Baltimore Dental Malpractice Attorney
Most people don’t think of a routine visit to a dental office as risky. Unfortunately, for some patients what begins as a routine checkup, procedure, or evaluation at the dentist can turn into a nightmarish ordeal. Although it may not garner the same attention as other types of medical malpractice, dental malpractice is an all-too-common occurrence that can leave patients suffering from significant injuries.
If this has happened to you, or if you’re a lawyer and you’re having trouble with a good dental malpractice claim, whether in Baltimore or elsewhere, give the Baltimore Dental Malpractice Lawyers at Spector Injury & Accident Lawyers a call. We’re happy to evaluate your case and see what we can do to help you.
What Is Dental Malpractice?
If a dentist or their staff provides improper or inadequate care, they may be liable for dental malpractice under specific circumstances. A complication or an unfortunate result after a procedure does not automatically translate into a malpractice claim, but if the dental team failed to meet the standards required by their role and relationship to the patient, they may have committed malpractice.
Can I Sue a Baltimore Dentist for Malpractice?
Yes. When you visit a dentist for services related to your dental care you expect that the dentist and their staff are properly trained and are acting with your best interests and health in mind. If you are injured as the result of a dental provider’s negligence or improper care, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages you have incurred.
Are Baltimore Dentists Held to the Same Standard as Doctors?
Although the duties and responsibilities of a dentist differ greatly from those of a doctor, the relationship between the patient and either type of provider is quite similar. Both dentists and doctors are legally required to provide adequate and reasonable care under the circumstances. “Reasonable” is generally defined as what another, similar practitioner would do in a similar situation. If the provider’s actions or lack of action does not meet this definition, they may be subject to a malpractice claim.
Are Baltimore Dental Malpractice Claims Common?
Dental malpractice is a specific type of medical malpractice. Although dental malpractice may not be as commonly discussed as other types of medical malpractice, it is an ever-present problem faced by many dental patients throughout the country. It is difficult to put a concrete estimate on dental malpractice claims and lawsuits as this is not information uniformly collected and released by each state.
In addition, some experts believe that many patients don’t know that they can pursue compensation from a dentist for malpractice, which may lead to significant underreporting of malpractice incidents.
Some Examples of Baltimore Dental Malpractice Cases
Essentially any type of dental care can lead to a malpractice incident. Even minor procedures, if they are performed haphazardly or by an untrained or unqualified dental staff member, can result in excruciating and sometimes lifelong consequences.
The following list is not all-inclusive but describes some of the more common types of dental malpractice cases:
- Improper administration of anesthesia;
- Incorrect diagnosis or failure to diagnose oral cancer or other serious oral disease;
- Delayed treatment;
- Nerve damage during procedures or surgeries;
- Complications related to tooth extractions;
- Root canal complications;
- Improper medication use or administration;
- Secondary infection or disease contracted during a treatment or procedure;
- A death associated with dental surgery, procedure, or treatment;
- Broken teeth;
- Unnecessary procedure or extraction; and
- Injuries caused by improper use of tools or equipment.
How Do I Know If I Have Suffered an Injury Due to Dental Malpractice in Baltimore?
In some cases, patients may not realize that the pain and suffering they are dealing with is the result of dental malpractice. Often, patients will attribute their pain and discomfort following a dental visit to the initial underlying issues for which they originally sought dental care. However, if you are in lingering pain and should have healed by now or you feel that something during your procedure or treatment went wrong, you could be a victim of dental malpractice.
Some indications you or a loved one may have suffered an injury due to dental malpractice include:
- Prolonged pain;
- Numbness or weakness in your facial muscles;
- Facial paralysis;
- Nerve discomfort, including consistent vibrations, buzzing, and pain;
- Slow-healing wounds;
- Allergic reaction or sickness from anesthesia or other medication;
- Worsening of your condition or spreading of disease; or
- The death of a loved one during any dental procedure or treatment.
What Should I Do If I Have Been Injured Due to a Baltimore Dentist’s Negligence?
If you were the victim of dental malpractice, you are likely facing a long road to recovery and additional treatment that you were not expecting. Act quickly and take the appropriate and necessary measures to protect your health and legal rights.
Focus on Your Health First
The first step you should take when you realize that you were injured during a dental visit is to seek care from a different, qualified dental or medical professional immediately. Do not put yourself at greater risk of injury by seeking additional care from the same individual who is potentially responsible for your current condition.
Seek a trusted provider who can help you begin to heal and recover from the injuries you sustained and minimize the damage as much as possible. It can be difficult and overwhelming to face additional treatment and procedures, but seeking care sooner rather than later will help improve your chances of making a complete recovery.
Record and Collect All Evidence
Dealing with the aftermath of dental malpractice is a stressful ordeal. It can be difficult to stay on top of your claim while also dealing with pain, discomfort, and your other obligations and responsibilities. If you physically can or can get someone else’s help, keep track of everything that is happening as best you can.
Whether it is through voice recordings or written notes, make an effort to document your experience. Include as many details as you can recall, including dates, times, names of the individuals you spoke with or who provided you care, as well as any substantive information regarding your condition and treatment. While it may seem as though this information is fresh in your mind now, dental malpractice claims and lawsuits take time and it may become more difficult to remember details or other information that could end up proving vital in your case later on.
What Information Should I Gather to Protect My Rights in a Baltimore Dental Malpractice Claim?
To prove your dental malpractice claim, you will need to gather specific evidence. While some of this information may be readily available to you, other information and documentation may take some effort to track down.
The following are some examples of information that is often valuable when you are preparing to take legal action for dental malpractice:
- Dental and medical records – You are entitled to copies of all records pertaining to your care. Request copies of charts, labs, diagnostics, and any other available records from the dental and medical providers you have seen for your care. This includes the provider who may be responsible for your injuries as well as the providers you may have seen for follow-up care and treatment for the injuries you sustained.
- Expenses related to your care – Collect all bills and records of payments you have made for expenses related to your injuries, including treatment, rehabilitation, and recovery.
- Liability forms or authorizations – Store all communications from the dental office, including pre- or post-op instructions as well as waivers or other authorizations you signed or reviewed.
- Videos or photographs – Take and save all photographs or videos of your injuries and your progress through recovery and healing. If need be, request the assistance of a friend or family member to help take photographs.
- Emails, messages, voicemails, or other communications – You should save any message directed to you in any form related to your care, your injuries, or your pending claim or case to be reviewed by your legal team.
- Proof of lost income or missed work – If you have been forced to take leave due to your injury, keep track of all your requests for time off as well as all impacts to your income, work hours, and ability to work.
How Do I Prove a Dental Malpractice Case in Baltimore?
To succeed in a dental malpractice case, the injured party must prove four legal elements. Some of these requirements may be easier to establish than others, however, you must prove all four for a court to rule in your favor.
The four requirements of a dental negligence case are:
- That a duty of care existed – This step is usually apparent from the initiation of a patient and dental provider relationship where a patient entrusts their care to a provider and their staff.
- The provider breached the duty of care – Either through their negligent actions or inaction, the provider did not perform to the acceptable standards of care.
- An injury occurred because of the breach – You sustained damage in some form whether through an injury or illness because of the provider’s negligent actions or inaction.
- The injury resulted in damages – You must prove that the injury or illness led to damages. These can be economic damages, such as medical bills or lost income, or non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
What Damages Can I Seek Against a Dental Practice in a Baltimore Dental Negligence Lawsuit?
The injuries you have suffered could have a lasting impact on your life now and in the future. The expenses related to your care combined with lost income can have a significant negative impact on your finances.
Taking legal action against the responsible party allows you to seek compensation for your injuries and their impacts, often including:
- Medical expenses;
- Expenses related to recovery and rehabilitation;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of future income; and
- Pain and suffering.
Should I Contact a Dental Malpractice Attorney in Baltimore?
If your life has been impacted by a negligent dental provider you may be entitled to compensation for the damages you have sustained. A personal injury attorney with experience in Baltimore dental malpractice can help guide you through this complicated and tedious process. Malpractice lawsuits are extremely complex and require extensive knowledge and resources to fight against the provider and their insurance company. A dental malpractice lawyer can help protect your legal rights and seek the compensation you deserve.
How Soon After My Injury Should I File a Baltimore Dental Malpractice Case?
As with other types of civil legal matters, dental malpractice is subject to the state’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits. We recommend that you seek representation by an attorney as soon as possible following your injury. This will ensure that you have ample time to prepare your case and file it within the Maryland statute of limitations.
An Experienced and Qualified Team of Baltimore Dental Malpractice Lawyers
If you believe that you or a loved one was injured by a negligent Baltimore dental provider or their staff, contact us at Spector Injury & Accident Lawyers or call us at (443) 505-7343 for a free consultation to discuss your claim. We consult with lawyers from all over the nation, so if you’re an attorney and want help with your client’s case, you, too, can reach out to us.
Spector Injury & Accident Lawyers
225 E Redwood St #400C
Baltimore, MD 21202