Do I have a case if my dentures do not fit correctly and my dentist will not replace them
Recently on our legal forum a user asked, "Can I file a medical malpractice case against my dentist if my dentures do not fit correctly and my dentist will not replace them?"
In 2006, Gertie Smith filed a medical malpractice suit against Anna Smith, D.M.D. of Godfrey claiming the dentist failed to use proper dental practices in placing dentures in her mouth. Under this medical malpractice claim the plaintiff argued the dentist did not notify her of the planned treatment and potential problems, the dentist failed to provide her a proper denture, and the dentist failed to provide proper charting of her ongoing treatment.
According to Smith, she suffered not only medical costs and lost wages but also substantial pain and suffering and a permanent disability.
So to answer your question, there have been cases where a plaintiff has been injured from the negligence of a dentist and they have been able, not only to file a medical malpractice case, but they have received compensation for their injuries.
Proving Medical Malpractice Claims
Before you consider filing a medical malpractice claim, however, there are several considerations. First, you need to decide whether you have enough evidence to prove your case. Proving medical malpractice will require proving the following elements:
- You had a doctor/patient relationship.
- The doctor's care was negligent. Proving negligence does not simply mean you are unhappy with your treatment. You must also prove the doctor's treatment differed from what another doctor in a similar circumstance would have done.
- The doctor's care caused your injury. For example, you must prove it is "more likely than not" that the doctor's incompetence directly caused your injury.
Next, you will need to review the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice case in your state. Most states have a two year statute of limitations. If your claim is not filed within your state's statute of limitations you will have forfeited your right to compensation.
Will a personal injury lawyer take my dental malpractice case?
Many personal injury lawyers will refuse to take a medical malpractice case for dental work because the damages awarded are usually limited to the costs of reparative work. This means that after you have won your case, assuming you win, the lawyer's fees would be so expensive that there might not be enough money to hire another dentist.
If you are not satisfied with your dental work lawyers recommend either finding out if arbitration is possible or filing a small claims action for breach of contract in small claims court. Although small claims court will not pay you compensation for pain and suffering, you may be able to at least get enough money to recover the cost of the dentures.
To find out your options, however, you can contact several different personal injury lawyers. Lawyers have different requirements for taking cases. If a lawyer believes you have a strong case and your payout will be large enough, they may be willing to help you.
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