Filing A Dentist Malpractice Claim
The term medical practices encompass all healthcare professionals such as dentists, orthodontists, and even eye specialists.
Medical negligence and malpractice can be costly and in worst cases, lead to a fatal incident. Healthcare and medicine are one of the riskiest and sensitive choices of profession. Even the minutest negligence can turn into an ugly situation.
The cases of medical malpractice are not rare, but the number of victims who file for a medical malpractice claim is small. That number is much smaller in the case of dental malpractice. A dental malpractice claim is a lawsuit against a dentist who failed to provide quality services to their patients or worsened their oral health.
The claimant receives compensation when a dental professional is found liable. Even though the medical malpractice laws vary from state-to-state, there are four prongs that every state uses to prove the liability of a medical professional.
The four factors include:
- The Duty Under The Medical Standard Of Care: Every dentist is expected to provide their service in compliance with the standard of care set by the state. Therefore, it is the first factor on which the investigation against a dentist proceeds.
- Breach Of Duty: When a dentist fails to comply with the state-set standards while providing dental care to their patients, it is a case of violation of duty.
- Causation: Proving causation is another essential aspect of filing a dental malpractice claim. You need to consider whether the injury would have occurred if the dentist had provided care as per the state standards or not.
- Damages: The last and the essential part of a dental malpractice claim is the damages you incurred. You need to prove that the injuries you suffered were a result of a dentist’s negligence. If the costs are not compensable, your application will be denied.
These are the four building blocks of a dental malpractice claim. You need to build your dental malpractice claim based on these four essential factors.
Suing a Dentist for Dental Malpractice
Have a substantial dental malpractice claim? Well, it is time you know exactly how to file a dental malpractice claim. Here is a comprehensive step-by-step guide that will help you file a dental claim without any hassle.
Step 1: Build Your Case
Without a solid case, you will not be able to file a claim, let alone get compensation. If you want to sue your dentist, you must build a strong case.
A lot of people avoid talking to their dentist after a dental malpractice incident. However, talking to the dentist can help you sort things out in civil and a stress-less manner. Speaking to the dentist can also help you understand why the incident took place in the first place. Moreover, they can even offer you additional services to make up for it.
After talking to your dentist, try visiting another dental professional. You need to find out from other professionals whether the claim you are making is legitimate or not. Some states even require the claimant to provide a merit certificate from another dentist.
The next stage of the case is gathering all the necessary documents that support your claim. These documents must include the bills, proof of appointments with the liable dentist, and physical evidence of any other losses that you incurred due to the dental injury. To further strengthen your case, you can even include documents of treatment protocols. You can get these documents from the dental licensing board.
Statute of limitation is the time frame within which a victim can file a claim. It is a deadline for filing a lawsuit. Make sure you build up your case in time, as you might lose the chance of receiving compensation for your loss.
Step 2: Mediation
The next stage of the process is mediation. It is up to you if you want legal representation for yourself in the intervention or not. Having legal representation is not a necessity. However, hiring an expert and experienced attorney might work in your favor as the dentist will have legal representation during a mediation session.
If you decide not to hire a lawyer, a court-appointed mediator is a cost-effective solution for you.
Mediation is the process where you sit with the liable dentist in the presence of a neutral party. The purpose of this stage is to settle the claim outside of court. Mediation can help you get reasonable compensation. It even saves you from the stressful proceedings of the court. In some cases, intervention is a necessity before filing a dental malpractice claim. If you decide to use a private mediator, make sure you submit a notice.
The mediation conference takes place on a call. In this conference, a mediator explains the process to both parties involved. Your mediator will need all the documents involved to analyze the case. It is best to make copies of the original papers and hand over the prints to a mediator.
Step 3: Preparing for a Lawsuit
If the mediation did not provide a final settlement, you would have to take the matter to court. Generally, a claimant has to take the case to a general state civil court. In this case, you will need a professional attorney by your side.
The complaint you file is the document that officially starts the dental malpractice lawsuit. It includes all the general terms of the claim and identifies both the claimant and the dentist. The materials that you need to prepare varies state-to-state.
Your attorney will then file a complaint with a court clerk. After the process of filing is complete, the claim is sent to the dentist. The dentist then responds. The court allows a limited time to return to the application.
A dentist may request the court to dismiss the claim with justifications. An attorney will help you evaluate the dentist’s response to any other documents if needed.
Step 4: Discovery Process
The next stage is the discovery process. This is the stage where both you and the liable dentist can dig deeper into the matter. At this stage, you will have to acquire other dentists to serve as witnesses. The discovery process can take months, and it marks the start of a trial.
These are steps that you need to follow when suing a dentist for malpractice.
How 4Smile Can Help
Looking for a dental expert who can provide you with an expert opinion over your claim?
At 4Smile, we will help you find the right dental professional who can answer all your dental malpractice claim questions and queries.