In order to prove that a dentist is guilty of dental malpractice, the patient must prove that the dentist acted in a negligent manner and that the negligence resulted in the injury to the patient. Four elements need to be proven for a dental negligence lawsuit to be successful:
- Duty of care – the dentist had an obligation to provide competent dental care
- Breach of duty – the dentist did not provide competent dental care
- Injury – the patient was injured while undergoing dental procedures
- Proximate cause – the patient’s injury was a result of the dentist’s breach of duty
The statute of limitations (how long you have to file a dental malpractice claim after you have been harmed) varies from state to state. If you do not bring legal action prior to the statute’s expiration, your claim is barred. Additionally, most states have tort claim statutes. These statutes require formal notification of a public hospital or government-employed healthcare provider regarding your claim in a short period of time after the suspected injury. Sometimes you have as little as 180 days to make this notification. If you or a loved one has been harmed by dental malpractice, you may want to contact a dental malpractice lawyer for more information.