What are my rights if I had a procedure last year on a tooth which was done poorly?

I had a crown done. However, 3 months ago, I needed to have it redone due to pain and discomfort and to avoid possible tooth extraction (as another dentist explained the crown was ill-fitting, too big, with open margins leading to gingival inflammation). The insurance didn’t pay for it due to frequency and I had to pay to my current dentist out of the pocket. I made an appeal to my insurance but they upheld their original decision. I also contacted the dentist who did bad job asking for reimbursement but they refused to do it.
What should I do now?

Asked on November 19, 2015 under Malpractice Law, New Jersey


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Dental malpractice is negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable dental practitioner in the community would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).
Prior to filing a lawsuit for negligence against the first dentist, it may be possible to settle the case with the dentist's malpractice insurance carrier.
Your claim filed with the first dentist's malpractice insurance carrier should include your dental bills, dental reports (especially the report from the second dentist) and if applicable, documentation of wage loss.
Compensation for the dental bills is straight reimbursement.  The dental reports will document the nature and extent of your condition and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the dental bills.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.
If the case is settled with the first dentist's malpractice insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.
If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the malpractice insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the first dentist.
If the case is NOT settled with the malpractice insurance carrier, your lawsuit for negligence against the first dentist must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

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