting would be a violation of the standard of care.
- Prove the Dentist Injured You – After proving the dentist violated the standard of care, you need to prove that your dentist injured you and caused you harm. This is fairly easy to prove and it is the most common reason why people sue their dentist.
- Prove That Your Injury Was a Result of The Violation of the Standard of Care– The next logical step is to connect your injury to the dentist’s breach in the standard of care. The dentist’s carelessness needs to have caused your injury. An example would be if you went to the dentist to have a couple of cavities filled but the dentist accidentally hit and damaged your gums.
Once you are able to prove the previous points, you have a fairly strong case against your dentist that you have a good chance of winning.
If you have had a traumatic dental experience and think you may have a valid case against your dentist, use the criteria above and contact Chianese & Reilly Law today.