Philadelphia Dental Malpractice Attorneys
While professional medical negligence is often associated with surgeons and physicians, dental malpractice is a significant concern affecting many Philadelphia-area residents. If you’ve suffered harm due to a dentist or dental professional’s mistake, you have the right to seek compensation for your medical expenses and other losses. At Quinn Law Group, our experienced Philadelphia dental malpractice lawyers can evaluate your case and represent you in legal action against a negligent provider.
Understanding Dental Malpractice
Dental malpractice, like any form of professional negligence, hinges on the provider’s duty of care to their patients. In simple terms, when a dental professional delivers substandard care resulting in tangible harm, it constitutes malpractice. This can encompass various situations, including but not limited to:
- Failure to Diagnose: Dentists are entrusted with assessing oral health and diagnosing conditions. A failure to diagnose correctly or failure to detect an issue can serve as grounds for a dental malpractice claim.
- Failure to Refer: Dental care spans various specialties. If a dentist encounters an issue beyond their expertise, they should refer the patient to a qualified specialist. Failure to make such a referral can lead to dental malpractice.
- Lack of Informed Consent: All healthcare professionals, including dentists, must obtain informed consent from patients before any procedure. Informed consent entails explaining the proposed treatment, potential risks or side effects, and alternative treatments. Failure to secure informed consent can lead to a dental malpractice claim.
- Improper or Unnecessary Extractions: Tooth extraction is a surgical procedure carrying inherent risks, like fracturing other teeth or damaging nerves. If your dentist performs an unnecessary extraction or does so incorrectly, it may constitute dental malpractice.
- Anesthesia Errors: Many dental procedures involve anesthesia, which, if not administered correctly, can lead to complications, including severe or fatal consequences.
- Infections: Dental equipment must undergo proper cleaning, sterilization, and maintenance to minimize infection risk during procedures. Dental infections can quickly escalate, potentially leading to life-threatening conditions.
If you experience injuries or symptoms suggesting dental malpractice, seek immediate medical attention. Dental malpractice complications can be life-threatening if not promptly diagnosed and treated. It’s also vital to create a record of your case as soon as possible, as this can be crucial when bringing and proving a dental malpractice claim.
Proving Dental Malpractice
Quinn Law Group handles dental malpractice claims for clients in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Both states have similar laws governing lawsuits related to professional negligence, and there are specific rules that must be followed.
To successfully prove a dental malpractice claim, you typically need to establish four key elements:
- Dentist-Patient Relationship: This relationship must exist for a dental malpractice claim.
- Standard of Care: Dentists are expected to meet a certain standard of care when treating patients.
- Breach of Standard of Care: You must demonstrate that the dentist breached this standard of care in some way.
- Patient Harm: Finally, you need to show that you suffered harm as a result of the breach.
Establishing the standard of care often requires input from an expert witness trained and qualified in the same field as the dentist being sued. The expert’s role is to explain the applicable standard of care and pinpoint where the breach occurred.
Compensation for Dental Malpractice Victims
In a successful dental malpractice claim, victims can seek monetary compensation, known as damages. These damages typically include:
- Economic Damages: These cover quantifiable, out-of-pocket financial losses, including additional medical care costs required to correct damage caused by the negligent dental provider, rehabilitation or therapy expenses, and lost wages if the patient cannot work due to their injuries.
- Non-Economic Damages: These are less quantifiable losses, including pain and suffering and psychological trauma. The exact amount of non-economic damages is determined by a judge or jury if the case goes to trial.
- Punitive Damages: In exceptional cases, punitive damages may be awarded to punish defendants for particularly reckless or deliberate misconduct. Mere error, even if severe, won’t necessarily lead to punitive damages.
Contact Our Philadelphia Dental Malpractice Lawyers Today
Professional negligence claims, including dental malpractice, are complex matters. It’s crucial to work with a skilled Philadelphia dental malpractice attorney who understands the intricacies of the process and can provide you with knowledgeable and effective representation. If you’ve been a victim of substandard dental care, reach out to Quinn Law Group today to schedule a free initial consultation. Your well-being and pursuit of justice are our top priorities.
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