Man Awarded $9.8 Million in Wisdom Tooth Malpractice Lawsuit

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Nov 5, 2012

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After a lengthy trial, New York resident, Harold Hagins, has been awarded $9.8 million in damages for pain and suffering caused by a failed wisdom tooth extraction procedure. 

The medical malpractice lawsuit was filed against two dentists, William Moody and Michael Miller in 2008, one year after the routine procedure went very wrong. During a 2007 visit to Moody’s dentist office over a sore tooth, 49-year-old Hagins was told he would need a wisdom tooth extraction. He returned later that week for the procedure; after which a leftover tooth particle became embedded in his jaw, causing a jaw fracture and nerve damage, according to this report.

After Moody determined the tooth fragment was out of place, he sent Hagins to the emergency room where Miller performed surgery to remove the piece from Hagins’ jawbone. 

As a result of the failed procedure and subsequent emergency room visit, Hagins suffered memory loss, loss of taste, migraines, depression and anxiety. In medical malpractice cases such as these, when the injury is clear and the cause of it can be undoubtedly traced to the doctor or dentist’s negligence, damages can top in the millions, as they have here. 

Reports of the trial say the jury unanimously found Moody and Miller liable for Hagins’ injuries, and found that they did not obtain informed consent. Informed consent is the permission a physician must gather prior to treating a patient. The patient must be informed of any relevant information to their health, including all of the risks associated with treatment or procedures performed. It is the doctor or dentist’s duty to be sure the patient has and understands this information. Failure to obtain informed consent can also be grounds for a malpractice lawsuit. 

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