Georgia Dental Malpractice
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Dental Malpractice in Georgia
When you hear about a case of medical malpractice, the first example that pops into your mind is likely a botched medical procedure, such as a misdiagnosis or surgical error. As a type of medical malpractice, dental malpractice does not receive the attention it deserves. Dental malpractice occurs when a patient endures the aftermath of a botched procedure like failing to remove the correct tooth or providing inadequate sedation. The bottom line is that like other types of medical malpractice cases, dental malpractice cases involve some form of delivering substandard care.
As with other types of medical malpractice cases, dental malpractice cases are often difficult to litigate. You have to prove the presence of each of the four elements of negligence, as well as navigate through several complex dental terms. With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in handling Georgia dental malpractice cases, you have a much better chance of winning a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. A Georgia-licensed dental malpractice lawyer conducts an extensive investigation to gather and organize evidence, as well as interview any witnesses that observed the sub-standard treatment you received during a dental procedure.
For more than 30 years, the personal injury attorneys at Morgan and Morgan have provided legal support for clients going through dental malpractice litigation. For personal injury cases, Morgan and Morgan has recovered more than $14 billion in monetary damages, with some of the compensation coming from dental malpractice cases. If you sustained one or more injuries as a result of inferior dental care, working with one of the Georgia dental malpractice at Morgan and Morgan can get you the compensation that you deserve.
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What Are the Most Common Types of Dental Malpractice Cases?
When you meet with a Georgia dental malpractice from Morgan and Morgan, one of the first items on the agenda is to determine the type of dental procedure that caused you harm. Your lawyer examines dental images, as well as thoroughly reviews the dental records associated with your case.
Many of the most common types of dental malpractice cases also are the most common types of medical malpractice cases.
Before you go through a dental procedure, the dentist treating you shoots numerous images of the inside of your mouth to determine where the problem has developed with your gums and/or teeth. Failing to capture every image required can eventually lead to a misdiagnosis. Following the evidence collected by a misdiagnosis causes a dentist to order the wrong type of medical procedure.
Failing to diagnose a dental condition is another form of misdiagnosis. Perhaps the dentist treating you failed to notice gum disease or an abscessed tooth. A delayed diagnosis, especially for a critical dental condition, can produce a wide variety of negative physical consequences.
An error made during a treatment procedure can cause more damage than the dental issue itself. A dentist must be careful when using certain instruments to avoid hurting a patient. Activating sensitive nerves can trigger overwhelming pain that can be bad enough to cause a patient to black out. Like surgical errors for medical malpractice cases, a treatment procedure error committed by a dentist is frequently easy to catch by reviewing a patient’s dental records.
Improper Sterilization of Instruments
Dentists reuse many instruments, which means they must sterilize each instrument before treating another patient. The instruments undergo sterilization between patients and on days when a dentist has a full schedule booked for appointments, some instruments might get neglected because of the rush to fit the next patient into the schedule. Dental instruments that receive improper sterilization can expose patients to HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
Prescribe Wrong Medication
Anyone who has undergone a complex dental procedure understands that coming out on the other side involves having to deal with pain, which often can turn excruciating. Dentists have the authority to prescribe medications only for dental-related reasons. Prescribing the wrong medication can cause long-term negative health consequences, as can overprescribing drugs to help patients ease the pain after completing a complicated dental procedure.
How Long Do I Have to File a Dental Malpractice Claim in Georgia?
One of the benefits of hiring a Georgia dental malpractice attorney is to ensure you file a civil lawsuit before the expiration of the statute of limitations. Each state establishes a deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit, such as one filed for a Georgia dental malpractice case. Most states have set the deadline for filing a dental malpractice lawsuit between two and four years. A few states have established a statute of limitations as high as six years and as slow as one year. George gives plaintiffs filing Georgia dental malpractice lawsuits two years to submit the proper legal documents.
Two years is more than enough time to file a civil lawsuit for a Georgia dental malpractice case. However, you should expedite the filing of a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages for two important reasons. First, until you receive just compensation for dental malpractice, you must pay off medical bills out of your pocket. The faster you file a convincing dental malpractice lawsuit, the faster you receive monetary damages. Second, you want to file a civil lawsuit as soon as you can after the dental malpractice incident. Witness accounts tend to be more accurate the closer the statements are made to the date of the act of dental malpractice.
If you fail to file a Georgia dental malpractice lawsuit before the expiration of the statute of limitations, you can expect the court clerk processing the lawsuit to dismiss it.
What Does My Morgan and Morgan Attorney Need to Do to Prove Negligence?
To file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages for a Georgia dental malpractice case, you should hire an experienced attorney who knows how to prove the presence of the four elements of negligence.
Duty of Care
Every healthcare professional, from an administrative assistant to a highly trained oral surgeon, assumes a duty of care to protect patients against harm. This includes dentists that must follow certain protocols when delivering care to patients. For example, an oral surgeon is responsible for administering the proper amount of a sedation drug to alleviate a patient’s pain.
Violating the Duty of Care Doctrine
This element is the one that demonstrates a dental professional committed one or more acts of negligence. The Georgia dental malpractice lawyer that you hire from Morgan and Morgan conducts a comprehensive investigation to determine what caused your dental injuries and/or excruciating pain. Results of diagnostic tests combined with a detailed description of the treatment procedure can help your attorney determine whether another party violated the duty of care doctrine.
Neglect Must Have Caused Your Pain and/or Injuries
Proving the third element called causation can be difficult. The lawyer representing the defendant might claim dental neglect is the reason why you suffer from pain and/or a dental injury. The key for your attorney to prove causation is to present your dental records dating back at least two years. Dental records can show that you took proper care of your teeth, which eliminates neglect as the primary reason for your dental issues.
Before a judge or jury agrees with your contention that a dental professional committed one or more acts of negligence, your lawyer from Morgan and Morgan must prove the actions that caused you physical harm also caused financial losses. Copies of bank and wage statements should demonstrate how much money you have lost because of the negligent actions taken by a dental professional.
What Are My Payment Options?
Whether you reach a settlement with the other party or receive compensation awarded by a judge or jury, you have two options when it comes to getting paid.
As the most common type of payment for the monetary damages awarded for a civil lawsuit, a lump-sum arrangement means you receive one payment that covers the entire value of a settlement or a lawsuit award. Receiving one large lump-sum payment helps you avoid the detrimental economic phenomenon called inflation. However, some clients have discovered it is easier to manage a large financial award or settlement by receiving a series of smaller payments.
A structured payment arrangement sends you a monthly check for the same amount over a period that you designate when your attorney signs off on a settlement or judicial award. Receiving future payments can place your compensation at risk of going through a period of inflation. The upside to a structured payment schedule is the ability to better manage a monthly budget that includes paying car and housing bills.
One important note: You must pay off every lien imposed on your settlement or judicial award before you receive a lump-sum payment or a series of structured payments.
What Are the Types of Monetary Damages for Georgia Dental Malpractice Cases?
You can receive three different types of monetary damages when filing a civil lawsuit: Economic, non-economic, and punitive.
Economic damages represent the tangible expenses that you rack up over the course of a dental malpractice case. Medical bills are the costliest expense that you must address. You have the right to seek compensation to pay for diagnostic tests and treatment programs, as well as any rehabilitation sessions that improve the health of your teeth and reduce debilitating pain. If you endured a particularly painful dental procedure that produced damaged teeth, you have the right to file a Georgia dental malpractice lawsuit that seeks the recovery of future dental expenses.
Pain and suffering is more than the negative physical consequences of enduring a case of dental malpractice. Suffering from the aftermath of dental malpractice can produce severe mental and emotional distress issues. Many patients already have a fear of dental appointments, and as a victim of dental malpractice, the fear might become too much to handle. Other mental and emotional distress issues can include anxiety and depression. Your attorney requests a reasonable value for non-economic damages by factoring the value of economic damages into a formula.
Punitive damages punish the defendant for committing one or more acts of negligence. The judge or jury hearing your case considers the severity of violating the duty of care doctrine, as well as if the dental professional under suspicion of committing negligence has committed negligence as part of at least one other Georgia dental malpractice case. Punitive damages are supposed to deter a defendant from committing similar acts of negligence in the future.
Schedule a free case evaluation today with a Morgan and Morgan attorney to get the compensation that you deserve.