Dental malpractice is a type of medical malpractice. In Florida, you can sue for medical malpractice when a health care professional breaches the standard of care, thereby causing an injury. Dentists are required to adhere to professional standards, just as doctors and surgeons must. Dental malpractice may happen when a dentist negligently performs a procedure or performs an unnecessary procedure, performs a procedure without patient consent, fails to diagnose an oral condition, fails to warn a patient about risks associated with a procedure, performs procedures for which they are not qualified, or fails to keep accurate records. At the Dean Law Firm, our Ocala dental malpractice lawyers may be able to help you recover damages for your harm.Pursuing Damages Through a Dental Malpractice Claim
Dental malpractice exists if a health care professional fails to provide care according to the appropriate standard, and someone is hurt because of this failure. The health care professional may be a dentist or a dental assistant. You have the burden of showing by the greater weight of evidence that the actions or omissions of a dentist or another dental health care professional, when faced with your oral condition or problem, represented a breach of the prevailing professional standard of care for the dental care provider.
The prevailing professional standard of care is the degree of skill, care, and treatment that is believed to be acceptable and appropriate for a reasonably careful, similar dental care provider. If a standard is breached, and the result is an injury such as permanent damage to your nerves, permanent loss of feeling or taste, temporomandibular joint disorder, death caused by anesthesia, chronic pain, or an infection, you may be able to recover damages.
It is usually necessary to retain an expert to establish the standard of care, a breach, and causation in a dental malpractice case. The expert must provide an affidavit to accompany your complaint and be qualified to provide an expert opinion. A dental malpractice attorney in the Ocala area can help you enlist an appropriate expert.
Under Florida Statute section 766.102(5), you will need to retain a health care provider in the same specialty as the potential defendant who has given professional time in the last three years to the active clinical practice of the same specialty, student instruction in an accredited program or professional school in the same specialty, or a clinical research program. For example, if you are suing an oral surgeon, you will need to get an affidavit from an oral surgeon. Not every dentist is qualified to provide testimony about the appropriate standard of care for an oral surgeon.
Experts can be critical to establishing liability. In addition to getting an affidavit, you will need to comply with expert discovery. The expert whom you choose must not only be qualified but must also be credible. For example, if an expert has never actually done the procedure at issue in the lawsuit, but the expert retained by the defendant dentist has done that procedure, the jury is more likely to believe the other expert. Therefore, it is crucial that the expert whom you choose is a credible witness who can eloquently explain technical matters to laypeople.
You should seek treatment for injuries that arise from dental malpractice and follow any recommendations. Culpable conduct by a patient, such as not following instructions for follow-up care or not following treatment recommendations, can result in a defendant raising the argument that you failed to mitigate your harm. Your damages may be reduced accordingly.
If you successfully establish liability, you may be able to recover tangible and intangible damages, including medical costs for treating the injury, lost wages, loss of consortium, and pain and suffering. The amount of these damages depends on the extent of your injuries.Consult a Skilled Dental Malpractice Lawyer in Ocala or Beyond
At the Dean Law Firm, our experienced attorneys can represent you in a health care negligence lawsuit. Contact us online or call us at 352-387-8700 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation. Our Ocala dental malpractice attorneys serve people in communities such as The Villages, Crystal River, and other areas of Citrus, Levy, Sumter, Marion, and Lake Counties. We also can assist people who need a misdiagnosis lawyer or representation in other claims arising from medical negligence.