Dental malpractice cases often go unreported because patients are not fully aware of what constitutes a dental mistake. However, the negligence of a dental professional can cause significant pain, force changes to your lifestyle and appearance, and in severe cases result in long-term medical problems.
Dentistry incorporates unique medical practices and knowledge, as well as a significant amount of care and respect for the patient. Some dentists fail to recognize this, resulting in an assortment of negligent acts for which a skilled personal injury attorney could help you seek compensation. Specifically, a skilled Bolingbrook dental malpractice lawyer could represent the facts of your injury in court and make the necessary links between the negligent act and actual physical injury.
Legal Elements of a Dental Malpractice Case
When a victim suffers from dental malpractice, the injured victim may need to establish a variety of elements, including:
- A patient-dentist relationship
- The medical standard of care
- Whether the appropriate medical standard of care was breached
- Proof of a causal relationship between the doctor’s breach of duty and the patient’s injury
- The extent of the patient’s injury
The medical standard of care may refer to the level of care that a similarly-skilled dentist would have provided under the same circumstances. In many cases, an expert medical witness who is knowledgeable about the type of procedure relevant to the lawsuit can help establish this standard.
Establishing the “causation” and “breach” elements of a dental malpractice lawsuit may involve proving that the dentist caused the injury or that they made an existing condition worse. Again, testimony from an expert medical witness may be critical to establishing whether the medical standard of care was breached. The injured plaintiff may need to determine what steps the dentist took in treating them and how those steps contributed to their injury.
Obstacles to Recovery
According to Illinois malpractice law, an injured plaintiff has two years from the date they knew or should have reasonably known of the injury to file a lawsuit in civil court. If a patient seeks to file a lawsuit after four years after the medically negligent act occurred, the court may refuse to hear the case, and the plaintiff may lose the right to pursue compensation.
Insurance companies work extremely hard to protect the interests of dentists. Legal roadblocks should not be a reason why a dental malpractice claim should not be pursued, and the intimidation factor of fighting against one of these large insurance companies would not deter an experienced Bolingbrook dental malpractice lawyer from working to hold a dentist accountable.
Common Damages in Dental Malpractice Cases
When victims of dental malpractice file a lawsuit, they often attempt to collect damages. In a legal context, damages are financial awards given to plaintiffs who file legitimate claims to compensate them for physical and emotional injuries.
Many states place a limit on how much an injured plaintiff can receive in a dental malpractice case. In Illinois, there are no caps on compensatory damages. However, non-economic damages such as compensation for pain and suffering, may have a limit.
Some factors that courts in Bolingbrook and dental malpractice lawyers alike may use to calculate dental malpractice damages include:
- The significance of the injury
- Whether the injury can be corrected
- Whether the injury will affect the patient’s long-term well-being
- Whether the injury was caused by an act of carelessness or intent
How a Bolingbrook Dental Malpractice Attorney Could Help
Life after an unassuming injury due to negligence can be difficult, especially when illnesses or permanent damages arise. Improving the safety of medical care may start by holding the dentist accountable in a civil case, and a skilled Bolingbrook dental malpractice lawyer who is knowledgeable in dental malpractice claims may be able to help you do that. To learn more about your potential options, call today.