If my dentist pulled the wrong tooth, what can I do?

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If my dentist pulled the wrong tooth, what can I do?

Asked on January 30, 2014 under Malpractice Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Medical/dental malpractice is negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable medical/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 your dentist, it may be possible to settle the case with the dentist's malpractice insurance company.  Your claim filed with the dentist's malpractice insurance carrier should include the dental bills, dental reports and if applicable, documentation of any wage loss.

Compensation for the dental bills is straight reimbursement.  The dental reports will document that the wrong tooth was pulled 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 dentist's malpractice insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.

If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the dentist's malpractice insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file your lawsuit for negligence against the dentist.  If the case is NOT settled with the dentist's malpractice insurance carrier, your lawsuit for negligence against the dentist must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

Related article: How much is my lawsuit worth?

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If the dentist will not voluntarily pay you compensation, you could potentially sue him for malpractice, since pulling the wrong tooth would certainly seem to be malpractice, or the provision of dental care in a negligent, or unreasonably careless, fashion. You could potentially recover the cost of any required new care, such as having a false tooth inserted; the cost to pull the correct tooth; any lost wages from needing more care, and possibly even some amount of pain and suffering. You should speak with a malpractice attorney, if the dentist does not offer you compensation.


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