We count on dentists to help us maintain good oral hygiene and resolve problems with our teeth and gums. Unfortunately, some dentists are reckless and cause severe injuries when treating patients. When this happens, victims may be able to file a dental malpractice lawsuit to obtain fair compensation for their physical, financial and emotional damages.
The Cincinnati dental malpractice lawyers at our firm can help you pursue the justice and compensation you are entitled. We have in-depth knowledge of the various aspects of these cases, including the effects of dental injuries and what it takes to prove malpractice.
Your consultation with the skilled malpractice attorneys at our firm is free and you will not be charged for our services unless you are awarded compensation.
Types Of Dental Malpractice Cases
There are many examples of dental malpractice, and they occur in a variety of situations, from routine dental work and exams to more complicated procedures like tooth extractions or root canals. That is why our Cincinnati lawyers are prepared to take cases involving many types of dental malpractice, including:
- Doing dental work without the proper qualifications – Some people claim to be dentists and treat patients even though they do not have the license or proper qualifications to be doing so. This is why you should always double check that a dentist is qualified to provide treatment before you let him or her do so. This is particularly important before invasive procedures, like tooth extractions, putting in dental implants or treating conditions like gum disease.
- Doing more than what the patient consented to – Our Cincinnati dental malpractice attorneys may be able to hold dentists liable for failing to obtain proper consent before treating a patient. There are also cases where dentists obtained consent but went beyond what was consented to. If this results in injury to a patient, the dentists could be held liable for damages.
- Failing to provide adequate warnings about risks – Just like other medical professionals, dentists must adequately warn patients about the potential risks of treatments they plan to use. For instance, there could be excessive bleeding or long-term pain. If you are not adequately warned about the risks of a procedure, the dentist could be held liable for side effects of your treatment.
- Failing to diagnose health problems – If your dentist does not diagnose problems with your teeth or gums, or if there is an unreasonable delay in correctly diagnosing these problems, there could be long-term consequences. For example, your oral health problems could be more difficult to treat. You may need to undergo more invasive or painful treatments than you would have if your health issues were diagnosed when they should have been. Conditions that are often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed include oral cancers and gum disease. In some cases, dentists failed to take x-rays or correctly examine patients to discover problems.
- Performing the wrong procedure – This includes operating on the wrong tooth or side of the mouth, operating on the wrong patient or performing one procedure when the patient is supposed to be undergoing something else. This is often a result of miscommunication between the dentist and others in his or her office.
- Surgical errors – If dentists do not exercise appropriate care and caution, they can cause injuries during procedures. For instance, they could damage healthy teeth, cause problems with the gums or even damage nerves. Sometimes the damage is permanent, and other times it requires costly, invasive treatment to correct. Our dental malpractice attorneys in Cincinnati are also prepared to take cases where dentists work with unsanitary tools, which could cause severe infections.
- Medication errors – There are some cases where health care professionals fail to obtain a complete, accurate medical history for the patient. This often results in administering medication the patient is allergic to or that has an adverse reaction with some other medication the patient is taking. Patients can also be victims of anesthesia errors, where they are given too much or too little or they are left under for too long, putting them at risk for brain damage and other long-term problems.
- Failing to properly monitor employees – Many dental procedures are performed by dental hygienists, as opposed to the dentists themselves. That is why dentists need to closely monitor hygienists to be sure they are exercising the appropriate level of care when providing treatment.
If you suffered an injury during dental treatment and you think it was caused by malpractice, contact a qualified attorney at our firm for a free legal consultation.
Injuries From Dental Malpractice
Dental negligence can cause a variety of health problems, some of which could affect victims for many years or even the rest of their lives. Some of the most common dental malpractice injuries include:
- Cracked teeth
- Gum disease
- Permanent paralysis in the tongue, jaw or lips
- Heart attack or brain damage due to anesthesia errors
- Permanent damage to the jawline, such as tears or large holes
- Damage to healthy teeth
- Adverse or allergic reactions to drugs
- Damage to the sinuses
- Temporomandibular joint disorder
- Lost sense of taste
- Oral cancer
- Permanent structural damage to the gums
- Loss of teeth
- Excessive or uncontrolled bleeding
Victims of these injuries that were the result of malpractice should contact an attorney to determine their legal options. A Cincinnati dental malpractice lawyer may be able to represent you in a malpractice lawsuit to pursue compensation for your damages.
How To Prove Dental Malpractice
Building a malpractice case is about much more than collecting evidence of mistakes or errors during dental treatment. Your dental malpractice attorney in Cincinnati needs to establish four things to prove you were a victim of some form of medical mistreatment:
- The dentist had a duty of care – This means the dentist was legally obligated to provide care similar to what would have been provided by a similarly-trained dentist in a similar situation. For example, if your dentist was doing a root canal, he or she would be obligated to do the procedure in a way that was similar to how a similarly-trained dentist would do the procedure.
- The dentist violated the duty of care – If the dentist does not uphold his or her duty of care when providing treatment, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Our dental malpractice lawyers in Cincinnati will need to show specifically how the duty of care was breached.
- Your injuries were linked to the breach of duty of care – We will need to show a causal connection between your injuries and the dentist’s failure to uphold the duty of care. This means we need to prove you would not have suffered any injuries if it was not for the dentist’s mistakes. This is easier to do in some cases compared to others. For instance, we may have an easier time showing nerve damage than showing an infection was caused by dental malpractice.
- You have damages – We need to provide evidence of medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and any other damages caused by malpractice. If there are no damages, there is no dental malpractice case.
How Can Contributory Fault Affect My Case?
Many of us do not seek treatment for dental issues when we should, often because we are afraid treatment will be painful. Unfortunately, this can cause our dental and oral health issues to get worse and become more difficult to treat.
Another problem with waiting to seek treatment is that it could affect how much compensation you are awarded in a dental malpractice lawsuit. This is because of Ohio’s contributory fault law, which says you cannot recover compensation if the jury finds you to be more than 50 percent at fault for your injuries. If you wait to seek treatment, it is more likely the jury will find you partially at fault for your injuries.
Even if you have less than 50 percent of fault for your injuries, your total compensation award will be reduced by your percentage of fault. In other words, an award of $100,000 would become just $60,000 if you were 40 percent at fault.
Our Cincinnati dental malpractice attorneys understand exactly how the contributory fault law is applied to these cases. We are committed to doing a thorough investigation to compile evidence so you are not assigned more fault than you deserve. We want you to receive the fair compensation you deserve.
How Much Time Do I Have To File A Dental Malpractice Claim?
If you have reason to believe you were a victim of dental negligence, you should contact a Cincinnati attorney as soon as possible because there is a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit.
This is because of Ohio’s medical malpractice statute of limitations, which is stated in Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 2305.113(C)(1). This says you cannot file any type of medical mistreatment lawsuit, including a dental malpractice lawsuit, more than four years after the error occurred. This means you have four years from the date of malpractice to file a lawsuit. If you miss this deadline, you lose the right to file a lawsuit.
However, there is an exception to this law for situations when victims are not aware they were victims of malpractice within three years of it happening, even though they were exercising due diligence. If victims discover malpractice before the four-year statute of limitations expires, they have one year from that date to file a lawsuit, even if this one-year period goes past the four-year statute. This is stated in ORC 2305.113(D)(1).
Our team has in-depth knowledge of these statutes and how they apply to your claim. This will help us to ensure your lawsuit is filed within the applicable statute of limitations.
Contact us right away to discuss your case because the deadline for filing a lawsuit can pass a lot faster than you think.
Contact a Cincinnati Dental Malpractice Attorney Right Now
Dental malpractice can cause painful injuries that affect you for the rest of your life. That is why you should consider contacting a legal team that can help you file a lawsuit to obtain the fair compensation you deserve.
The Cincinnati dental malpractice lawyers at our firm know how to investigate these situations and build a strong case as we pursue the compensation you deserve.
Your consultation is free and you will not be charged legal fees unless you receive compensation.