What can I do if I underwent a dental treatment that was not the correct treatment for me?

I was going to an orthodontist for treatment with invisible braces, which was estimated to be about 1 1/2 years, but after 2 years, my teeth weren’t moving properly. It was at this point that he did a full palate X-ray and noticed that my canine was impacted. He did take X-rays prior to beginning treatment but apparently not full ones. In those 2 years, I’d already paid $5000 – out of pocket. At that point, he told me that the invisible braces wouldn’t work and that I needed standard braces. He handed me off to another orthodontist, who is currently working on my case as a favor to him (I only had to pay $700 for materials); I have not heard from him since. What can I do about this?

Asked on July 17, 2015 under Malpractice Law, Illinois

Answers:

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 orthodontist, it may be possible to settle the case with his malpractice insurance carrier.

Your claim filed with the malpractice insurance carrier should include your dental bills,  dental reports, and if applicable documentation of any wage loss.

Compensation for the dental bills is straight reimbursement.  The dental reports will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the dental bills.  Obtain the dental reports from both orthodontists.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.

If the case is settled with the 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 orthodontist.

If the case is NOT settled with the malpractice insurance carrier, your lawsuit for negligence against the first orthodontist 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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