If you have sustained injury due to dental negligence then you may be able to claim compensation for those injuries and any pain, suffering and emotional distress caused. To be successful in a dental malpractice claim you need to prove not only that the medical professionals who provided the medical treatment were negligent, but also that you suffered loss or damage as a result. This article discusses topics in personal injury compensation in dental negligence.
Table of Contents
Can a dentist mess up?
Dentists can and do make mistakes when they are doing their job. Some common mistakes by dentists and oral surgeons may include:
- Removing the wrong tooth from a person’s mouth;
- Inserting dental implants or crowns that are not suitable for a person’s mouth;
- Overpreparing teeth result in damage;
- Performing dental work when it is not safe to do so;
- Failing to perform proper radiological investigations such as x-rays; and
- Performing work that is beyond their skill level.
What is dental malpractice?
A dental malpractice case is a personal injury claim arising from dental advice or dental treatment. The claim is usually made against a dental professional including dentists, dentist’s offices or oral surgeons.
Not every mistake will result in a personal injury claim for dental malpractice, but if you have sustained injury due to dental negligence then you may be able to claim compensation for those injuries and any pain, suffering and emotional distress caused.
To be successful in a dental malpractice claim you need to prove not only that the medical professionals who provided the medical treatment were negligent, but also that you suffered loss or damage as a result.
Can I sue my dentist for negligence?
Dentists have a duty of care to take reasonable care to ensure that you are not exposed to hazards. The Dental Board of Australia Code of Conduct says ‘Practitioners have a duty to make the care of patients or clients their first concern and to practise safely and effectively.’
If your dentist was negligent and as a result, you have suffered loss or damage then you may meet the legal requirements for a dental negligence claim in Western Australia. The law in respect of medical negligence in Western Australia is complex and legal advice from personal injury lawyers should be sought before commencing legal proceedings. Some more information about medical negligence claims in Western Australia has been provided below.
No Win, No Fee Lawyers
Under the No Win, No Fee arrangement, you won’t need to pay Foyle Legal’s Legal fees (the fees that we charge for the work we do on your claim), unless we get you a settlement amount.
Your lawyer will take you through this arrangement in more detail including any terms and conditions in your obligation free first initial consultation.
Medical Malpractice Claim In Australia
Medical malpractice or medical negligence claims are probably the most complex personal injury claims in Western Australia. These are a breach of duty claims against doctors, dentists and other medical professionals which are made in circumstances where a person has suffered harm caused due to the negligence of a medical professional.
In most cases, the injured person will require expert evidence before they are made any offer of settlement.
On what grounds can you sue for medical negligence?
To be successful in a claim for medical negligence an injured person must prove medical malpractice by proving that there has been a breach of duty of care by the medical practitioner and the practitioner was negligent.
In determining a reasonable standard of care, in Western Australia Section 5PB of the Civil Liability Act 2002 states ‘An act or omission of a health professional is not a negligent act or omission if it is in accordance with a practice that, at the time of the act or omission, is widely accepted by the health professional’s peers as competent professional practice.”
In most cases, the injured person will require expert evidence to show that the medical practitioner was not acting in accordance with a practice that is widely accepted by his or her peers as a competent medical practice.
What kinds of common errors can I claim medical malpractice for?
Some errors we have seen in the past regarding claims against general dentists include the following:
- Failing to adequately diagnose the person’s condition;
- Failing to obtain informed consent;
- Failing to consider cosmetic issues associated with treatment such as dental work;
- Failing to complete a tooth extraction in a safe and proper manner;
- Failing to complete proper investigations (such as x-rays) before completing dental work;
- Giving inappropriate advice; and
- Failing to sufficiently check and read a person’s medical records before undertaking treatment.
It is important to remember that not every error gives rise to a personal injury claim. A person must have suffered an injury and if the injury is very small and losses arising from it are negligible then it may not be worth pursuing a claim. If you are unclear if you have a valid compensation claim, it is best to contact a no win no fee compensation lawyer to get your negligence claim assessed.
What is medical negligence in law?
Doctors and other medical practitioners are expected to listen to our complaints regarding injury or illness and take the reasonable duty of care in diagnosing and treating medical conditions. Where a medical provider fails to provide care to the required standard a person may be able to pursue a medical negligence claim against them and their insurer and claim compensation. This is called a medical negligence claim. Unlike motor vehicle accident claims or any other personal injury compensation claims, claiming compensation for diagnosis and treatment failure caused by medical procedures is heavily defended. Thus, securing a good medical negligence lawyer is vital to the success of any medical negligence claim.
How do I sue dentists for malpractice in Australia?
Dental negligence is a complex area of compensation law. Before you pursue a claim for compensation in dental malpractice cases, you should seek advice from a personal injury lawyer as to whether you will be able to prove dental malpractice. Proving dental negligence usually requires that the person who has suffered an injury obtains a report from an expert to show that there is a dental negligence case.
Common Dental Negligence Claim
There are a lot of different ways that a dental malpractice case can happen, but some common dental negligence claims include the following:
- Removal of the wrong tooth resulting in pain and suffering associated with the removal of two teeth rather than one and costs associated with fixing two teeth;
- Not performing proper scans (such as x-rays) on the teeth resulting in the injury sustained whilst performing treatment;
- Overpreparation of teeth (shaving off too much of the bone) resulting in future loss associated with repairing the teeth;
- Over application of dental injections which affected surrounding nerves;
- General dentists complete work that is beyond their skill level, and the work does not go well. In many of these cases referral should have been made to oral surgeons;
- The advice provided is incorrect, for instance, it is inappropriate for a person to have dental implants in circumstances where their dental health or other health conditions makes the dental treatment inappropriate;
- A dentist does not take the reasonable duty of care in preparing a suitable crown, as a result, the person who has the crown suffers further damage to their teeth and the costs associated with remedial treatment;
- General dentists do not take care when providing medical treatment, for instance, a dentist applies too much force when removing one tooth and the device being used to remove the tooth collides with another tooth causing further damage – treatment such as a root canal may be necessary;
- A dentist’s office applies the incorrect type of fluid in a person’s mouth, as a result, the person suffers damage to their senses of taste or smell; and
- General dentists do not read a person’s medical notes before providing treatment. For example, if a dentist does not read that a person is allergic to the anaesthetic, anaesthetic is then applied prior to treatment resulting in an adverse health reaction.
Dental Negligence Lawyers
Foyle Legal has a team of compensation lawyers in Perth. We provide an obligation free consultation regarding compensation claim advice for dental professional negligence claims. If you have made a compensation claim we can advise you regarding liability and how much compensation you are entitled to receive. Our compensation lawyers provide assistance to injury claimants on a no win no fee basis and your first consultation is obligation free. You can contact Foyle Legal for your obligation free online claim review by going to the Contact Us page or you can call us on 0408 727 343.