In Maryland, dental malpractice claims, like other allegations of medical malpractice, must typically be proven via expert testimony. Thus, if a court deems a plaintiff’s expert testimony inadmissible, it will likely result in a ruling in favor of the defendant. If an expert report is sufficient under the evidentiary standards, however, it should not be deemed inadmissible, even if the expert did not review the plaintiff’s treating records prior to issuing the report, as explained in a recent ruling issued by a Maryland appellate court in a dental malpractice case. If you were hurt by incompetent dental care, it is smart to speak to a Maryland dental malpractice lawyer about your options for seeking compensation.
The Plaintiff’s Harm
It is reported that the defendant performed surgical removal of the plaintiff’s wisdom teeth. Following the procedure, the plaintiff experienced a permanent loss of feeling in her tongue. As such, she filed a dental malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging he negligently severed her lingual nerves during the surgery. The defendant moved for summary judgment, and the court granted the motion, dismissing the plaintiff’s claims. The plaintiff then appealed.
Sufficiency of Expert Opinions in Dental Malpractice Cases
In granting the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, the trial court relied in part on the defendant’s assertion that the plaintiff’s expert opinion was unreliable because he did not review the medical records from her treating providers. The appellate court explained that juries could not infer medical negligence without testimony from experts, as issues relating to the standard of care and medical causation are beyond the understanding of the average layperson. Continue Reading