Can You Sue a Dentist for Emotional Distress?

nervous patient

Many people find medical and dental appointments to be stressful situations. However, if something was to go wrong, the psychological fallout and emotional distress experienced can be devastating, even if there are no physical injuries sustained.

Emotional trauma is something that can have just as much of a profound effect as physical damages. Mental health can be fragile and as every patient is unique, there is no telling exactly how someone might deal with psychological distress and the damages that they might incur.

Time lost from work due to anxiety or depression is common, and this could lead to loss of income, as well as potentially incurring medical bills for support such as therapy or medications.

When the emotional distress has been caused by a third party, such as your dentist, you could be entitled to financial compensation for your suffering.

The problem with proving emotional distress

In order to be able to pursue a claim for emotional distress, it will be necessary for you to prove that your dentist was negligent and did not provide you with a reasonable level of care. Unfortunately, emotional distress cases can be difficult to prove since there is often a lack of physical evidence.

Nevertheless, sometimes emotional distress sustained in the line of a dental appointment could later cause physical distress. For example in situations such as a patient who is so traumatized that they begin to self-harm, or a patient who is depressed and suffers from the physical effects of their depression.

Examples of emotional distress triggered by dental care

Emotional and physical distress are not always separate entities, and in many cases, you may find the two interconnected. Some examples of emotional distress that has occurred as a result of dental care include:

  • Failed anesthetic, leading to pain being experienced during your dental appointment where you should have otherwise been unable to feel any.

  • Failure to detect or diagnose an oral health problem which has led to serious consequences for the patient. For example, a tumor which turned out to be cancerous. This is a good example of both emotional distress and physical consequences.

  • Dental treatment that has had negative consequences for the appearance of your smile, causing you embarrassment or shame.

Since proving emotional distress is so difficult, in order to have the best chance of a successful outcome it is recommended that you hire an experienced dental malpractice lawyer.

As professional malpractice attorneys, we have worked on a variety of similar cases with circumstances to yours and will understand exactly what information and evidence is required to help build a strong argument for your claim.

In addition to this, we will take a great deal of the work and stress out of your case, conducting a thorough investigation into the circumstances leading to your emotional distress, accumulating witness and expert statements and representing you and the effects that the negligence of your dentist had on you in a clear, concise, and persuasive manner.

If you have suffered emotional distress at the hands of your dentist and you are considering suing for damages, look no further than our dedicated dental malpractice team. For a free case evaluation, call Arizona Dental Law Group today at 602-833-4200.