Can You Sue a Dentist for Breaking Your Tooth?

Can You Sue a Dentist for Breaking Your Tooth?

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Can You Sue a Dentist for Breaking Your Tooth?

Going to the dentist is not a pleasant experience for most people, but things can get much worse when the dentist makes a mistake. Certain situations entitle you to pursue a lawsuit based on malpractice or negligent actions taken by the dentist. 

If your tooth gets broken as a result of a dental exam or procedure, you need to be familiar with your rights so that you know how to proceed most effectively. It can be very frustrating to realize that this has happened to you, but you may need to take action quickly to protect your legal rights.

Most medical and dental malpractice cases revolve around whether or not the dental professional whom you’re accusing did in fact breach their responsibility to you. Having a relationship with the dentist as a patient is the basis of the entire claim, but simply suffering a problem like a broken tooth does not always make grounds on its own for a dental malpractice case.

What You Need to Show in Order to Demonstrate Negligence

One of the most important things to consider is whether or not the primary elements of negligence and malpractice have been addressed. When you can illustrate that the dentist carried out an act of malpractice, you can use this information to file a lawsuit to recover compensation. Multiple elements must be present in order for you to recover compensation. Success hinges upon a solid claim and appropriate evidence that the dentist in question engaged in negligence.

The first element of a dental malpractice case is the existence of a “duty.” This is usually implied by the relationship between a dentist and a patient. Secondly, there must also have been a breach of the duty that the dentist or medical professional owed to you as a patient. This is known as the “breach of the standard of care” and is measured against what another dental professional would've done in a similar situation. This is often one of the most important elements of answering the question, “Can you sue a dentist for breaking your tooth?”

Can You Sue a Dentist for Breaking Your Tooth? 

You need to be able to show that another dentist in a similar situation would have handled the case differently, therefore, illustrating the breach of duty element. The third component of a successful dental negligence claim damages. This simply means that you have sustained an injury directly as a result of the breach of duty of the dentist's behavior. Lastly, you must be able to show that there is a connection between the injury that you sustained and the dentist's failure to meet the standard of care. 

As you likely do not have appropriate training in the field of dental care, it can be difficult to determine in the immediate hours and days after your incident, whether or not malpractice has occurred. In most cases, your lawyer will work with an expert medical witness to show that the dentist failed to provide the appropriate standard of care.

Other qualified witnesses might be required in your negligence case to prove causation. You'll want to find a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer who has experience with dental malpractice and who has the right network of people to help illustrate these important connections.

Understanding Dental Malpractice

There are several different types of situations that can all meet the grounds for dental malpractice. This refers to injuries that were avoidable but are caused by failure to treat or diagnose a harmful condition, negligent dental work, intentional misconduct by the dentist, delay in treatment, or diagnosis of oral disease. Other types of malpractice can also occur based on your specific dental insurance. For example, a dentist might give you an unnecessary or inaccurate diagnosis and treatment simply for the purpose of billing your insurance company for more money. Dental hygienists, endodontists, orthodontists, and other dental professionals can also be held accountable for malpractice associated with injury to a dental patient.

Preparing a successful dental malpractice suit means going to the office of an experienced lawyer. If your injury is relatively minor, meaning that it only caused temporary discomfort or pain, it is usually not worth filing a suit, even if you can show that it was caused by malpractice. The kinds of injuries featured in many successful dental malpractice lawsuits are much more serious, some of which lead to fatal injuries or hospitalization of the patient. These risks are very real because patients can suffer a variety of problems such as osteomyelitis, critical infections, and brain abscesses.

A number of different kinds of procedures have been historically associated with dental lawsuits. These can include failure to diagnose oral cancer, dental implants, tooth extractions, nerve damage, sinus perforations, adverse drug reactions, substandard surgeries, infections requiring a hospital stay, complications from dental anesthesia, and defective medical devices. Knowing that you have the grounds to pursue a dental malpractice lawsuit might be your only opportunity to recover important compensation that you need to move on from this situation.

Understanding the Risk of Cracked or Broken Teeth 

A broken tooth can happen to anyone as a result of an accident, but when it was caused by a dentist, you need to determine whether or not this is grounds for malpractice. If your dentist cracks your teeth and leaves this accident untreated, multiple serious problems can occur. These can include the need to extract the teeth, the need for a crown, the need for protective bonding of the damaged tooth, root canals associated with nerve damage, infections that turn into abscesses, and accumulation of bacteria that lead to infections. 

You might also be required to visit with other dental specialists and pay costly bills for reparative treatment and to cure an infection. If your dentist is the one who broke your tooth and neglected to take the necessary steps to repair it, an experienced dental malpractice attorney might be required to help you file a lawsuit. Unfortunately, dental malpractice lawsuits can be very complicated.

Teeth crack for a number of different reasons, and sometimes it is not the dentist's tool or actions that cause the crack. This is often what a dental malpractice lawsuit hinges upon. A number of different types of regular activities can cause dental breakage, including teeth grinding, blows to the mouth, age, sudden changes in temperature, biting or chewing hard foods, and large or multiple fillings that weaken the integrity of the teeth.

If you contact your dentist after a procedure in which your tooth was broken and the infection has not been treated, you could hold the dentist accountable for the injuries that you sustain, as well as any additional circumstances that arise due to your medical treatment. This can be a very frustrating situation, but one in which it is imperative to take quick legal action to protect your rights. Your ability to recover compensation and pay your medical bills may hinge entirely upon hiring the right dental malpractice lawyer. Do not hesitate to hire an attorney who has an extensive track record in this field.

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  • What Happens Once I File Suit? 

    Once you file a lawsuit, you need to be prepared for a possible response. The dentist or their insurance company might respond to your claims and decide to offer a settlement. This is a possible best-case scenario in the event that you get presented with a settlement offer that is fair. However, many insurance companies offer a low settlement offer in an attempt to get you to accept a low figure and move on. When you accept a settlement offer, this means you waive your right to file any future lawsuits. A settlement offer, therefore, is final. 

  • Does My Lawyer Need Experience? 

    It is strongly recommended that you hire a lawyer who has experience in dental malpractice. Many lawyers defending dentists and other dental professionals will have a strong background in this field and will know how to handle cases like this. You also need someone in your corner to advocate for you. The right dental malpractice lawyer can help you make a case for your cracked tooth or other issues. 

  • When Should I File Suit?

    Because of the statute of limitations, you need to file a suit in a timely manner. If you let the statute of limitations expire, you’ll be unable to pursue a lawsuit, even if you have a strong case against the dental practice. Meeting with a lawyer does not obligate you to file a suit, but it’s a good way to learn more about what to expect. The sooner you file a legal claim to recover compensation for your injuries, the sooner you can heal and move on with your life. Since your life might be irreparably changed because of the primary incident, you want a lawyer who will fight for maximum compensation for you. 

    If you have suffered from medical malpractice or the negligent actions of your dentist, contact the experts at Morgan & Morgan today to get a free, no-obligation case evaluation. We can provide you with a free initial consultation so you can learn more about your options to get justice and to win the means you require to move on with your life.

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