Dentists, just like other medical professionals, must provide their patients with competent care. The sad reality is that this does not always happen. If you or a loved one has been hurt due to a dental error, you may be entitled to compensation.
Many different types of dental health care providers can be liable for malpractice, including a general dentist, an oral surgeon, an orthodontist, or even a dental hygienist. Dental malpractice typically involves an injury to a person’s mouth, jaw, or head. Some example of serious dental injuries include:
- Gum infections;
- Root canal errors;
- Nerve injuries to the jaw, lips, or tongue;
- Wisdom tooth extraction injuries;
- Facial deformities;
- Crown and bridges errors;
- TMJ damage;
- Oral cancer; or
- Crown errors.
Dental malpractice, like other forms of medical malpractice, takes place when a dental health care provider is negligent. A dental professional isn’t considered negligent simply because the desired outcome was not achieved. Instead, a dental malpractice claim requires establishing the following elements. The dental professional owed the patient a duty to adhere to a certain standard of care, the dental professional breached that duty by deviating from the acceptable standard of care (i.e., the dental provider failed to act as a reasonable and prudent dental provider would have acted under the same or similar circumstances), and the dental professional’s deviation from the standard of care was a direct cause of the patient’s injury.
Performing certain procedures without the informed consent of the patient can also be a form of dental malpractice. Informed consent means that you have agreed to a medical procedure after being informed of all the potential risks and benefits associated with that particular procedure. In fact, it is against Maryland law for a dentist to perform certain procedures without giving the patient documents to review and sign beforehand.
In Maryland, an expert witness will typically provide testimony about how the dental professional breached the duty of care. Put another way, the expert will testify as to what a competent dental professional in the same situation would have done. The plaintiff’s expert is generally in the same field of dentistry as the defendant, which is what qualifies that expert to deliver an opinion on the matter in question. For example, if the defendant is an orthodontist, the expert will likely be an orthodontist as well.
A victim of dental malpractice can seek a variety of damages, including medical expenses (past, present, and future), lost wages, pain and suffering, and other costs stemming from the incident. You should note that Maryland imposes a cap on non-economic damages in these types of cases.
If you believe that you have suffered harm due to a dental professional’s negligence or mistake, it is important to reach out to a Baltimore medical malpractice attorney. At Arfaa Law Group, we have helped many Maryland clients and can help you as well. We can investigate the facts of your case, determine whether malpractice occurred, and assess the amount of compensation you deserve. To get a free evaluation of your case, you can call 410-889-1850 or contact us online.
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