Can you sue a dentist for medical negligence?

If you have been injured after seeing a dentist, you may wonder if you can sue for medical negligence. The short answer is yes.

When we visit a dentist, we expect to receive the best possible care. And while that usually happens, it is unfortunately not always the case.

Dentists have a duty of care

Dentists are expected to provide their patients with a standard of treatment that would be expected of any other reasonable dentist in the same situation. This duty of care is similar to what is expected of medical doctors.

If a dentist is found to have breached their duty of care, an injured patient may be able to sue the dentist for medical negligence.

Types of dental malpractice cases

The types of dental malpractice cases can vary across a wide range of scenarios – basically if you’ve been injured by a procedure, service or the advice provided by a dentist, you could be entitled to compensation.

Some of the more common cases include claims where the dentist:

  • Made errors in the performance of a treatment
  • Used the wrong procedure or treatment
  • Failed to get the patient’s fully-informed consent before commencing a procedure
  • Provided negligent care
  • Failed to diagnose or treat a condition
  • Made mistakes with anaesthesia
  • Misdiagnosed a condition

Case study – unnecessary and ineffective treatment

In one case of dental malpractice, a dentist was found to have provided a patient with unnecessary and ineffective treatment following an injury at work.

The patient was struck on the chin by a piece of timber, which caused minor injuries to his front teeth. His employer arranged for him to visit a dental surgeon for treatment.

The dentist proceeded to carry out root canal therapy and fitted crowns on the patient’s teeth over a period of more than a year. Overall, the treatments cost $73,640.

The patient sued the dentist for medical negligence due to the excessive and unnecessary dental work. The court agreed and awarded the patient a sum of over $1,388,615 in damages.

See the full details of the case here.

What compensation can you claim for dental malpractice?

In cases of medical negligence and dental malpractice, compensation claims can be made for a range of benefits, including loss of income, ongoing medical treatment expenses and the cost of domestic care. Compensation may also be available for the pain and suffering you’ve experienced.

How long do you have to make a claim?

As with other personal injury claims, there is a time limit that applies to making a dental malpractice claim. Generally, claims for medical negligence are restricted to three years from the time that the injury occured. In some cases, this time limit may be extended if the full extent of the injury was not immediately noticeable.

How hard is it to prove medical negligence?

Medical negligence cases can be hard to prove since it can be difficult to provide evidence that an injury was directly caused by a medical practitioner’s negligent actions. This is why it’s vital to speak to an experienced lawyer before making a claim for compensation.

Talk to our team of dental malpractice lawyers

If you’ve suffered an injury from a medical or dental procedure, our friendly team of medical negligence and dental malpractice lawyers are able to assess your particular situation and provide you with the right advice on how to proceed. Contact us today on 02 9601 0088.

See how we can help you

< Back to News