For the average individual, dental visits are already unpleasant enough without considering the potential of malpractice and permanent injury. Each year, dental anxiety causes up to 20% of Americans to avoid dental visits altogether. Although this may seem like an overreaction, dental anxiety can be well-founded. Between 2006-2016, the National Practitioner Data Bank found that of the 19,755 dentists in the United States, there were 16,337 medical malpractice payments filed against them.
What constitutes dental malpractice (and can I sue my dentist for nerve damage)?
A dental lawsuit falls under the umbrella of medical malpractice. Dental malpractice occurs when a dentist does not perform his or her job according to a particular set of standards, including reasonable diligence. When a dentist fails to uphold these standards and the end result is unnecessary pain, suffering, or injury (such as dental nerve damage), the dentist in questions has committed medical malpractice.
Although such instances may include nerve damage, malpractice suits against a dentist can also be a result of:
- Extracting the wrong tooth or the unnecessary extraction of healthy teeth
- A chipped or fractured tooth
- Gum damage
- Infection from unsanitary equipment
- Prolonged or unnecessary treatment
- Failure to diagnose conditions
- Improper administration of anesthesia
For a dental negligence lawsuit to be legitimate, you need to prove that your dentist acted in a way that other dentists would not have. For example, if your dentist recommends the placement of a crown or bridge on an otherwise healthy tooth, but another dentist would not have recommended the crown placement, your dentist’s actions could be considered negligent.
When to Sue a Dentist
The most common dental procedures that result in lawsuits include tooth extractions, root canals, fillings, and dental implants. Unfortunately, nerve damage is one of the more frequent results of negligence.
One or more of the following symptoms after a dental visit may indicate the presence of nerve damage:
- Numbness in the gums, cheeks, jaw, face, or tongue
- A tingling or pulling sensation in those same areas
- Pain or burning
- Loss of taste
- Difficulty eating or speaking due to one or more of the symptoms above
If these symptoms would not have occurred had another dentist performed your procedure, you may be able to file a dental nerve damage claim, or pursue a lawsuit to obtain proper compensation by hiring a skilled dental lawsuit attorney.
What happen if I file a dental lawsuit?
Filing a malpractice case is considerably different from filing an insurance claim to receive compensation. You will need evidence that extends beyond just “your side of the story” for the lawsuit to hold up in court.
Effectively, you need to prove the following:
- Establish that there was a dentist-patient relationship. This is easy to do with receipts or emails regarding the appointment. This is important to prove, as going to see the dentist implies a “duty of care” took place, and the dentist had a legal obligation to help you.
- Establish “breach of duty.” Essentially, you need to show that the dentist did not follow the acceptable standard of care. This might involve evidence such as x-rays or an expert witness testimony.
- Establish that you suffered an injury. In a medical malpractice, your injury (such as nerve damage, for example) needs to be proven to help determine the appropriate amount of compensation.
- Establish causation between the dentist’s errors and your injury. You need to prove your injury was the dentist’s fault. This can be proven by expert witnesses, or even by a second opinion from another dentist or medical professional.
- File your dental lawsuit within the time limit. While the exact time limit can vary by state, the majority of states have a two year “statute of limitations” to file a malpractice suit.
Seeking counsel from a dental injury attorney can help you navigate this complex process.
Can I Sue My Dentist for Nerve Damage? How to Sue a Dentist for Malpractice
If you’ve experienced nerve damage after a dental procedure, it is a good idea to consult with a qualified dental lawsuit attorney. In the majority of cases, obtaining proper compensation for a dental lawsuit is not possible without the help of a skilled and knowledgeable attorney. If you or a loved one have experienced nerve damage as a result of dental malpractice, seeking the guidance of an experienced personal injury firm like Avrek Law is the first step toward receiving the compensation you deserve.
With more than 50 years of combined experience resolving cases in favor of clients who were wrongfully injured, Avrek Law has recovered more than $1 billion in compensation for injury victims in over 45,000 cases. We’re here to help – contact us for a free dental negligence lawsuit consultation to learn more!