Medical Malpractice

Chicago Dental Malpractice Lawyer

Few people look forward to going in for check-ups and teeth cleaning, and most people truly dread special appointments for toothaches and other serious issues. However, in some situations, dental appointments are more than just uncomfortable. They are the start of a long journey to recovery, caused by a dentist’s, dental assistant’s, or dental hygienist’s negligence. If you’ve suffered harm at the hands of a dental professional, you need the assistance of Chicago dental malpractice lawyers.

When a dentist, dental assistant, or dental surgeon provides treatment that falls below the acceptable standard of care that another would provide, it can cause injury. Instances where the breaches of care cause injury are typically considered to be dental malpractice or dental negligence.

Contact Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. today at (312) 236-2900 for a free, no-risk consultation.

Dental Negligence

You may wonder if you have a viable malpractice claim against your dental care provider. Many people believe that it is enough that they have suffered injuries or unnecessary pain. However, medical malpractice claims are complicated. Your legal team must be able to prove that several circumstances exist before they can pursue a malpractice suit. In dental malpractice claims, we must establish the following:

  • The dentist, dental assistant, or dental surgeon and you had a physician-patient relationship,
  • The dental health provider has a responsibility to a professional standard of care,
  • The dental health provider breached this standard of care through either careless action or careless inaction,
  • There was an injury to you proximately caused by this breach, and
  • You have suffered damages, monetary and non-monetary, from this dental injury.

Typically, the dentist’s actions are compared to what other dentists would do in that situation to determine negligence. The same standard is used for other care providers, including hygienists, assistants, and oral surgeons. Your legal team looks at the information that was available to your dentist at the time of the alleged negligence or malpractice. Given that information, they ask what a reasonable and appropriately trained dental care provider would do in that situation. If it differs from what your care provider actually did, they may have been negligent in their care.

The other circumstance that we heavily scrutinize is whether a patient has suffered damages. Consider, for example, a dentist’s mistake that caused a patient to require extra recovery time and suffer unnecessary pain. If the patient had to miss work, pay extra for additional dentist trips, or pay for extra pain medication, they have verifiable damages. However, if the patient did not need any extra dental visits, did not miss any work, and otherwise did not lose anything due to the injury, their case may be considerably weaker.

If you were injured by a dental health provider’s negligence, you may have a medical malpractice claim. For example, if a dental assistant used tools that were not sanitized properly and it resulted in a painful infection, this may be an instance of negligence.

Dental Malpractice Injuries

The types of injuries that result from dental malpractice can leave you with quite a bit of pain. Some of the more common dental injuries that result from negligence include:

  • Nerve damage
  • Loss of taste or sensation
  • Unnecessary removal of teeth
  • Lip or mouth disfigurement or scarring
  • Failure to diagnose oral diseases or cancers
  • Misreading of X-rays and other tests
  • Complications with crowns, bridges, and other non-organic material
  • Infections

Injuries like these can leave you with pain and suffering, along with staggering medical bills, physical disfigurement, and more. Having our experienced medical malpractice lawyers on your side can help alleviate some of the stress from your injury and work to get your life back on track.

Patients who have suffered dental malpractice are often surprised to find out how much an injury can impact their entire body. Numerous research studies have linked oral health to your overall physical health. For example, an infection that begins in an untreated tooth can quickly enter the bloodstream and target other body systems, causing sepsis. If teeth are removed unnecessarily or dental work is done so poorly that a patient cannot use some of their teeth to eat, they may have to change their diet. This can cause nutritional deficiencies and impact other body systems.

Causes of Dental Malpractice

Dentistry is an extremely complex field of medicine and there are numerous ways a care provider can err and injure a patient. Some causes of dental malpractice include:

  • Defective dental products; a care provider may be liable if they were notified of the defective products and continued to use them or if they should have known that the products were defective
  • Failure to collect or consider a patient’s medical history when making care decisions
  • Failure to secure informed consent before beginning a procedure, which puts patients at unnecessary risk of injuries and side effects
  • Misuse of anesthesia
  • Failure to sterilize dental tools before using them on patients
  • Failure to verify proper procedure and tooth before providing care

Dental Malpractice During Specific Procedures

Malpractice can occur during a wide range of dental procedures. Malpractice suits often occur because of errors during:

  • Tooth extractions during which the dentist pulls the wrong tooth, pulls teeth unnecessarily, or causes unnecessary damage to surrounding teeth
  • Errors with bridges and crowns, including poor occlusion, overhanging restorations, and damage to other teeth
  • Root canals and other surgical procedures; surgeons and dentists may cause nerve damage, perforate the sinuses, or leave broken pieces of instruments in the canal
  • Dental implants that cause infections, are located on nerves, or cause jaw damage
  • Misdiagnosis of periodontal disease

Complications Related to Insurance

Dental malpractice is considerably more complicated than many other areas of medical malpractice because of differences between health insurance and dental insurance. While most Americans have some type of health insurance, many have minimal or no dental insurance.

A dental error that requires multiple follow-up visits or complicated treatments can easily put an individual thousands of dollars into debt. Many dental insurance policies exclude specific procedures or require subscribers to have insurance for a set period of time before the company will pay for expensive procedures. When a patient is left with poor dental care, the results can be financially disastrous.

Many victims of dental malpractice don’t know their rights when a dental provider has acted negligently. They may believe that they simply have to pay off their bills, deal with the pain, and choose a different care provider in the future. Chicago dental malpractice attorneys can help victims get the compensation they deserve.

Statute of Limitations

In Illinois, the statute of limitations for a malpractice claim is two years from the date of the operation or procedure that caused the injury. However, it is highly recommended that you contact a dental malpractice attorney as soon as possible after your injury occurs. The earlier you start, the easier it is to preserve evidence, collect records, and build a strong case.

Recoverable Damages

If you have been hurt during a dental procedure because of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to seek monetary compensation for damages associated with your injury. You may be able to pursue financial damages like lost wages, medical bills, future medical expenses, and lost earning capacity.

Damages could also include loss of normal life and enjoyment, undue pain and suffering, and mental anguish. It can be difficult to put a value on your injury and its effects on your life, but an experienced attorney who can evaluate the facts and understand your situation can help you figure out an appropriate number.

Speak to Our Chicago Dental Malpractice Lawyers

If your dental health provider was negligent and this negligence resulted in an injury, please contact us today at (312) 236-2900.

We fight aggressively on behalf of our clients and want you to get what you deserve after an injury. We will discuss your options during a free legal consultation to determine if you have a dental malpractice claim.

If you do, we will begin the investigation phase of reviewing medical records and bills to gather the facts so we can move forward with your case. Take the first step now and reach out to the team at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C.

Free Consultation
(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900