How do I get my dentist to pay for ahospital bill incurred due to his negligence?

UPDATED: Feb 22, 2011

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How do I get my dentist to pay for ahospital bill incurred due to his negligence?

My dentist was putting a crown on my tooth and dropped it down my throat. I went to the hospital to have a chest X-ray and a cardiogram because I had a pain in my chest and wasn’t sure if the crown was the cause of it. Now my dentist refuses to pay for it unless I sign a release form from him which states that I cannot sue him for any reason in the future, even if the crown caused a problem. Now the hospital has sent the bill to the collection agency and now my credit is ruined because he won’t pay the bill. What should I do now? Should I speak with a malpractice attorney? In Warren County, NJ.

Asked on February 22, 2011 under Malpractice Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

First, bear in mind that it's *your* responsibility to pay the hospital, even if you in turn have the grounds to sue someone else--the dentist--for the costs. Therefore, you're the one who has the legal obligation to pay this bill and from a legal point of view, it's not the dentist's fault that the bill went to collections.

Second, however, you may well have grounds to sue the dentist for your costs, such as the cost of the X-ray, cardiogram, etc. You incurred these costs due to your dentist's neglience, and may wish to speak with a medical malpractice attorney.

Third, the dentist has the right to ask you to sign a release. You have the right to refuse to do so. If you want to collect from him and he won't pay otherwise, you'll need to sue him.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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