Experienced Dental Malpractice Attorneys in Gainesville, FL
When we go into the dentist for a routine cleaning or even an advanced root canal procedure, we expect to receive top-quality care for our teeth. Most patients never have a problem – while sitting in the chair with a blinding light in your face isn’t necessarily pleasant, it is worth some mild discomfort to keep our teeth and gums healthy.
For a few patients though, the discomfort lasts well beyond the visit to the dentist. Sometimes this pain or infection requires follow up treatment, which of course costs money and time away from work and family.
Just because a treatment doesn’t go as planned doesn’t mean the dentist was careless or is guilty of malpractice. However, if they acted outside general standards or were otherwise negligent, they could be held liable for their actions.
Dentists in Florida are classified as “health care professionals” and are held to the same standards of care as doctors.
According to the American Board of Legal Medicine, 13.1% of all claims for malpractice are against dentists.
As we explained in the intro, a dentist isn’t necessarily guilty of malpractice if the procedure doesn’t turn out as planned. If their actions fall within the generally accepted standards of care, they cannot be held liable for malpractice.
However, if their actions (or inactions) fall outside the standard of care or if they exhibit a blatant disregard of applicable regulations and industry standards, a patient may have grounds for a claim. Below are a few ways you as a patient can be injured through dental malpractice:
- Dental equipment that was not properly sanitized
- Failure to diagnose a condition like oral cancer or gum disease
- Improperly removing a tooth or placing an implant which can lead to nerve damage and extreme pain
- Anesthesia that wasn’t administered properly
- Failing to warn a patient of a procedure’s potential risks
- Performing a procedure that wasn’t necessary, or that the dentist was not licensed or trained to perform
- … and more
If you’re experiencing pain or developed an infection following a dental procedure, your first step should be to seek medical attention.
After you receive treatment for your injuries, you should speak with an attorney to see if you have a malpractice case and file a complaint with the Florida Board of Dentistry. If the state board believes malpractice has occurred, your chances for a successful outcome are much greater.
4 things you must prove in a dental malpractice lawsuit.
If you decide to move forward with a claim, there are a few things you as the plaintiff will need to prove. These include:
- Did the dentist have a duty to you as the patient?
If you were a patient of the dentist and they agreed to treat you, then a duty of care exists.
- Did the dentist breach this duty?
Did the dentist fail to provide adequate care in accordance with generally accepted standards? If other dentists believe the standard of care was not met, the chance of a successful outcome of your malpractice claim is more assured.
- Did the dentist’s actions cause your pain or infection?
Known as causation in legal terminology, this simply means you must prove the dentist’s actions were the cause of your injury. If the actions were not the direct cause, you cannot sue the dentist for malpractice.
- Were there any damages?
In order for you to obtain compensation, you must be able to prove actual damages and harm. Most if not all malpractice lawyers will not accept a case where damages are non-existent or very low.
A dentist of course will have the opportunity to refute any claims of malpractice. For example, if they can prove they followed the generally accepted standard of care, they will not be held liable.
Why you should consider dental malpractice attorneys at Warner, Sechrest & Butts in Gainesville.
If you’ve been injured for whatever reason, your first priority is to get medical attention. If the injury was caused by dental malpractice, you should request a copy of your dental records and speak with a qualified, experienced Gainesville attorney as soon as possible.
Attorneys Marc Warner, Michael Sechrest and their support staff possess extensive experience at evaluating dental records and obtaining witness statements. If you think you have been the victim of dental malpractice, don’t delay in contacting the dental malpractice attorneys at Warner, Sechrest & Butts, P.A., in Gainesville. Call our firm anytime, day or night, to discuss your case.