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Articles Posted in Dental Malpractice

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While people typically think of malpractice cases arising in the context of treatment for conditions of the body, dentists can be liable for malpractice as well. Dental malpractice claims, like other claims against health care providers, must be filed within the statutory time frame; otherwise, the injured party may waive the right to recover damages. The statute of limitations can be extended, though, in cases in which a person does not discover the cause of his or her harm immediately after it occurs. In a recent Maryland opinion issued in a dental malpractice case, the court discussed when the discovery rule applies to extend the statutory period. If you suffered harm due to a negligent dentist, it is smart to meet with a Maryland dental malpractice lawyer as soon as possible to protect your right to seek compensation.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is reported that in May 2015, the plaintiff consulted with the defendant dental center about having his wisdom teeth removed. He believed that a certain surgeon would be performing the procedure under twilight anesthesia, but the defendant dentist extracted his teeth using only a local anesthetic. After the procedure, his tongue was numb. He called the defendant center the next day it was open and reported he could not feel his tongue and was advised it was a normal side effect.

Allegedly, he returned to the defendant center four days later and then a week after that and was advised that his tongue would get better with time. Ultimately, he saw a second dentist in November 2015. While the dentist was surprised that the plaintiff could not feel his tongue, he did not indicate it was due to something the defendant dentist did. In July 2018, the plaintiff underwent a medical examination, after which the doctor advised him his tongue numbness was caused by a transection during his wisdom tooth extraction. The plaintiff then filed a malpractice claim against the defendants, who moved for summary judgment on the grounds the claim was barred by the statute of limitations. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue Reading

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When a doctor improperly performs a dental procedure, it can lead to decay, tooth loss, and lasting pain. Thus, a person harmed by a negligent dentist may be able to recover damages via a malpractice lawsuit. As with malpractice claims against doctors, though, people seeking compensation for harm caused by careless dentists must comply with jurisdictional and procedural rules; otherwise, their claims may be denied. This was demonstrated in a recent opinion in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims because of his failure to abide by the conditions precedent under Maryland law. If you were harmed by a careless dentist, it is smart to speak to a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer to determine whether you may be owed compensation.

The Plaintiff’s Injuries

It is reported that the defendant performed oral surgery on the plaintiff, which involved exposing the bone under his bottom gum, grinding it down, and closing the gum with sutures. After the surgery, the plaintiff’s lower dentures no longer fit properly. He was then advised that the surgery should not have been performed and that he would need dental implants. As such, he filed a lawsuit against the defendant in federal court, arguing he committed malpractice by performing the surgery.  The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction over the claims. The court ultimately granted the motion.

Pursuing Malpractice Claims in Maryland Federal Courts

Federal courts have limited jurisdiction. Thus, they must assume that a matter lies outside of their jurisdiction unless proven otherwise. The party asserting that jurisdiction is proper bears the burden of establishing subject matter jurisdiction. Typically, federal courts can only hear claims arising out of federal questions or where there is a diversity of citizenship, which requires the parties to be residents of different states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. In the subject case, the court noted that the plaintiff had not alleged diversity jurisdiction or that the parties were citizens of different states. As such, the court found that diversity jurisdiction had not been established. Continue Reading

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When people hear the phrase “medical malpractice,” they often think of harm caused by a surgeon or primary care physician, but medical malpractice also encompasses harm by practitioners in other fields, such as dentists. Recently, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland analyzed what constitutes sufficient proof of dental negligence in a case in which the plaintiff could not identify the specific mechanism of harm. If you suffered harm due to dental negligence, it is sensible to meet with a knowledgeable Baltimore dental malpractice attorney regarding your options for seeking compensation.

Factual Background of the Case and Trial

It is alleged that the plaintiff visited the defendant dentist for the surgical extraction of her wisdom teeth. She had never treated with the defendant before. Prior to the extraction, she was given a consent form for the extraction, which she signed. The defendant did not discuss the procedure with the plaintiff before giving her the consent form. The plaintiff was conscious during the procedure and recalled that the defendant had difficulty extracting one tooth, and when it was successfully removed, the defendant and his assistants were yelling and cheering.

Reportedly, following the surgery, the plaintiff never regained sensation or the ability to taste in the left side of her mouth. She ultimately visited a dental surgeon, who diagnosed her with a severe injury of the left lingual nerve. Subsequently, the plaintiff filed a malpractice lawsuit against the defendant. During the trial, the plaintiff’s expert testified regarding the standard of care for dental extractions and stated that there were two possible ways in which he thought that the injury might have occurred. The defendant moved for judgment in his favor at the close of evidence, which the court granted. The plaintiff then appealed.

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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.

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