If a dental patient has sustained an injury or developed a health problem because of substandard dental care, he or she may have the chance to file a medical malpractice claim against the dentist responsible. However, patients will need to prove that malpractice took place to recover compensation following incidents of malpractice.
Proving That a Dentist Failed to Practice Duty of Care
A duty of care is required of every professional that demands that he or she practices a reasonable standard of care when performing any procedure that could potentially cause harm to others, including dental procedures. Patients who wish to file dental malpractice claims will need to prove their dentist-patient relationship. This entails gathering evidence such as patient records, credit card receipts, insurance bills, and appointment cards.
Proving Failure to Meet the Required Standard of Care
Once a patient proves that a dentist had a duty of care, he or she will need to prove that the dentist failed to provide the necessary standard of care. This standard is considered what is medically acceptable and suggested based on each patient’s unique circumstances and the work required.
Patients can show that a dentist failed to provide the standard of care in a number of ways, from showing that the dentist failed to apply sufficient anesthetic for a minor procedure to proving that the dentist misdiagnosed a problem. Other reasons for breaching a standard of care could include nerve damage, complications resulting from the use of sedation or anesthetic, injuries resulting from dental procedures, or post-procedure infections.
Evidence That the Dentist Caused Harm Through Malpractice
Patients need to prove that the dentist directly caused them harm through malpractice. Oftentimes, patients don’t know that their dentist has breached a standard of care and are merely fortunate to have avoided issues from inadequate care.
Patients will need to prove that there is a connection between the breach of duty of care and the injuries that resulted from it. To help resolve this, patients should try to determine if the injuries would have resulted even if the dentist hadn’t breached his or her duty of care. If the injury couldn’t have occurred if the dentist had met the standard of care, patients may be able to prove causation if they choose to file a claim.
Patients will need to prove the damages they sustained as a result of negligent dental practices. Damages may include physical injuries along with others, including lost wages due to time taken off from work to recover, the cost of treatment, and psychological trauma.
As long as these damages resulted from dental malpractice, they may be relevant to a dental malpractice claim. On the other hand, it can be difficult to prove that these damages resulted from malpractice, which is why it’s often ideal to have experts provide testimony in these cases.
How to Avoid Dental Malpractice
While it’s possible to file a dental malpractice claim if a dentist breaches his or her duty of care, patients can also take steps to avoid malpractice in the first place. The best way to avoid any potential for malpractice is to turn to a dentist that’s qualified, reputable, and experienced. Patients often put themselves at risk when they don’t check if a dentist has a good reputation before seeing them.
It’s in patients’ best interests to seek a dentist with a rich background and to take their time when selecting a dentist. If patients can conduct research into local dentists, they’ll be able to determine which one is right for them. One way to procure a good dentist is to turn to friends, family, and coworkers for recommendations based on their experiences. Individuals can also look online for dentists that have good reviews from former patients and better determine whether they fall under their insurance plans.
Taking time to find the right dentist can help avoid potential problems in the future. However, if patients still endure any injuries as a result of malpractice, they can gather the necessary evidence to support a dental malpractice claim. Like other medical professionals, dentists are responsible for providing a standard of care. If they fail to do so, patients may be able to recover compensation for the resulting damages.