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When your trip to the dentist leads to medical complications

Nobody really looks forward to going to the dentist. But when you do bite the bullet and go in for necessary care, you don’t expect to come out worse off than you started. Whether you suffer permanent nerve damage following a tooth extraction, or your dentist failed to diagnose your gum disease in time, you have legal recourse to seek restitution.

Today we discuss the basics of a dental malpractice lawsuit:

What is dental malpractice?

All medical professionals – doctors, dentists, orthodontists and surgeons – have a responsibility to provide a certain standard of care to their patients. If a patient suffers injury – or even death – as a result of a dental visit, that person or their family may file a dental malpractice claim against the dentist.

How do I prove dental malpractice?

The criteria for proving dental malpractice are the same as for proving medical malpractice. You have to be able to convince a judge or jury of all of the following:

  • Duty: Did the dentist have a responsibility to not exhibit negligence toward the patient? Typically, a doctor-patient relationship implies such a duty.
  • Breach: Did the dentist fail to uphold this duty?
  • Damages: Did the patient suffer an injury?
  • Causation: Was the patient’s injury a result of the dentist’s negligence?

Statute of limitations

Under Michigan law, a plaintiff generally has two years to file a dental malpractice claim from the date of the negligent action. However, certain conditions can give a plaintiff additional time to file.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of dental malpractice, it is always a good idea to speak to an experienced malpractice attorney to understand the relative strengths of your case.

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