Can I Sue My Dentist?
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As a child, going to the dentist or orthodontist San Clemente, CA offers may not have been your idea of a day off of school well spent, but as you grew up, you probably realized that oral hygiene is very beneficial. After you had a particularly vigorous cleaning or even a cavity filled, you may not have had particularly fond things to say about your dentist, but those things are not grounds to sue her or him!
When we talk about suing a medical professional we are often describing a medical malpractice lawsuit. But can you actually sue your dentist? The short answer:Yes.
While a cavity or sore gums are often not the fault of your dentist but of your sporadic flossing habits, there are cases for which you are completely justified in filing a lawsuit against your dentist. Dentists, like other doctors, are all subject to medical malpractice suits.
Before you begin, here’s what you’ll need. In every medical malpractice lawsuit one must have all four of the following elements:
Every dentist has a legal duty to apply a standard of care to their patients. That standard of care is comparable to any ordinary dentist of their same experience level, education level, and geographical location. It is your job as the person filing the lawsuit to establish that standard of care so that you can then prove that it was breached by your doctor.
Once you have established what that standard of care is for your dental professional, it is time to define exactly how your dentist breached that standard and instead caused you harm. Not getting the result that you were looking for is not a breach of service. If dentist, for example, extracted the wrong tooth or there are complications from novacaine, then you may have a case of breach of practice.
After you prove that there was a breach in your standard of care, you must also prove that your injury was directly caused by the dentist. If the injury could have happened any other way, you do not have causation, but if the injury you sustained could have only been sustained as a byproduct of your dentist’s actions, then you have causation.
Finally, you must prove that your injury ended up costing you something. This cost is known as damages and they can be physical (perhaps you lost a tooth or have nerve damage), financial (you had to pay for another surgery to fix the dentist’s mistake), or even non-economic (and have to do with the emotional toll the experience has had on you).
You’ll need to ensure that you have proof of all four of these elements in order to create a strong case, otherwise your case will not be seen by a jury.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at John Redmond Orthodontics for their insight into dental lawsuits.