Dental appointments are stressful. Under normal circumstances, we anticipate that we might need a cavity filled, or worse, a root canal. We also expect that we will receive a large bill from the dentist. However, none of us anticipates that the dentist or oral surgeon will needlessly harm us.
Unfortunately, careless dentists and oral surgeons can seriously damage our teeth, tongue, and gums. A dentist or oral surgeon commits malpractice when they cause harm due to a negligent action while treating a patient.
Georgia dental malpractice laws authorize you to pursue damages against reckless dentists and oral surgeons. In order to succeed, you must demonstrate that your dentist or oral surgeon failed to follow the basics of patient safety.
Do not hesitate to contact an Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer at Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC if you or a loved one was harmed during a dental procedure. Our knowledgeable and compassionate dental attorneys have helped many victims recover substantial compensation as the result of dental malpractice.
Common Dental Malpractice Cases
Many medical and dental procedures cause negative side effects. However, an undesirable outcome doesn’t necessarily constitute dental malpractice. You must show that the professional did something negligent or malicious. Specifically, the care provided must have fallen below the standard of care that a dental patient would reasonably expect to receive.
Examples of potential dental malpractice include the following:
Faulty Implants, Root Canals, or Crowns
One of the commoner forms of dental malpractice occurs when the dentist or oral surgeon damages the gum tissue near the dental operation site. Damaged gum tissue can become infected and cause serious harm to the teeth. Careless dentists may also cause nerve damage when extracting teeth or inserting dental implants.
Errors in Wisdom Teeth Extraction
Most of us will have our wisdom teeth removed at some point in our lives. If the oral surgeon carelessly performs this procedure, he or she can cause damage to the lingual nerve that controls tongue sensation. If the lingual nerve is damaged, it can be very difficult to chew food. Often, lingual nerve damage heals on its own, but in some cases it can be permanent.
If you’re concerned about dental damage following a tooth removal procedure, contact our dental malpractice lawyers for help right away.
Dental Implant Nerve Damage
Sometimes dentists and oral surgeons damage the nerves inside the teeth. Permanent nerve damage can be devastating. Dental nerve damage symptoms include numbness, tingling, impaired speech, and drooling.
Failure to Properly Complete an Oral Exam
Dentists must conduct a proper oral examination that detects potential defects, injuries, and infections. If the dentist observes any condition that he or she is incapable of treating, the dentist must refer the patient to an appropriate specialist. If the dentist carelessly conducts the exam, he or she may overlook conditions that will lead to serious issues in the future.
Failure to Inform You of Risks
Dentists must inform patients of all the risks that are posed by undergoing a procedure or choosing not to undergo a procedure. If the dentist fails to do this and the patient is injured as a result, the dentist may have committed dental malpractice.
Serious Injuries Result From Dental Malpractice
A negligent dentist can cause devastating harm. Many dental malpractice victims require costly medical treatment for months, years, or sometimes a lifetime. Many ordinary tasks such as chewing food and drinking liquid that the patient once took for granted are now very challenging. It’s possible that the patient may never fully recover from his or her injuries.
Our Atlanta dental malpractice lawyers have represented many victims. The harms that our client have suffered include:
- Permanent nerve damage to the tongue or parts of the face
- Infections that can cause serious injuries
- Heart attack or stroke from reckless practices or administration of drugs
- Needless loss of teeth or gum tissue
- Uncontrollable bleeding
- Long-term or permanent pain or loss of sensation
If you or a loved one is suffering from any of the above injuries, contact the dental malpractice lawyers at Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC to learn more about your options.
How Can an Attorney Help?
Your injuries can cause great pain, distress, and confusion. It’s understandable for you to feel overwhelmed if you or a loved one has a serious dental problem. Many people feel helpless. You should speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.
The dentist, oral surgeon, and their insurers’ goal is to pay you as little money as possible to compensate you. If you haven’t hired an attorney, they will usually offer you a small settlement to quickly end your case and avoid paying you what you deserve.
Our dental malpractice lawyers have decades of legal experience. We are ready and willing to fight on behalf of you and your family. Our attorneys will take the following actions on your behalf if you hire our firm:
Hire expert witnesses.
Dental malpractice cases require expert witnesses that can testify that the harm you suffered was the result of malpractice. Your lawyer must identify and hire these professionals.
File an affidavit.
Georgia law requires your lawsuit complaint to include a sworn testimony by a dental expert that establishes that your dentist or oral surgeon violated the standard of care. This technical evidence must include details of your case and present medical condition.
Negotiate with all parties.
Sometimes, more than one dental professional contributed to your injuries. In that case, you’ll want to negotiate a settlement with each respective party that contributed to your harms.
Fighting for you in court.
Many times, dental malpractice victims are not offered fair settlements by the dentists, oral surgeons and their insurers. Our dental malpractice lawyers develop all of our cases with an eye toward trial so that we will be ready to argue your case to the jury in the event that you’re never offered a fair pre-trial settlement.
The Dental Malpractice Statute of Limitations
Georgia’s statute of limitations laws require you to take legal action within a limited timeframe. If you don’t act quickly, you risk losing the opportunity to obtain compensation. The statute of limitations for dental malpractice cases is two or five years. You have two years to file a claim for most injuries caused by a dental professional. However, you have five years if the harm was not discovered right away. In the latter case, you must prove that your harm could not have reasonably been expected to be promptly discovered.
Georgia’s statute of repose states that malpractice lawsuits must be dismissed if the harm complained of occurred more than five years prior to the time that the lawsuit was filed. However, that rule has some exceptions. For instance, if the oral surgeon left a foreign object in your mouth after operating on you and you didn’t reasonably discover it until 10 years after the surgery, you might still be able to pursue compensation. However, under these circumstances, you only have one year to file the lawsuit after reasonably discovering the foreign object.
Contact Our Dental Malpractice Lawyers for Help
The potential for dentists and oral surgeons to cause serious harm is just as great as the harm potential posed by treatment from other medical professionals. Therefore, it’s important to speak with a skilled dental malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. Every case is unique, and dental injuries are typically very complex. At Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC, our lawyers have decades of experience. We know how to help you obtain the compensation that you deserve. However, we can only help you if you act quickly.