A Dental Malpractice Lawyer in Cook County Can Help After an Injury Occurs
When a dentist, dental assistant, periodontist or oral surgeon’s treatment does not reach the acceptable standard of care that another would provide, it can cause injury and may constitute dental malpractice. Victims of dental malpractice can encounter acute pain and other serious health problems, not to mention high medical bills and wage losses. A dental malpractice lawyer in Cook County may be able to help with restitution.
Dental procedures such as tooth extraction, root canals and other normal oral procedures can be disastrous if dental negligence mistakenly harms the patient. Many times, the harm is immediate. Other times, symptoms may appear weeks after the injury — or longer. Sometimes the damage is permanent. The most common types of dental malpractice injuries include:
- Advanced periodontal disease, which can arise from failure to diagnose such a condition
- Complex and difficult to treat oral cancer or other diseases
- Abscesses and other infections that can spread to other parts of the body
- Infections from improperly sterilized dental equipment
- General delay in treatment often due to misdiagnosis
- Nerve damage to the tongue, lips or chin
- Mandibular or other forms of jaw damage
- Brain damage or even wrongful death from anesthesia or sedation errors associated with major oral surgery
Dental Malpractice and the Law
Patients who are injured by dental negligence have the right to file a dental malpractice claim and civil lawsuit if need be. The American Board of Legal Medicine reports that approximately 13 percent of all professional malpractice claims are filed against dentists. But like all personal injury complaints – which are referred to as torts – there are specific steps that must be taken for claims to be successful. They are often called the “four pillars of a successful tort.”
- The dental professional owes you a duty: All medical and dental professionals have the responsibility to deliver a high standard of care to their patients. It must be at the same professional and education level that another practicing dentist in that same area would provide. And all the dentist’s medical specialists must provide a similar duty relative to their job title. This is important because dentists are legally liable for the quality of care their employees give.
- The dental professional breached that duty: By injuring you, the duty owed you was breached. But because any medical procedure naturally comes with some risks under even the best of circumstances, an error can happen that injures you. Breach of duty is only the act itself that harmed you. More is needed to prove malpractice.
- Negligence led to the breach of duty: This is the linchpin of all successful torts. When your attorney proves that professional dental negligence directly caused your injury, you have a strong malpractice case. Your dental malpractice lawyer will prove this in two ways. First, your lawyer’s investigators must secure accurate records of the procedure. Because all medical records must be kept accurately, they will exist. Altering medical records is a felony, so few dentists will risk a large fine and possible prison sentence to cover up malpractice, not to mention their professional license. Secondly, your dental malpractice lawyer in Cook County will secure testimony from experts who are licensed to practice dentistry and have experience in the same specialty as the alleged dentist who committed malpractice.
- Damages awarded to successful dental malpractice victims: Damages usually include compensation from the defendant dentist for all physical damage arising from the procedure. The financial costs of correcting your dentist’s mistake include pain and suffering. This can include mental anguish from the embarrassment you experience due to the apparent damage to your mouth and teeth, if applicable. The stronger the case, the greater the likelihood that your fully requested damages will be awarded.
If you are a victim of dental malpractice and suffer an injury, Buttafuoco and Associates’ experienced dental malpractice lawyers in Cook County offer a free consultation. Contact us anytime by calling 1-800-NOW-HURT. Depending on the circumstances of your case, there may be additional legal options available, which our attorneys can explain fully.