How to Prepare for a Dental Malpractice Case
Dental malpractice, also known as dental negligence, is defined as a patient sustaining avoidable injury due to their dentist failing to use reasonable care during treatment. Any case where a dentist has performed poorly, inappropriately, or negligently could potentially result in a claim for dental malpractice. In order for the claim to be successful, there needs to be sufficient evidence to support it, and this makes preparing for your case absolutely crucial.
Hiring a dental malpractice lawyer is the best way to maximize your chances of your claim being successful since legal professionals understand what evidence is required and can work with you to build a compelling case.
Here’s what you need to know about preparing for a dental malpractice case.
Proving the Dentist-Patient Relationship
Although this element of a dental malpractice case is rarely disputed, you will still need to show that your dentist had a legal duty of care to you. Duty of care is a legal obligation and requires your dentist to perform their services to a reasonable standard of care at all times. To prove your relationship, you may need to provide a copy of your patient record, an appointment card for the visit where the injury occurred, or copies of your dental bill.
Proving That Your Dentist Failed to Use a Reasonable Standard of Care
This is much harder than simply proving that you were a patient of your dentist. You and your attorney need to be able to show what a ‘reasonable standard of care’ looks like. This nearly always requires a statement by a qualified healthcare professional who has experience of the type of procedure that is the subject of the lawsuit, and that is retained as a witness by your attorney. They will need to then confirm that your injury was made, or your existing problem was made worse, by the failings of your dentist.
Common examples of failure to provide the necessary standard of care include:
Failure to diagnose a dental issue
Poor execution (without due care and attention) of a dental procedure
Post-treatment complications such as infection
Showing the Damages That You Have Suffered as a Result of Your Injury
In addition to proving that your dentist was negligent in their duty of care to you, you will also need to be able to prove what damages you have sustained because of the negligence. These could include:
Pain and suffering/physical and psychological trauma
Cost of treatment to rectify the problem
Loss of earnings due to time off work when recovering
Proving these can be difficult, and your attorney will help you to obtain the relevant evidence. This could include bills from further treatment, wage slips, or testimony of medical/dental experts to confirm the effects that you have experienced.
Speak to a Dental Malpractice Attorney to Check the Validity of Your Case
Before investing time and money into a dental malpractice case, we recommend that you speak to an experienced dental negligence attorney. They will be able to look at your case and confirm that it has merit before you file a lawsuit. In some states, it is a legal requirement to have an affidavit from a health care practitioner stating this before a lawsuit of this nature can be filed.
Dental malpractice attorneys understand the process of filing this type of lawsuit and can explain what you can expect from the proceedings. They can use their experience to help you to gather all the evidence that you need to support your case, giving you a much greater chance of being successful.
If you have experienced an injury as a result of dental negligence, contact Arizona Dental Law Group in Scottsdale, AZ at (602) 833-4200.