The standard of care for medical procedures applies to doctors, hospitals and other medical professionals. This means that these providers must treat patients within professional guidelines and skillfully address their needs.
Patients may not realize, however, that this standard also applies to dentists. If the dentist fails to follow this standard and causes an injury, the patient may have a medical malpractice claim against the dentist.
These injuries might include nerve damage, performing a root canal on the wrong tooth or damage to a patient’s mouth with a dental instrument, among others.
What must be proven?
Generally, a patient must prove several elements to successfully bring a medical malpractice claim. However, the outcome will be specific to the circumstances of the situation.
The patient must demonstrate that there was a dentist-patient relationship. This may be proven with receipts or insurance statements. The patient must also show that the dentist breached his or her duty of care.
The person must also prove that he or she suffered damages. This refers both to the injury itself and the compensation he or she is seeking for the injury. In order to show causation, the patient may want to seek a second opinion from another dentist, an expert witness or an orthodontist who can verify that the injury was the dentist’s fault.
It’s also important that the claim is filed timely. The timeliness of the claim may be demonstrated by showing when the appointment occurred and/or when the patient sought a second opinion.
An experienced attorney can provide representation to injured patients who want to pursue a medical malpractice claim.